Key Stats: Macro Snacks on StartEngine
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Americans are always on the hunt for their next miracle weight loss product. Yet, they still want tasty snacks too. Health and fitness-formulated granola bars, cookies, popcorn, and chips are no longer relegated to the corner of the health food store. As a result, the healthy snack market is growing rapidly to $32.88 billion in global value, a 5.2% CAGR through 2025.
However, many of these snacks aren’t as healthy as they seem. Many protein bars aren’t much better for you than candy bars. Scientists have also questioned whether high-protein diets are all that healthy. Nutrition is a complicated science that varies tremendously by individual. However, scientists seem to agree that too much of any particular ingredient or macronutrient is a bad idea.
Macronutrient-focused diets are one of the latest dieting trends. Macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) are the building blocks of all foods. Those on a macronutrient-focused diet use their body weight and health goals to determine their optimal breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat among their daily meals and snacks.
Many trendy healthy snacks, like Quest protein bars, don’t offer excellent macronutrient balance. Their ingredients are often skewed too much in the direction of protein. Therefore, macronutrient trackers seek a macro-balanced snack product that is balanced between carbs, protein, and fat.
Macro Snacks is a plant-based food company producing chip-like crunchy snacks with well-balanced macronutrients. Macro offers tasty snacks in flavors like Rockin’ Ranch and BBQ that replace unhealthy processed snacks with an optimal balance of carbs, protein, and fat. Macro Snacks are also non-GMO, vegan, and keto-friendly. The snacks’ lack of animal ingredients is a key differentiator, as many healthy protein snacks use whey protein that is not vegan.
Macro Snacks sells “chips” to consumers via the Macro Snacks website and Amazon. There are currently seven varieties of Macro Snacks, available at $14.99 for a six-pack of individual-serving bags (variety packs in larger quantities are also available). Each bag of Macro Snacks is composed of 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fat.
Macro Snacks sold 25,000 bags of chips in four months after launching on Amazon in June 2019. For 2019, the company generated roughly $16,000 in revenue, but spent over $300,000 (almost half of that in marketing and advertising) for a net loss of $330,000. Numbers for the early part of 2020 look more promising, with $71,000 of income and $110,000 of expenses through April.
Macro Snacks was founded by Justin Wiesehan. He previously co-founded an e-cigarette company that grew to $40 million in annual revenue. Mystic Electronic Cigarettes were sold in Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and other national chains. Wiesehan served as the SVP of Marketing and Regulatory Affairs for that company. He later worked in sales and marketing for another e-cigarette company before founding Macro Snacks.
Macro Snacks reports changing its digital marketing strategy in 2020, resulting in 703% growth from February to March. The company is also focused on increasing customer retention to reduce acquisition costs.
Macro Snacks was apparently planning to enter brick-and-mortar retailers in 2020, but those plans were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Macro has instead shifted strategy to refocus on digital marketing and customer acquisition to execute a better-positioned store launch in 2021.
In the longer term, Macro Snacks intends to develop more vegan, macro-balanced snacks beyond chips. Protein bars and a drinkable protein product are first product expansions on the roadmap, followed by nut butters, popcorn, cookies, and others.
Why We Like it
- Well-branded concept with good digital marketing results: While the company’s 2019 ratio of income to marketing spend was not great, results in the early part of 2020 have been much stronger. Macro Snacks is clearly well-branded and well-positioned to capitalize on targeted advertising on social media and search engines. It has demonstrated its ability to execute these strategies with strong month-over-month growth. Given that Macro Snacks will be selling online for the foreseeable future thanks to COVID-19, the strength of its digital marketing program is a key selling point for investors.
- Differentiated product in an admittedly crowded space: While a new healthy snack company seems to launch every day, Macro Snacks is focused on a key consumer niche within healthy eating: vegan, macro-focused fitness enthusiasts. Vegans struggle to find protein snack options because most protein snack companies use whey protein, derived from milk. Layering on the additional demand of good macronutritional balance further limits those consumers’ options. Macro Snacks is carving out a lead in this specific niche, a niche that is only growing as more Americans explore veganism and trendy macro-focused diets.
Macro Snacks has developed a well-branded, vegan, macro-focused snack line with tens of thousands of units sold. Even though the company’s plans for retail expansion were halted due to COVID-19, Macro Snacks has demonstrated its ability to generate solid revenue through online DTC sales.
That being said, Macro Snacks is a player in a crowded market of healthy snacks. Quest Nutrition is the dominant player in this space, having grown to a billion-dollar company in less than five years. While Macro Snacks’s products are specifically differentiated from Quest’s, less concerned (non-vegan) consumers may not realize the difference and prefer Quest’s products at a lower price point. Macro Snacks’ success is dependent on winning within a specific niche of healthy snack consumers. The company seems to be succeeding at that endeavor thus far, but prospective investors should consider the potential impact of diminishing success.
Macro Snacks’ founder acknowledged in the forum section of the company’s fundraise page that Macro Snacks is unlikely to seek an IPO and is more likely to achieve exit through acquisition. While larger food and beverage companies would be unlikely to acquire Macro Snacks for distinctive intellectual property, a strong brand popular with a key niche of consumers could be an attractive target for acquisition. Kind Foods, for instance, is an active acquirer and lacks a robust vegan and protein-rich product line. Companies like Kind could pursue Macro Snacks if Macro continues to grow.
While Macro Snacks is operating in a crowded space, strong brand differentiation and a solid grasp of DTC digital marketing may propel the company toward growth and ultimate acquisition. Therefore, Macro Snacks is a Deal to Watch.
About: Katy dolan
Katy is a marketing and research consultant to startups (including VC-backed companies, small businesses, and advocacy movements). With experience in tech, venture capital, politics, and non-profits, Katy partners with clients to strategize and execute compelling campaigns focused on user experience and empathetic narrative. Katy graduated cum laude from Harvard College with an AB in Sociology.