Since its beginning, KIND snack foods has been on a mission to craft a viable business model where profit and societal greater good exist in complete harmony. This seamless blending of the two concepts has proven to be a success, due to the diligence and dedication of the company’s team of forward thinking creatives. Each product created must be unique, have ingredients one can pronounce, and no genetically engineered ingredients. By creating this business model and making it a success, KIND has achieved an iconic status in the world of snack foods: Healthy, delicious, and a force for good.
1. KIND Philosophy: Both a Solid Product and Solid Team
KIND Snacks founder, Daniel Lubetzky reported that he learned an important lesson when he appeared as a guest Shark on the hit television show, “Shark Tank”“. When coming face to face with eager entrepreneurs, hoping to win support, he realized something important, “What is more critical, a solid product or a solid entrepreneur?,” the answer is always “You must have both.”. In other words, the entrepreneur tossing you the pitch can be an amazing salesperson, yet the product not so much. On the other hand, you could have a fabulous product, but the one promoting it, isn’t doing what it takes to show it’s salable qualities.
2. KIND Founder is a Practicing Magician
If you ever see the word “magical” associated with Kind Foods, there’s a pretty good reason for that. Its founder, Daniel Lubetzky was considered a child prodigy where magic was concerned. Indeed, as a small child, Daniel took to performing magic tricks like a duck to water, and started to perform for friends and relations at the tender age of 8. He was both a capable performer and master of his craft. In fact, according to his Instagram posts, he still practices magic today.
3. What “KIND” Really Means
At first glance, we may see the name “KIND” and think that it must be there as a way to grab customers, a marketing ploy. But such is not the case. In truth, the founder of KIND, Daniel Lubetzky’s father spent a good deal of his youth in Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. According to his dad, he only survived by the kindness of others, and it was this truth that inspired Daniel to call his brand, KIND. So, it’s always good to remember each and every day, that “Kindness is Magical”.
4. Lubetsky is the Cousin of Famed Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki
One thing that may surprise you, is the fact that the founder and executive chairman of KIND, is the cousin of a well-known creative: Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Emmanuel is respected cinematographer who received 8 Academy Awards nominations while winning 3 for: Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant. In fact, on February 11, 2015, Daniel posted a tweet, congratulating his talented cousin: “So proud of my cousin Emmanuel Lubezki for his BAFTA for Birdman!
5. It All Began with PeaceWorks
KIND came into being when founder Lubetzky tasted a delicious and unique bar. He was traveling to Australia on behalf of his company, PeaceWorks. PeaceWorks was founded on the belief that business ventures could be used to help lessen conflicts between people and nations. When in Australia, he sampled a delicious bar made with fruit and nuts. He became so enamored with its taste, that it inspired him to create KIND. In 2004 Kind became an established company selling a variety of tasty and healthy snacks, among them bars which are filled with whole nuts and fruit. As of May, 2021 Kind has sold over 2 billion of these fruit and nut bars.
6. Lubetzky Sold Watches
KIND’s success is the result of many years of self-determination and drive to never give up. Indeed, one could use Lubetsky’s childhood as an example of that drive. From spending long hours learning magic and creating magic shows starting at the age of 8, to spending much of his teen and college years purchasing wholesale watches and reselling them at a markup. He’d take these watches to flea markets and shopping malls.
7. How the Holocaust Influenced KIND’s Business Philosophy.
In March of 2015, Lubetzky authored the New York Times Best seller, “Do the KIND Thing”. Part biography and part business philosophy, The founder and majority owner of KIND relates how his personal life shaped KIND’s business philosophy. When his father was a child in Dachau, a Nazi performed an act of kindness by giving him a potato. This potato helped him live another day, and represents how acts of kindness can change lives and set the foundation for his philosophy that one can build bridges with acts of kindness. In fact, when attending Trinity University, he composed a 268 page thesis outlining how peace between Arabs and Israelis could be achieved via business.
8. KIND Joins the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment
In 2020, KIND joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s project: New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. This means that KIND will make every effort to make all products recyclable. In other words, all things created by KIND, from packaging to ingredients will be able to be used as compost, be recyclable or reusable by 2025. Also, KIND is working towards decreasing the company’s reliance on single-use plastics.
9. KIND Donates $10,000 Every Month to Charity
We’ve already established how the concept of kindness is the driving point behind KIND’s best business practices. But it doesn’t stop there. Every month a charity or social cause is given a $10,000 donation. The cause is selected via online voting by KIND’s customers. Once the Votes roll in and counted, the winner gets the donation.
10. What are “Kindawesome” Cards”?
In keeping with the spirit of giving, even KIND’s employees are encouraged to participate. Employees are given “Kindawesome” cards. They carry these cards with them wherever they go. The purpose is to hand them out to random strangers in public, if they are seen performing random acts of kindness. The Kindawesome cards come with a code which gifts them some free KIND snacks. They also get extra cards they can hand out to others who perform acts of kindness. So again, we see how KIND integrates business and profit with social concerns.
