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Hearthside-VSI partnership ignites bar innovation

nutritional bars

DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — (A Story of Bar Innovation) In 2015, Hearthside Food Solutions entered the arena of functional bar production with the acquisition of VSI, Leerdham, The Netherlands. Today, this contract manufacturing juggernaut controls a total of 3.2 million square feet of production space in 24 facilities with about 2.4 billion lbs of capacity annually, producing more than 1.5 billion bars worldwide each year.

From baked to cold-formed, and from granola, breakfast and snack-style to sports, energy and meal-replacement bars, Hearthside has the R.&D. and commercialization capabilities to produce thousands of potential varieties and, in some facilities such as VSI, with no minimum order quantity (MOQ).

But co-manufacturing can be a tricky proposition, along the lines of a “frenemy” relationship: A co-manufacturer’s customers are also its competitors. To remain successful, the concept of value must be handled with care.

“We’re always pressured to reduce our cost, ultimately for the end consumer, but also for our customers,” said Dwayne Hughes, senior vice-president, supply chain. “If we don’t stay competitive, our customers could potentially take the business in-house or even decide to invest in their own facility. We have to keep our quality scores up, consumer complaints down and costs low.”

To read the entire Bar Innovation story on, click here.

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