Agood candy bar requires the perfect balance between crunchy, smooth and chewy; it has a decent coating of chocolate; and one bite should have you shoving the rest in your mouth. Wild Monkey Snacks’ mouthwatering bars not only meet, but exceed, this criterion.
The Boulder-based company, founded by couple Brooke Oliphant and John Campbell, first started selling bars at the Boulder County Farmers Market in June 2020. There, I had the honor of meeting Oliphant’s smile as she sold me my first Wild Monkey Snack. I felt malnourished and needed a boost. After my first bite, I couldn’t stop. I returned the weeks following to find their stand again and again.
Wild Monkey Snacks isn’t an ordinary candy bar — it’s the candy bar reimagined. Only whole-food ingredients make up the layers of crunchy granola, creamy cashew butter and a hardened layer of chocolate. Their salty-sweet bars are vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free and gluten-free (though not yet GF certified).
“We really wanted to make sure that we made a product that everyone can have, and no one felt singled out,” Oliphant shares.
Oliphant and Campbell hadn’t intended to sell their bars. They initially wanted to create something for themselves. After a long, unsuccessful outing, they found they didn’t crave any of the hiking snacks they brought and wanted an alternative.
“We felt there was nothing on the market that had super high calories, good fat, good protein and that we looked forward to,” Campbell explains. “And most of the things that we looked forward to were junk food like your classic candy bars. It was at this point we realized, why doesn’t a healthy version of these classic candy bars exist? And so that was the catalyst to start messing around in the kitchen.”
The couple never identified as cooks — it was willpower, determination, lots of research, trial and error and support from the Boulder community that allowed Wild Monkey Snacks to be created.
The company’s goals are two-fold: convince people that healthy food can taste great while persuading people that an outdoor, active and healthy lifestyle filled with good food is the key to happiness.
“We feel like we’re the best version of ourselves when we do all those things. We just really want to motivate and inspire people to be the best version of themselves as well,” Oliphant expresses.
This is especially evident on Wild Monkey Snacks’ Instagram. Daily stories show Oliphant and Campbell getting outside and motivating their followers, or “wild monkeys,” to get outside and move.
“We realized with Instagram, we were enjoying promoting that lifestyle to people almost more so than we were promoting that lifestyle to people almost more so than we were promoting the bar. If I can say one thing every day that convinces one person to go and try and better their life, then I have felt like I’m winning,” Campbell says.
Currently, Wild Monkey Snacks has 11 retailers and also ships on occasion. Find more information at wildmonkeysnacks.com and check out their Instagram @wildmonkeysnacks.
Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2021-22 issue.