A grizzly bear and two cubs graze the meadows of Two Creek Monture Ranch near Ovando. Trumpeter swans tend to a nest on nearby wetlands. Roughly 1,000 head of cattle are to pasture, turning grass into beef. Cooper and Anne Burchenal see this bucolic setting as not only the inspiration but also the backbone of a new, unapologetically different breed of energy bar.
In a marketplace increasingly defined by niches and ingredients left behind (gluten-free, fat-free and so on), the Omnibar caters to anyone who eats everything. It is made of fruit, grains, nuts and, true to its ranching roots, beef. Unlike conventional energy bars, the Omnibar is savory and tastes more like a meal and less like a dessert.
“We are what we are, we’re not going to make a vegan version. There are other products for that,” says Brent Ruby, a University of Montana physiologist who is a founding partner along with the Burchenals in the Omnibar enterprise.
The entrepeneurial trio intend to shoehorn their Omnibar into the $5.7 billion energy bar retail market. With more than 500 cereal or energy bars already on American shelves, it will be tough to get noticed. But the Omnibar team feels their product will have a better chance than most when it hits stores this fall. As one of the industry’s only meat-based bars, Omnibar will be distinctively different. But the confidence of the crew behind it has just as much to do with a business plan that capitalizes on the company’s tight-knit Montana connections.