Bars look very different today

SUE FEA IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 17:13 01/07/2013
Southland Times photo
SUE FEA/Fairfax NZ

"The Moonbar Man", Southlander Richard King, gets excited about his products that are now available on southern skifields.

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A Southland money man has been rebranded as "The Moonbar Man" after quitting his Auckland finance job to take a new natural snack bar to the market.

Richard King's Moonbars have been inspired by David Bowie's Space Oddity with names like Pistachio and Date Oddity and Ground Control Cranberry.

But they are not weighed down by the gravity of fillers such as rolled oats, as is the case with many other snack bars. They are gluten-free and sweetened with native rewarewa honey and a little bit of brown sugar.

It took two years to master the recipes combining roasted pistachios, pumpkin kernels, almonds, dried dates and cranberries for the two products launched on to the market in March this year, when Mr King, 40, quit his finance job to work fulltime on the new bars.

Ironically it was working in Auckland's CBD that inspired the former top Southland sportsman and Southland Boys' High School student to develop a healthy snack product.

"I became frustrated working in the CBD in Auckland, because of a lack of tasty nutritional food. I had a background in finance so I decided to make my own."

He already has Auckland's top 50 cafes on board and Moonbars are now also sold on southern skifields, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Cardrona and at Mount Hutt in Canterbury, and Whakapapa in the Central North Island.

Mr King said he couriered a box of bars to NZSki general manager food and beverage Jennifer Graham for the staff to try. "She said they were all gone in 10 minutes."

NZSki was pushing healthy eating and Ms Graham said the natural ingredients in the bars had been tempting to customers, with the "real funky look" appealing to the younger market.

He is in Queenstown this weekend to promote his bars.

He and his wife, Anna, had their first child 11 months ago and it was a big step of faith for Mr King to leave his fulltime job to launch the new product.

Although confident he had an "exceptional product", Mr King said he was surprised at the willingness of cafe owners to give it a go.

Already Mr King is preparing a third Moonbar - Planet Earth is Blueberry - which should hit the market early next year.

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- The Southland Times

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