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Michele Kessler on Growing Her Brand and Hot Probiotics

By Christina Najjar | September 13, 2018 | Food & Drink

Michele Kessler is somewhat of a powerhouse when it comes to business. She’s responsible for growing thinkThin into the enormous brand it is today. Not only is the brand going from strength to strength, but it’s also expanding its product line. The protein-packed bars you know and love are only the beginning for the brand who recently expanded their line with hot probiotic oatmeal. We chatted with CEO Michele Kessler about the exciting new product.

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What was the inspiration behind thinkThin?
MICHELE KESSLER: Our company was founded in 1999 with the mission to create nutritious, protein-rich food that supports wellness. We pioneered the concept of high protein bars and have always been proudly led by women. Since that time, we’ve experienced double-digit growth and expanded our product portfolio to include several types of protein bars, as well as oatmeal, smoothie mixes, protein powder and more.

There's been such a surge of interest in probiotics - why did you decide to launch a hot format?
MK: Yes, consuming probiotics has become incredibly popular. However, most people are used to probiotics in a cold format like yogurt or kombucha. We felt it was important to put an innovative twist on probiotics by offering a hot, tasty breakfast option complete with the benefits of protein and fiber.

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What makes you excited about this new oatmeal?
MK: On a personal note, I’m a huge fan of oatmeal and eat it several times per week! On a business note, we’re excited about this new oatmeal because we’ve spent the last four years immersed in developing oatmeal lines that are delicious and healthy. In 2015, we were one of the first brands to launch a Protein & Fiber Oatmeal. Building on that product’s success, we launched Protein & Probiotics Oatmeal in stores nationwide this summer, which is specially crafted with 1 billion CFUs of live probiotics to support overall wellness, 6 grams of fiber to help support digestion, plus the benefit of 10 grams of protein to help provide energy to start the day. My favorite flavor is Maple Pecan.

How do you start your mornings?
MK: Most mornings, I wake up and start by drinking a shot of apple cider vinegar. I check my phone for messages and news, go for a run (or walk), then have a thinkThin oatmeal or protein bar for breakfast. I usually get to the office around 7:30 a.m.

As a female CEO, how do you get it all done?
MK: At work, I prioritize the tasks I have to complete and delegate those that can be completed by a member of my team. My meetings usually have clear expected outcomes, and by having the right people in the meeting, we can make quick decisions. I’m lucky to have a short commute to the office, which helps me manage my time. I also travel frequently and use airplane time to do work and catch up on emails. In general, I try not to be a slave to email -- I read them and act immediately or ruthlessly delete.

What does wellness mean to you?
MK: To me, wellness is a combination of both physical and mental health. It’s making choices that reflect a healthy lifestyle, which includes mindful eating, staying active, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a positive attitude. I have a glass half full mentality and try to find the humor in situations.

What’s next for the company?
MK: Our plan is to continue launching innovative products and growing. We can’t give away too much at this point, but our new Protein & Probiotics Oatmeal likely won’t be the last probiotics product you see from us!



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