Art’s Cyclery: It seems that the name Bonk Breaker came from one (or many) horrible bonks that you guys have personally encountered…tell us about your most notable and/or most comical “bonks”.
You always remember your first right? The one that still sticks with me was in March of 1986. I had just started racing and was invited on a long training ride with the local hammers in Milwaukee. If you know Spring in the Midwest, you know it’s still cold and windy along Lake Michigan. We headed out about 35 miles downwind, and having no clue what I was doing, I thought I’d show that I belonged by pulling as hard as possible for probably like the last 10 miles. At the turnaround it didn’t occur to me that I should eat or drink anything, and 5 miles into the ride back – dead into a 20mph headwind – the lights just went out and I was dropped like a bad habit. Thank God one other guy was jettisoned at the same time, but the last 30 miles took us easily 2.5 hours as the temperature steadily dropped and the sun went down. It took everything just to turn over the pedals the last 10 miles and I think I cleaned out the refrigerator when I got home. Lesson learned ha ha!
Art’s Cyclery: You guys abide by three “R”s, meaning Real Food, Real Fuel, and Real Flavor. What does “real” really mean? Unprocessed? Non-GMO? Please explain…
It’s all of the above, and our vision has always been to create Energy and Protein bars that we – or our customers – could cook in our own kitchens. For us it starts with natural, high-quality ingredients that you can pronounce, including things like almonds, cashews, honey, and blueberries. We don’t mix in additives or preservatives or anything artificial, and our ingredients are Non-GMO and mainly organic.
Art’s Cyclery: In going with the “real” food motto, I’m sure most people would feel more comfortable knowing where their food was grown. Where do you guys source (the majority of) your ingredients from?
Many of our ingredients come from right here in California, and all of them come from Non-GMO sources. With all of our products, our objective is to use only the very best ingredients available.
Art’s Cyclery: Do you guys produce within the United States?
We do. All of our products are made right here in the USA.
Art’s Cyclery: Having “real” food in individual packaging seems to be a bit counterintuitive. Tell us about that.
If we could somehow do away with packaging we would, but a bar or handful of chews going straight into the jersey pocket would get a little bit messy! Seriously though, we utilize packaging with the sole intent of protecting the freshness of our products. We use a material that has almost a zero oxygen transfer rate – super important for real food ingredients.
Art’s Cyclery: Obviously, you guys are constantly developing new flavors. Tell us about some of the bizarre flavors that haven’t made the cut. Who does the testing? Also, how do you develop flavors for endurance athletes?
We’re always on the lookout for new flavor ideas, and along with good old fashioned brainstorming sessions in the test kitchen, we’ve gotten some of our very best ideas from our athletes, dealers, and customers who write or email. As athletes ourselves, we have a pretty good idea of flavor combinations and consistencies that will work, and the idea is to produce flavors that our customers actually look forward to eating. Once we develop a flavor profile we think we’ve nailed, we produce a few thousand bars and share them with our athletes and key customers – the ones who will be completely honest with us and share their opinions without holding back. Going directly to such a discriminating audience can be a good ego check, but we always get awesome and valuable feedback. Once we launch a new flavor we’re fairly sure it will work. No doubt that we’ve had our share of crazy flavor ideas that didn’t make it (yet) including bacon, kale, and a few other savory ideas. We definitely aren’t afraid of experimentation – in fact, it’s the most fun we have!
Art’s Cyclery: Are your Energy Chews truly 100% non-GMO, or just partially non-GMO?
Our Chews are 100% Non-GMO Project verified.
To our knowledge, we haven’t seen any other chew products attain the same rigorous standing. Using “non-gmo ingredients” is different than actually becoming project verified, and our goal is to attain this standard with every one of our products.
Art’s Cyclery: Compared to many other nutrition companies out there, your product line is considerably smaller. Is there a reason for having only 3 lines of products?
Absolutely. The fun thing is that as of this week we have 4 lines of products – Energy Bars, Protein Bars, Chews, and now Bonk Breaker Real Hydration. We’re a home-grown company, and our goal is to only create “real food” products that can live up to our standards of using simple, natural ingredients that combine fantastic flavors. Rather than rush into areas that just aren’t a fit for our philosophy, we’re rather take our time to be the best at what we know and feel comfortable with.
Art’s Cyclery: Are there any new product developments in the works that you may be able to speak about? That we can speak about?
Art’s Cyclery: What does the future of Bonk Breaker look like? We hope that it’s a lot like our first five years!
We have an incredibly dedicated team that shares our passion for creating the best sports nutrition and snack products on the planet. The idea of being able to share great nutrition with an even broader audience is really exciting to us and we love the idea that there are no limits on what we can do and where we can go!