The Result of An Enterprising Mind-Set and Fitness Passion

Venturing into anything has the biggest chance of striking gold when done with passion and relevant skills or experience.  The story of PrOATein Bar, a Mississauga-based company, is the perfect illustration.

Jiries Rabba, the founder of PrOATein Bar, comes from an entrepreneurial family.  His uncle, Jack Rabba, founded Rabba Fine Foods, and Jiries had been part of the family business as a kid helping out in stores, and later as marketing director.  He is also a devoted fitness enthusiast, who just could not find a protein bar that suited his needs.  So, he concocted his own.  And a couple of years ago, this Port Credit resident launched his own company, PrOATein Bar.

It was a bold decision, as the health food industry was already saturated with many companies producing protein bars.  But Rabba felt there was still a niche in the market he could fill.  His bar is not a meal replacement but a snack to curb those afternoon cravings, all natural with no refined sugars or artificial sweeteners, and oats whey protein isolate with date paste as the main components.  Marketed as healthy, filling and delicious, both nut-free and gluten-free, with only 160 to 170 calories and the perfect carb/fat/protein ratio, the bars come in four flavours.

It’s certainly not a piece of cake to survive in the healthy lifestyle industry as a small business.  “With a small business, you live and breathe it,” Rabba said in a interview. “The onus is on you to make it (work). You just have to keep plugging away. There’s ups and downs; some days are great, others are tough,” he said.

Rabba’s company is small (four full-timers and several part-time contract workers), but mighty.  Sales increased by 15 per cent between 2016 and 2017, and Rabba projects they will grow by 50 per cent next year. The bars are distributed to more than 1,200 stores across Canada, including chains such as Longo’s and GNC.

Only about a couple of years since the launch of his company, Rabba already has growth plans in place—and not just the addition of more flavours to the PrOATein bar.  Rabba’s plans include expanding into other health products, such as a breakfast oatmeal cup and protein shakes.