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Grace Erickson is the CEO of Zing Bars, a chocolate brand that creates nourishing wellness bars for health-conscious consumers. She has a wealth of experience in general management, marketing, operations, accounting and finance, and HR/IT. Grace has a proven track record of creating, planning, and building processes, metrics, and projects for small and medium businesses. She also serves on the board of directors at American Licorice Company.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [02:05] Grace Erickson introduces Zing Bars and its products
  • [02:42] Zing Bars’ process of creating healthy nutrition bars with tasty flavors
  • [03:56] Zing Bars’ rebranding journey
  • [05:39] Grace explains how she got into the food industry
  • [06:03] What is insourcing?
  • [06:30] Challenges Zing Bars faced during the pandemic

In this episode…

Do you have a sweet tooth for chocolate? As a mindful nosher, where can you get healthy and delicious chocolate bars you can enjoy?

Nowadays, people are becoming cautious of what they consume. Health-conscious snackers are increasingly seeking nutrient-dense snacks. However, most of the available healthy snacks are less tasty. Grace Erickson shares their journey of creating wellness bars that are low-glycemic and free from wheat, gluten, soy, and any artificial ingredients or additives to provide a tasty and satisfying snack that’s perfect for people on the go.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Grace Erickson, CEO of Zing Bars, to discuss their nourishing wellness chocolate bars. Grace talks about Zing Bars’ process of creating healthy nutrition bars with tasty flavors, its rebranding journey, and the challenges it faced during the pandemic.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Sponsor for this episode

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here. I am the founder and host of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today’s no different and this is a special episode. I am actually interviewing founders and CEOs live at the Sweets and Snacks Show. And so check it out. We have some amazing companies featured check this episode out and before I get to that this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. How do we do that? We help you run your podcast. We are an easy button for an organization or business to launch and run your podcast I’ve been podcasting for over a decade now. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking for ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way to do that than to profile the people in the companies I most admire, feature them on my podcast, and shout from the rooftops what they’re working on and what they’re doing. So if you’ve thought about starting a podcast you should if you have questions, you can go to or email [email protected] to learn more. Now check out today’s episode, live from the Sweet and Snack Show. Jeremy Weisz here live at the Sweets and Snack Show. I’m here with the CEO of one of my favorite bars of all time Zing with Grace. Grace, talk about the company and some of the products.

Grace Erickson  2:05  

Yeah, thank you. Basically, we are a non-GMO, gluten-free, plant-based, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan lineup of nutrition bars. And we relaunched last year all new branding and our website, which really brings out the fun-loving recipes that we as a team love.

Jeremy Weisz  2:26 

This is my favorite. Okay, dark chocolate peanut butter. And you mentioned all the healthy benefits. And that’s why I’m surprised by how good it tastes. Because sometimes when we think of healthy, we lose some of the tastes. So how do you get it to taste so good?

Grace Erickson  2:42 

Yeah, that’s actually a great point. We do taste great, which is one of our key differentiators, I feel. We were the first nutrition bar that was created and founded by professional nutritionists. And taste has always been a huge focus for us. So balanced macros with clean ingredients. And we just eat a lot of nutrition bars. And we really feel like the nutrition facts aren’t necessarily indicative of something that’s better for you more often than not. So taste is a huge focus. And we’ve just worked on these recipes for many years.

Jeremy Weisz  3:18 

What are some of the favorite flavors among customers?

Grace Erickson  3:21 

Favorite flavors, so top flavors are coconut, dark chocolate coconut, dark chocolate mint, our cherry bar that just won an award is starting to gain a lot of traction, which is great. And then our minis, which will be in the standard pouches here.

Jeremy Weisz  3:36 

So this is stand-up pouches. Okay.

Grace Erickson  3:39 

Exactly. So it’s a great way to just have a small snack especially for kids lunchboxes, that type of thing.

Jeremy Weisz  3:46 

Talk about rebranding. I mean, rebranding is a big thing to tackle. What was the thought behind, okay, we need to rebrand the first place and how did you get started?

Grace Erickson  3:56 

Yeah, wow. Well, that’s a loaded question. There is a lot of work behind a rebrand. Mainly we wanted to infuse. So the recipes like I said, it’s a very fun loving brand. And the recipes are so delicious that we wanted something that would also reflect so packaging that would reflect that creativeness behind the recipes. Because for example, our tart Montmorency cherries, they just burst in your mouth, and I wanted a package that really connoted that feeling. But it just takes a lot of work. You got to work through it and just line it all up, check it all off and move to the next thing.

Jeremy Weisz  4:39 

I’m curious, when you’re in a room, how do you do the brainstorming to where do you start? Right? I mean, are you in front of a whiteboard? Like take me to like one of the scene where are you located? What’s the team doing?

Grace Erickson  4:52 

Yeah. So you have to really put yourselves in the foot of your consumer. And so who’s your target who are you really trying to speak to audience wise, and then you have to create mood boards around that and really ideate both what, we are a lifestyle brand, because nutrition is something that is a choice that people make day in and day out about what they put in their bodies. And so many people are being so much more judicious with their calories these days that it’s tough, and it’s a sophisticated consumer. So you really have to speak to that consumer and show what’s inside by the packaging outside. So it’s a creative process, right?

Jeremy Weisz  5:37 

How did you get in the food industry?

Grace Erickson  5:39 

I grew up in chocolate confections. I did a little bit of dabbling in sugar confections as well, my whole career I’ve been in either one of those. So chocolate-covered nutrition bars was a very natural next step for me.

Jeremy Weisz  5:56 

We were talking before you hit record about insourcing and talk about what you’ve been doing as a company with that.

Grace Erickson  6:03 

Yeah, we are very proud to say that now we manufacture our own bars. So we completely control our supply chain, which is huge in a post-pandemic world, where we can really dial in on all of the quality that makes us great, and sets us apart from our competition. But now, we can take pride in the fact that we are doing that ourselves.

Jeremy Weisz  6:26 

What was some of the challenges during the pandemic?

Grace Erickson  6:30 

Oh, gosh, well, I think it was the same as all the other small companies, I mean, supply chain issues out of stocks. We had certainly a whipsaw effect with retailers, not ordering enough, and then we produce more and then, being overstock in some areas. So I’m stressed out hearing about it. Yeah, it was really intense. But nothing that no one else was not also going through. So at least that evened out the marketplace where distributors were really trying to find people that could supply them. And so we are scalable operation now where we don’t have an issue with that.

Jeremy Weisz  7:14 

Talk about the founders background, you’re saying this is made by nutritionists?

Grace Erickson  7:18 

Yes. So the founders of the company, so David, Minh, Kathleen, and Sandi, all nutritionists that were going to school together, and they didn’t have a nutrition bar that they could recommend to their clients. So they decided to create their own bar, which is a really great story. And the fact that we’re still around today believe we were on shelf in 2009. And we’re still around today. So it’s just a mark of a good company that has great recipes. And the founder is still very much involved with the company. He’s our chief innovation officer. So he’s working on a lot of things in the background.

Jeremy Weisz  7:59 

Where can people find it ? Where can people get it.

Grace Erickson  8:01 

Zing can be found. We’re nationwide now, we have distribution at Rite Aid, Walgreens, we’re in Whole Foods, other specialty markets around the area. Best way to find us depending on where you’re located in the States is to look at our store locator on our website

Jeremy Weisz  8:18 

Everyone check it out. It’s one of my favorite if not my favorite plant-based bar. Thanks everyone.