Healthy Snack Ideas

Check out the fastest selling bite bars


Saudi Gazette

Healthy snacks are lifesavers. They help keep you on track and satisfy your cravings at the same time. Instead of reaching out for a 500- calories chocolate bar or your candy stash, try the healthy Bite bars from Russia.

Using all natural ingredients, Bite bars come in 11 flavors and consist of fruit, berries, nuts and spices without any sugar, additives or preservatives. They are paired with an assortment of figs with cinnamon, and lime with hazelnuts, to apple with carrots, cranberries with almond, and banana with peanuts. They now have a new line for children called Bitey, and a line that was designed for athletes made of dried fruit and oats. This week we caught up with former fashion model, Elena Shifrina who is the CEO of BioFood Labs in an exclusive interview about her journey.

“Our goal is to create all-natural bars that are 100-percent delicious and healthy. Some are designed for people looking to detox, and others for those who actively count calories. But we have succeeded in creating the most balanced, flavorsome and nutritious product on the global market,” Shifrina told Saudi Gazette. The products are now available throughout the GCC and in the Kingdom.

“BioFood Lab sells 2.5 million Bite bars per month in Russia alone”

I opened BioFood Lab in 2013, and we’re fortunate to have become the top healthy snacks company in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Today, our flagship product is our Bite bars.

We have over 8,000 distribution points and sell 2.5 million of our Bite bars per month in Russia alone.

We launched our international expansion in 2014, and our products are now available in 14 other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UK, UAE and Japan. We are moving rapidly into other markets.

We also opened an online store with global delivery in 2016. The store has been favorably compared to Jessica Alba’s digital cosmetics boutique, Honest, and has helped us establish a dedicated consumer base in the United States – a market where we are looking to expand seriously in 2018 and 2019.

“I wanted to do much more than just walk down the runway”

I was born in Krasnodar, Russia, in 1983, and grew up in Novorossiysk. My brother and I were quite blessed because our mother always underscored the need to exercise and eat healthily. As a young adult, I moved to Paris and London to work as a fashion model, and had quite a bit of success. But I ultimately realized that I wanted to do much more with my life than just walk down the runway.

After landing my first job at TNK-BP, I worked my way up to enter the petroleum trade. I managed to put aside some savings, and then enrolled in the MBA program at Moscow’s Skolkovo Graduate Business School. As part of my studies, I did a three-month exchange program at MIT.

That’s where I had the idea for BioFood Lab.

My classmates and I didn’t have any time to cook meals, so we got into the habit of buying healthy snack bars in the student food areas. When I got back to Skolkovo, my entrepreneurship professor asked our class to design a product or service for a startup. I went with healthy snack bars, because the Russian products available at the time all contained preservatives, syrups and sugar. They were very high-priced and, as the market was expanding at seven percent yearly, it seemed like a winner.

I registered BioFood Lab in February 2012 with an initial capital of 7 million rubles – or about $120,000 – of my own money. We were profitable in only eight months.

“The Middle East was just the next logical step”

Kuwait and the UAE were our entry points in the Gulf. We then expanded into Saudi Arabia – a market that I find tremendously interesting, personally and professionally. Saudi Arabia and Russia have entered into an oil alliance that few previously thought possible. Saudi Arabia has also committed to investing up to $10 billion in Russia, and the countries’ relations continue to develop in all areas. We have a front-row seat on how things are developing, which as a company we find exhilarating.

But my personal interest in Saudi Arabia goes a bit further. I have also read a great deal over the years about Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud and the work she has done to promote female health awareness and female entrepreneurship. I myself am a mother of two children and a company executive, so I realize the breadth of her undertakings and the difficulty of juggling so much.

The Middle East was just the next logical step. The people are health conscious and willing to spend on good food that feeds the body and the soul. They also place a priority on family, and our aim is to make the world’s healthiest, most delicious snacks to keep the whole household as fit as a fiddle.

The Process

Consumers want a broad choice of food these days. BioFood Lab started with five Bite flavors, but we now have eleven. We really take an old-fashioned, hands-on approach to creating flavors. Our team purchases dried fruit, mixes it in different combinations, and sees how it tastes. We have a strong team of food technologists who are in charge of creating new flavors, and they are always coming up with new tasty concoctions.

Bite bars are available in the UAE at gas station chains, including Adnoc, and Eppco shops and kiosks, in Kuwait at co-ops such as SAVECO, The Approved Market, Mishref, Nuzha, Al Kaldiya, Al Qadisiya, Al Zahra, Adailiya, and others, cafes like the O Café. In Saudi Arabia our bars are available at The Gathering, fitness centers such as Spectrum, Karama, The Hour Glass, NuYu, and Kore Studios, cafes, and The Diet Center, although our network is constantly expanding.