Diana Stobo Of Truth Bar On 5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food or Beverage Brand

An Interview With Martita Mestey

Martita Mestey
Authority Magazine
8 min readJan 24, 2024

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Money- it’s always more expensive than you think and takes longer than you can imagine.

As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food or Beverage Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Stobo.

After undergoing a health crisis, Diana Stobo — previously a classically trained French chef, professional baker, and chocolatier — committed herself to the study of healthy eating and nutrition, eventually formulating Truth Bar, which she describes as the “best nutrition bar for gut health.” Now a nationally recognized health and nutrition expert, leading raw food chef, and lifestyle coach, Stobo is also a successful entrepreneur who has launched multiple products and businesses in the health, wellness, and food categories.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

It is always a pleasure to share my story, I attribute it as the foundation of my successes and failures. I was raised in a multicultural family where food was an integral part of my upbringing. Ironically, food would be the culprit for my health issues in the years to follow. That said, I credit my ability to overcome my health concerns to my fascination with food and health, which was instilled in me at a young age.

My father was a Persian immigrant who came to the United States to study, he met my mother who was a farm girl. Although they are no longer together, I can see the attraction, they both had a love of food and nature, and that love was not lost on me. I was a unique child and extremely creative; my visionary qualities started at a young age. I always found an outlet to express myself, whether it be art, cooking, writing, or drawing. Some might say I lived in my “own little world”, and I have also been referred to as a “loner”. However, the reality was, that I tried to keep my sensitive self protected from the outside world, which led to me discovering the things that truly mattered to me: health and feeling good in my body.

Can you share with us the story of the “ah ha” moment that led to the creation of the food or beverage brand you are leading?

My first “ah ha” moment occurred in 2003 when I had to completely change my diet, I was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer, gastritis, Hashimoto’s, and e-coli, amongst other issues. I had no choice but to make serious changes in my diet if I dreamed of recovering. I was determined to find solutions, so I used myself as a human-Petrie dish. I started to experiment with foods, my goal was to discern which foods caused inflammation from those that offer healing properties. After years of crafting a serious food-focused route to recovery, people began to ask me what I was doing and if I could help them. I realized what I learned could seriously benefit others, so I began touring the country and talking about ‘foods that heal’. My passion for the topic led to my first bestselling book “Get Naked Fast- A Guide to Stripping Away the Foods That Weigh You Down” and ultimately the creation of Truth Bar. Truth bar was the product of providing easy and functional foods to the diet that would help combat pill fatigue from supplementations. I have always believed the best way to true nutrition is through natural foods and herbs.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh boy do I have stories; I will stick with the one that highlights my naivete in food production. Our first production run was 100,000 bars. As a startup, and without a recognizable brand yet, it never dawned on me that this was a massive scale and would take some time to sell. Let’s just say, there are many food banks and shelters that enjoyed the gut-health benefits of Truth Bars.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a food or beverage line? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The most important thing to consider is your ‘real costs’. CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) is a low-margin business; distribution is the name of the game. The Food and Beverage industry is full of potholes and pitfalls. Only 1% of new products make it. The key to survival is having very little overhead.

Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to produce. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

I would like to think I have some words of wisdom, but I am still learning myself. I have recently brought on some seasoned veterans in the food and beverage world who are teaching me new things every day.

  1. Make sure you are well funded, your product can be the best out there, but if there are no funds to market and advertise, you won’t have a future.
  2. Find a good manufacturing partner, one that has the same integrity and values as you. Without them, there is no product, no product means no business!
  3. Walk before you run! Getting a deal with a big retailer could make or break you. The cost of production could outperform the sales and the profit margin; therefore, leaving you with a large debt and a huge amount of inventory.
  4. Your product’s messaging needs to be on point. In a sea of new products that claim functionality, you must find a way to stand out.

Many people have good ideas all the time. But, some people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How would you encourage someone to overcome this hurdle?

You are talking to a dreamer and a magic maker, so the best piece of advice I can offer here is, “Just do it”! Having courage and a vision is 80% of what you need to make something work. Each business I have created, from my supplement company to The Retreat Costa Rica, has brought me moments of doubt, but never defeat. If you believe in your product, so will everyone else.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

That truly depends on the person’s background. What I have found is each “expert” has varying beliefs and ways of doing things. When choosing experts, it is vital that they align with your purpose. Their insight can be beneficial in discerning what avenues to take to strengthen your mission and which to avoid.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Thus far, I have self-funded all my endeavors. It’s not easy, the gains and losses are all on me, which can be very stressful, but I am aware of every penny spent. My concern with taking on a venture partner is the notion that I may have to compromise on my values or vision for the brand. I keep my eye on the prize, a quality product with health benefits that also brings joy to people’s lives. I wholeheartedly believe in the old saying, “Do what you love, and the money will come”.

Can you share thoughts from your experience about how to file a patent, how to source good raw ingredients, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer or distributor?

I would love to share my ‘secrets’ on these topics but I have none. I asked a lot of questions, researched, and tried to align myself with experts in the industry. This is why it has taken so long for Truth Bar to get its footing; it was a new industry for me. I have worked with some brilliant players over the years who recognized Truth Bar as a disruptor in the industry and have helped in more ways than you can imagine. I feel very fortunate for these connections.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food or Beverage Brand” and why?

  1. Excellent Product- it must taste good and have meaning in people’s lives.
  2. Brand Story- having a vision and the courage to tell the story about who, what, why, and what if….
  3. Good visuals to back the story.
  4. Strong and supportive partners who can guide with their expertise.
  5. Money- it’s always more expensive than you think and takes longer than you can imagine.

Can you share your ideas about how to create a product that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?

I created this product to perform a specific goal while not compromising on taste. I used to make raw double chocolate chip cookies and sell them at the Academy Awards parties, as well as other big events, and even at farmers markets. People begged me to package and sell them, but they were all natural and would have to be placed in the freezer section to be available at retail stores. I realized they would go unnoticed and be priced out because they were full of hearty, natural, and expensive ingredients. I listened to people’s demand for a tasty and nutritious sweet and found a way to reimagine my cookie into a more fitting consumer good, and Truth Bar was born. With quality prebiotic fiber, white chia, rich dark chocolate, low to no glycemic sweeteners, and probiotics, the cookie recipe was restructured into great-tasting ‘candy bars’. In fear of repeating myself, taste and quality are very important to me, I want all my products to say what they do and do what they say.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Gosh, I really do hope I’m making an impact on the world. It’s easy to get distracted with the day-to-day busy work that it takes to make a business function. But the truth is, it all means nothing if we aren’t impactful. Just the other day, a woman reached out and said she ordered her bars too late and was without them for 4 days. She was really upset; because she told us they eliminate her IBS symptoms and make her regular. She is one of many who send us these messages daily. Even if I wanted to give up on this business, I can’t; my customers won’t allow it.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Wow, I could talk about this all day! I am passionately concerned about our food supply. I would revamp the food industry altogether, by eliminating GMO products, protecting the farming industry, overseeing labeling laws, creating better manufacturing guidelines, and double-checking FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations and import/export laws just to name a few steps. If I could lead a movement, it would be to fix our food supply.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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