"Former long-track speed skater Bart Veldkamp – who won one gold and two Olympic skating bronzes – has developed and produced his own new “junk-free” snack under the name I am Bart’s Bite. He describes it as a “pure organic snack bar full of vegetables, fruit and seeds without preservatives and added sugars.”
What made you go into snack bar production?
As an athlete with a number of allergies, I have always been aware of the importance of the correct food on my health and fitness levels. I was also aware that a lot of the snacks available are full of artificial flavours and preservatives, with too high levels of bad fats, added sugar and salt. After moving on from skating I decided to look into making my own healthy snack bars.
What were the main challenges you faced?
The start-up period was extremely challenging. It was difficult to make the ingredients stick together and to get the optimal taste. I had delivery and technical problems with the production equipment too, so it took an extra 14 months to get production up and running.
Was it difficult to decide on the optimal ingredients mix?
Yes, I am very picky so was always thinking of ways to make the mix a little bit better. This stems from my background as a high-performance athlete; the moment you think you have made it after winning a race, you are actually already beaten.
But you are satisfied with the final product?
Absolutely, I am very proud of it. Our aim was to create the perfect snack to give you extra energy and nourishment when you need it. The ingredients are 100% organic and contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It has the optimal balance between carbohydrates, fats, protein and fibre to ensure a steady energy supply while leaving you satisfied. To top it all off, the I am Bart’s Bite contains no gluten, nuts, lactose or added sugars.
How do you compete against major manufacturers with all their resource?
I remind myself that everybody started small, and that small doesn’t mean weak. I work from my strengths and continually look to see how and where I can make a difference.
Do you intend to bring out new products in the near future?
Yes, the intentions are there, but finding the time to execute my plans is a challenge, but there will be more products for sure.
What are your objectives in attending the FFF expo in Barcelona?
I want to get my name and brand out there, and get in touch with potential retail and distribution partners. I’m looking for people who understand the product and who want to provide consumers with good, healthy and responsible nutrition. Also people who understand start-ups, and who realise there is more to life than making profit; there is the potential to build something together for the good of humanity.