A bright yellow and white box “smiles” at you from the grocery store shelf. Inside, seven chocolate multigrain chewy granola bars are wrapped in smiling royal purple and yellow individual packaging.
This could be the friendliest line of snacks ever.
Andre Agassi’s Box Budd!es is a line of lunchtime snacks that have smiley designs on the packaging. The snacks include peachy apple fruit pouches, low-fat chocolate or vanilla milk, apple cinnamon fruit pouches and chocolate chip multigrain chewy granola bars.
They’re sold in more than 1,000 grocery stores in the United States and are slated for about 2,000 as the product rollout continues. The snacks have been on grocery store shelves for a while with no marketing behind them to ease them into the marketplace and build a solid distribution chain.
The snacks are a result of a partnership between the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and V20 Foods, a private-label food manufacturing company based in Birmingham, Mich. But this partnership isn’t for profit, at least not on Agassi’s side.
No, there’s a new Newman’s Own in town so to speak: “We can maybe build one heck of a brand here, because I’m willing to part with 100 percent of the proceeds,” said Andre Agassi, chairman and founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
With Newman’s Own, people buy the brand because they know their money is going to a good cause, even if they don’t exactly know where, Agassi said.
Through his foundation, Agassi created a specific fund for Box Budd!es proceeds. All of the money will be redirected back into the community from where it came to be earmarked for something to benefit education.
“That’s going to become the biggest marketing tool of it all,” Agassi said.
He said he hopes to eventually move products into other areas of the grocery store, although no specific product types are on the table.
Box Budd!es are distributed by Phoenix-based Hall of Fame Holdings, a company that partners superstar athletes with products.
The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education operates the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, which provides underserved children in Las Vegas with a first-class K-12 education.
The foundation is thriving, Agassi said. Its portfolio is strong and gives him the opportunity to focus on driving more money inside the classrooms because he doesn’t need to get out and raise money. He said that as long as the foundation maintains discipline with expenses and continues to grow organically, it will thrive.
To date, the foundation is responsible for opening 27 charter schools across the country. Agassi said he will come close to doubling that number next year.
The snacks aren’t meant to only provide funds for the foundation. They provide kids with healthy snacks that also taste good. To that end, Agassi taste-tested them with his own children, nieces and nephews and his son’s baseball team.
“We wanted it real-life,” Agassi said. “We wanted it to be something firsthand that a child would enjoy.”
He also wants the snacks to be sold on a larger stage. He has taken meetings with bigger outlets such as Wal-Mart and Costco but said those are “slow-moving opportunities that we hope to achieve.” Box Budd!es are sold at supermarkets including Albertson’s, Jewel, Acme, Farm Fresh and Cub Stores.
Each 3.17-ounce fruit pouch has 60 calories, zero fat, 11 grams of sugar and zero sodium. The chocolate granola bars have 90 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 15 mg of sodium and 5 grams of sugar. The single-serve milks don’t have to be refrigerated and are available in low-fat, vanilla or chocolate.
“I have what I need in life and I’m trying to figure out ways to help,” Agassi said.
He encouraged Las Vegans to show support so that he can scale this project and raise more money for education. For product updates, visit www.agassiboxbuddies.com.