Dear loyal customers of Gorge Delights Just Fruit Bars,
Thank you for your many years of loyalty to the Gorge Delights brand. As you can see there have been some changes with the company and I wanted to make sure you know what is and is not being changed and why. We value your business and support, so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an other questions you’d like answered. I am the founder and CEO of ZEGO, the company now manufacturing the Just Fruit bars. Our mission is to bring you nutritious and delicious snacks the meet all your dietary needs and to improve transparency and safety in our nation’s food supply chain. Here is our story.
Gorge Delights was started about 14 years ago by pear and apple farming families in Oregon and Washington as a way to make a delicious product from their culled fruit — the fruit that may be misshapen or too small to be sold in whole pieces at the grocery. In 2015, our company, ZEGO, contracted with Gorge Delights to make our own allergy friendly organic protein bars.
Despite their many years of dedicated work, Gorge Delights Just Fruit Bar business was not breaking even. So, in the summer of 2016, the farming families decided to close their doors and focus completely on farming. We at ZEGO loved their products though — we knew they were the very best fruit bars on the market. And, we knew that our allergy customers would really appreciate having more options to choose from in our ZEGO line.
So we worked with the Gorge Delights families to purchase their equipment and Just Fruit recipes. The Gorge Delights staff trained us on how to make their delicious bars, and we moved the operation to an allergy friendly facility in Idaho (that was the closest one we could find). The farming families became investors in ZEGO. In the end, they are now focusing on their very successful orchards and ZEGO is focusing on making and marketing the fruit bar business.
Here is what hasn’t changed — The Just Fruit Bars you have bought for years are exactly the same in everything but size, price and package. They are made from the same delicious Washington and Oregon fruit (and strawberries from California), with the same process and on the same equipment. If you were a fan of the FruitChia bars, we also make a fruit bar with white organic chia seeds that we think you will love.
Here is what did change — We did change the packaging, size, and the pricing. Here is why. We did an analysis of why Gorge Delights had not been able to break even on their product, after all, we would only be able to make the bars if we had a path to profitability. Two reasons were clear. The bar was underpriced by at 20% and so it wasn’t covering their operating costs. In addition, packaging was outdated which made some grocery buyers hesitant to bring it into their stores.
We did a survey of Just Fruit Bar customers and the majority felt the bars would be better if they were smaller. 40g, they said, is a lot of fruit. By making the bar smaller, we were able to get the calories down to under 100 and the carb count and glycemic load down to where most of the bars fit safely in a diabetic or low sugar diet. It also allowed us to lower the price per bar while increasing the price per gram. This made the bars more affordable for a lunchbox treat or quick pick-me-up in the afternoon. We realize that many people loved the 40g size, but the per bar price we would have had to charge would have been far above our competitors, which our research showed would have been more harmful to sales than a smaller sized bar at a lower price.
More transparency, more safety — Other things we changed we think you’ll be delighted with! In addition to our spiffy new packaging, we test every batch for cross contact with gluten, peanuts, soy and milk and post the results through the QR code on every snack we make; it’s unparalleled transparency.
In addition, we test for glyphosate (RoundUp) residue, which sneaks into even organic food because it is in our rainwater and rivers, and carefully select our ingredients to minimize pesticide presence. Finally, we were just certified as a B Corporation — B Corps is a rigorous certification process for companies that fully embrace and live their social and environmental missions as well has have exemplary practices with their product, employees, suppliers, and corporate structure. There are 1200 certified B Corps in the U.S., 2000 world wide. We are delighted to join the ranks of Patagonia and like-minded companies, together we are committed to using our companies to create a better world.
Thank you for your patience in reading through this letter. Please let me know if you have any other questions I can answer. I hope you will continue to enjoy the fruit bars and try our other protein bars and snacks we will be introducing soon. And, if you used to buy the Just Fruit Bars from your local store but can’t find them anymore, please ask the manager to carry the entire ZEGO line. Your request makes a huge difference. As always, you can buy the bars on Amazon or our website as well, where we have variety packs and occasional sales (be sure to sign up for the Z-Club so you get the secret links to the sales, they are for club members only.
Sincerely, Colleen Kavanagh
ZEGO co-founder and CEO
(and mom of 3 kids with more food allergies and restrictions than I ever imagined could exist)