Our Company Story
What is the inspiration behind your product and business?
“I needed something that my kids and husband would actually like, make with some of my favorite superfoods. It needed to be portable for school lunches or snacks, and very importantly to me personally, it would have to be a lot less sweet than what was already out there. With these goals in mind, I set out to create a product that I hoped would satisfy the health food enthusiast as well as the mainstream consumer.” – Christiane Gossen
What was the inspiration behind the name of the product?
“’Via’ means ‘road’, and the ViaBar had certainly become our ‘road food’, accompanying us wherever we went –from school or work, to shopping trips in Calgary, to skiing or hiking in the mountains, even on overseas vacations.” – Christiane Gossen
How ViaBar Came to Be
My husband Phil and I developed an interest in healthy eating and lifestyle in our early twenties (motivated more by vanity than anything else, I’ll admit!). Over the past 25 years, we’ve gradually incorporated one healthy idea at a time, and by the time our kids were teenagers, I was creating and sharing my own healthy recipes with family and friends, to help them improve their diets as well.
I found it easy to make healthy, enjoyable meals for at home, but portable lunch and snack items were still a bit of a challenge. So I set out to develop an energy bar for my family, and as a business. My bar would have to meet my three absolute requirements: it would incorporate great ingredients such as raw seeds, dried berries and old fashioned rolled oats, it would have to stick together while not being very sweet, and it could under no circumstances be heated, which would ruin the Omega-3 oils in the ingredients I was using.
So I jumped in: First I got a business license and built a small commercial kitchen in our basement (under the guidance of our local health inspector), and then rolled up my sleeves!
After what seemed like an infinite number of test batches over the months that followed (some of which turned into a gooey mass, and others hard granola blocks!), I eventually perfected the master recipe (at the cost of gaining a few extra pounds from being in the kitchen so much!), which I was then able to modify for our current variety of 10 flavors.
“For me it is very important to offer my customers something I believe in myself.
This product tastes great, and is responsibly made.”Christiane Gossen
The whole family was involved in the R&D phase, selling my new bars at the farmers market, getting daily feedback from customers, and figuring out where our strengths and weaknesses were. During this time, our product was sold under the name “Omega Bar”, because of the high Omega-3 content that the bars contain.
Soon local health food stores, restaurants and grocery stores were selling our line of energy bars. We changed the name to “ViaBar”, to comply with previously unknown labeling/health claims laws, got some great packaging design done by a Calgary company, and have been growing ever since.
Although we have some distribution throughout Canada, we still consider ourselves primarily a local Alberta company. The retailers and people of Alberta supported us and gave us our start, for which we are grateful, as we continue to focus on our local market. This year, we launched our newest offerings, two flavors of the “Chia” line, which I call “the ViaBar on steroids”.
This epic journey has been exciting, fun, terrifying, and almost defeating at times, and a huge personal growth curve for me. Our facility is now many times the size of that first tiny kitchen, we’ve got an excellent production staff, and many of our start-up challenges are now behind us (happily!). We really look forward to doing business for many years to come. Thank you everyone!