Clif Bar Makes Innovation A Priority With New Chief Innovation Officer Role

Food & Drink

Clif Bar & Company announced today that Rizal Hamdallah will join as the company’s first-ever Chief Innovation Officer, effective November 23, 2020.

It’s hard to imagine a world before bars were everywhere, but in 1992 there were less than a handful of brands. Clif launched a bar product that tasted far better than the other hardcore althlete-focused energy bars on the market. It was different because it was baked, giving it appeal not only to active people looking for something that tasted better, but also to more mainstream consumers looking for something convenient that was healthier than a cookie.

Today snack bar/granola bar category sales are over $6 billion and the privately held Clif bar & Co is one of the big brand leaders.

Over the last 28 years the bar category has become wildly crowded, with offerings for dozens of targeted consumer needs (keto, allergen-free, kids, high protein, plant-based). In the past decade, big companies have moved into Clif’s territory in the natural channel, including Mars Kind bars, and General Mills

’ Lara bar. Meanwhile Clif has been successful closing distribution gaps in traditional grocery, club, online, c-store, and more.

While the company sells granola, energy chews, drink mixes, and fruit snacks, the majority of Clif’s sales are still in bar form. With such brand strength, there’s an obvious opportunity for expansion beyond their core bar category dominance. Enter: innovation.

With the new Chief Innovation Officer role filled, Clif plans to expand the company and grow, with their mission-driven prioritization of people and planet, such as championing organic agriculture. In his role, Hamdallah will lead the development of products and business models that are purpose-built to create positive change through food.


Hamdallah was most recently Global Chief Innovation Officer at Ocean Spray Cranberries

, where he led innovation and R&D teams to launch wellness-focused products, including the debut of the CBD sparkling water beverage, CarryOn. Hamdallah was also instrumental in the creation of Lighthouse, the company’s innovation incubator.

“Rizal’s track record of bold thinking, big ideas and positive impact through food have made him a force in the industry and a perfect fit for our company’s unique Five Aspirations business model,” said Clif Bar CEO, Sally Grimes. “Under Rizal’s leadership, innovation at Clif Bar will accelerate how we redesign the business of food for health, equity and Earth.”

Hamdallah will report directly to CEO Grimes who, in May joined Clif from Tyson Foods where, prior to Ocean Spray, Hamdallah ran Tyson’s Innovation Lab.

In 2019, Hamdallah was named one of the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” honorees. He is also a US patent holder for his work on dispenser technology.

“Joining Clif Bar is a unique opportunity to create meaningful change in the world through food,” said Hamdallah. “I want to grow the company’s legacy of category-defining innovation by developing food that reaches more people, grows the company and increases our positive impact on humanity.”

About Clif Bar & Company

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