Tang became an iconic brand in the Sixties by advertising that American astronauts took the powdered, orange-flavored drink with them into space. Now, a new fruit bar brand called “That’s it.” is hoping for lift-off by promoting the fact that NASA has sent its bars in a cargo shipment to US astronauts on board the International Space Station.
The “It” in That’s It is not Tang. In fact, the company has become a fast-growing and disruptive force in the US nutrition bar market by selling a new type of partially dehydrated fruit that is tasty and textured, with the simplest of ingredient lists—just apples and other fruit, such as pears, apricots or blueberries—and an 18-month shelf life.
The secret is a proprietary drying and binding process that is new to a segment that largely has consisted of Gummi-style snacks, fruit “leathers” and airy pieces of dried fruit.
“When That’s It fruit bars are made, they are as close to a natural fruit product as you can get; we like to say it might as well be hanging on a tree,” That’s It founder and CEO Lior Lewensztain told brandchannel.
The medical doctor with an MBA saw an opening for a new brand in a nutrition bar market where “everything new seemed to be focused on protein. There was nothing that was very clean and simple and fruit-focused,” he said. “So we whittled our plan down to a bar that would have only two ingredients, both of which were fruit. It would be an easy way for people to get their daily servings of fruit in a very convenient format that you can take anywhere.”
Impressed by the gluten-free (and ripe for paleo diets) bars, Whole Foods Markets three years ago made the unusual move of snapping up That’s It bars for US-wide distribution right away, without taking things region by region, followed by Starbucks, 7-Eleven and Kroger stores across the US. Now the brand is adding a new line of chocolate-covered, bite-size portions as well.
Lewensztain sees his brand’s value proposition as easily translatable to overseas markets because of its simplicity and packaging. “You look at the package and you know exactly what it is.”
— That's It. (@ThatsItFruit) December 16, 2015
But going to space is taking That’s It marketing to a whole new level, included on an unmanned Orbital ATK cargo ship that was filled with vital supplies for the International Space Station, where it was captured by a robotic arm controlled by the station’s astronaut crew. In order to win the ISS seal of approval, That’s It bars were tested in NASA’s food lab to confirm the bars are indeed resistant to temperature changes as advertised—and also so suitable for zero-g flight.
“It’s exhilarating to think our product will actually be in orbit, providing a daily serving of fruit to an astronaut,” Lewensztain commented. “This is a tremendous application of our vision to improve the quality of life worldwide by making fruit and its benefits accessible everywhere —now even in space.”
The upshot: two types of That’s It bars, apple/banana, and apple/apricot, are circling the globe. Now that’s distribution.