Minnesotan To Meet: PowerBark’s Leslie Fhima

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There are several options for on-the-go food – cereal bars, granola bars even Power Bars.

But what about PowerBark?

The name seems to lend itself more to on-the-go options for pets.  And that’s exactly what fitness instructor Leslie Fhima intended.

Fhima certainly has an on-the-go lifestyle. The Minneapolis resident is a marathon runner and an aerobics champion. So, a grab and go-meal from one client to the next is sometimes her only option.

That’s when a different idea got her attention: What about on-the-go meals for pets?

Fhima has always been up for trying sometime new.

“One day I was eating a cliff bar and [Sadie] was looking at me like, ‘I’m hungry!’ And I thought, ‘Why can’t there be something like this for dogs?’ So easy! Just take it, it’s a bar, easy to feed,” Fhima said.

Fhima’s dog Sadie isn’t just her side-kick when she’s going from client to client; she is also her taste-tester.

“I made it in my home; pumpkin, oatmeal, banana and honey. Sadie loved it,” Fhima said.

That first dog food test didn’t have a shelf life, but Fhima knew she was onto something.

“It did take a long time, because it’s a formula. The moisture, the carbohydrates have to be a certain way, the levels of the protein,” she said.

Just like the food we eat, dog food needs to approved before it hits store shelves as well. AAFCO, or the Association of American Food Control Officials, has strict guidelines about pet food and that’s when Fhima needed a little help.

“I got a dog food scientist involved. It was a long journey, about seven years,” she said.

Market research shows the U.S. food bar market is expected to hit $8.3 billion in 2016.

Fhima said pet trends always seem to follow human trends.  It’s why she wanted to create something that resembled the food fads we’re seeing today.

The PowerBark bars are the equivalent of a meal replacement for your feline friend. Fhima said one bar equals the same calories as if you were feeding your dog kibble. So, one bar could serve up breakfast to your thirty pound pet.

More from Ali Lucia
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