11. KIND’s “and not or” Mission
KIND embraces a simple philosophy which involves “and” and not “or”. In other words, some companies may only value profit, which is fine as that’s what a business is all about. However, at KIND they value profit AND the mission, not profit OR the mission. Using this business practice, they are able to create a mission statement which incorporates the philosophy of creating profit while integrating their belief in kindness. As such, no one loses: Businesses get wealthy and making the world a better place in the process by using business to build bridges.
12. KIND said “No” to Starbucks Acquisition
It’s no secret that Starbucks would be a source of great profits for any snack company, and for 5 years, KIND pursued Starbucks for that very same reason. In 2009 Starbucks finally saw the value of KIND bars and agreed to sell them in 7,000 of their stores. The result was stellar, KIND bars were well-received by Starbucks customers. This led Starbucks to inquire about purchasing KIND or having KIND make bars with the Starbucks brand. Founder Lubetzky refused the offer, stating that “…building a brand that’s obsessed about quality is inconsistent with offering people private-label solutions”.
13. “Resourceful Mentality” vs “Wasteful Mentality” and How KIND Utilizes It
In the early years of KIND’s growth, founder and present day executive director, Daniel Lubetsky experienced “wasteful mentality”. Wasteful mentality meant that he was fearful of wasting even a penny of the company’s profits and the money raised by investors. All this concern did was to fuel more worry while dampening the entrepurnal spirit. In 2009, he contacted his investors for advice, and they told him to ignore the economy and concentrate on his sector. Thus, he switched from “wasteful mentality” to “resourceful mentality”, meaning he became assertive in his business strategies, leading KIND to gain more profits than ever before.
14. KIND Grew its Brand by Relying on Word of Mouth Tactics
When KIND was established in 2004, it was decided that conventional marketing strategies might be a waste of the company’s money. Instead, they decided to rely on word of mouth recommendations from customers. Fortunately, this tactic proved to work for KIND, helping it to propel itself into the snack food market. Since then, KIND has continued to use such unconventional and cost effective methods of marketing, such as the aforementioned Kindawesome cards, and mobile give-aways. In the mobile give-away, KIND invited consumers to receive an ecard which would grant the recipient a free KIND bar. It seems word of mouth and mobile engagement has worked out quite well for the snack food giant.
15. KIND Uses the Concept of “Authenticity” to Build Customer Loyalty
KIND believes that brand awareness and “magic” relies on its authenticity. This means that whenever KIND is reviewing new product ideas, they scrutinize the current market. If they find that this product resembles one already in existence, the product is scrapped. In other words, it has to be unique within its category, not just a knock-off of an existing best-selling product.
16. Leadership Must be Able to Admit Their Faults
A big part of KIND’s philosophy is the ability to admit to investors and others what went wrong. When a company’s leadership has the ability to admit what’s wrong, then others in the company are more willing to take risks. After all, fear of failure in business, as well as in life is one of the main reasons people don’t succeed. If people are free to fail with no repercussions, then you begin to welcome new and fresh ideas into the fold. For instance, someone at KIND may have a fabulous, cost effective marketing strategy on their mind, or new product, but never let it out of their heads, for fear of it ‘being wrong’.
In an interview with Goldman Sachs, Lubetsky describes the KIND Foundation and one of its projects, Empatico. The aim of Empatico is to create a platform where school age children, age 6 to 11, can connect with other children anywhere in the world. It’s a movement designed to create a more empathetic and kind world. The program is free, and you can also donate if you like.
18. KIND is Not Defined by Their Bars
A common misconception some consumers make is to define the brand KIND by their bars, and only bars. As delicious as they may be, KIND would like to dispel that assumption. Rather, it’s their goal to be known by the healthy, wholesome and authentic nature of all their product lines, past, present and future. In short, they strive to be innovative with each product they create, and not be boxed into just one category.
19. KIND is Willing to Pay Higher Taxes
Founder and executive chairman, Daniel Lubetzky appeared on the business show, “Cavuto: Coat to Coast” and related his stance on corporate taxes under the Biden administration. Lubetzky stated that he was comfortable with the concept of paying more taxes as long as corporate incentives remain, because “there’s people that have been left behind during this pandemic”. In fact, he sees this as a way to help bring people together
20. KIND Will Be the First Snack Company to Support Pollinators
In 2020, KIND became the first snack food company to obtain their almonds from farms which supported bee colonies by 2025. This is a tremendous effort, and will be achieved by only sourcing almonds from farms that do not use pesticides which harm bees and ensuring that bees have a suitable habitat to form colonies. This way, each farm would ensure that bees had 3 to 5 percent of their land to support their colonies.
One can say that KIND has achieved the impossible: To create a profitable enterprise while working toward a goal of making the world a kinder place. Indeed, it somewhat proves that “kindness is magical”. To have this sort of spirit, along with a team of dedicated players who are enthusiastic in being part of such a grand scheme is as unique and authentic as the products they represent. So, the next time you’re hankering for a snack, give KIND a try. After all, you’ll not only be satisfying your hunger with a delicious and healthy treat, but you’ll also be helping the world become a little kinder, with each bite.