Soft baked snacks feature gluten-free, plant-based ingredients including almond flour, organic coconut sugar, organic coconut oil, coconut flour, organic flaxseed, and unsweetened oat milk. Products include Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies and Double Chocolate Brownies, as well as seasonal offerings such as Pumpkin Spice Cookies and Peppermint Brownies. Each single-serve pack contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
“Naturally, people tend to associate caffeine with drinks and liquids,” Chen says. “The entire Power Up Foods brand ethos is about rethinking energy and how we consume it.”
It’s especially portable, she says.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, counteracts the nervous effects of caffeine to provide sustained energy, she added.
Before launching Power Up Foods, Chen worked in finance and technology and relied on a few cups of coffee or matcha on busy days.
“I was eating cookies every afternoon anyway, so it was only a matter of time before a light bulb went off in my head saying, ‘Why don’t you combine daily caffeine with daily snacks,'” Chen said. “That’s how it all started. I needed an afternoon pick-up.”
After testing hundreds of recipes and gathering feedback from her colleagues, she launched her caffeinated Energy Bites last year.
“I knew I would regret missing this opportunity. I really believed there was a market for my product, so I quit my day job at the end of 2021 and have been working full-time ever since. she said.
She added brownies and cookies to her lineup earlier this year and phased out the original Energy Bites after moving production to contract manufacturers. It is also available in specialty stores and corporate offices. A self-proclaimed lifestyle retailer specializing in trendy and vintage goods, Urban Outfitters represents the largest brand retail account to date.
“My overarching vision for the brand was huge,” Chen said. “We want Power Up Foods to essentially replace the many cumbersome supplements and pills that people are taking with products that are good for them and taste great.”