UM entrepreneurs develop protein bar fit for dietary restrictions

Photo courtesy Grown Nutrition.
Sophomore Austin Farwell 
Sophomore Quade Kirby 

University of Miami sophomores and long-time gym enthusiasts Austin Farwell and Quade Kirby completed their search for the perfect protein bar by creating their own plant-based product called the Grown Bar.

After spending nearly an entire semester at UM researching and developing the nutrition bar, Farwell, who is currently undeclared, and Kirby, a civil engineering major, created their company – Grown Nutrition. The two entrepreneurs say part of their motivation to start the company was to provide people with a natural source of protein.

According to the founders, the Grown Bar is a product that is vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and peanut-free. It also contains 13 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of fiber that adds up to 200 calories. The two students are currently working with a manufacturer called YouBar Inc. to produce their product.

Farwell and Kirby originally decided to create Grown Nutrition and the Grown Bar after they observed their immediate friends living with dietary restrictions and food allergies that hindered them from leading an active lifestyle.

Photo courtesy Grown Nutrition.

“To us, working out and staying healthy are two extremely important things, and we wanted to make sure we were getting the best product possible,” Farwell said. “Our gluten, dairy, soy, and peanut-free bar allows everyone we know and love to enjoy a healthy, all-natural, incredible tasting bar full of protein and essential nutrients.”

The two never thought their idea would turn into the promising business that it is today. When they first conceived the idea, they were simply going to make small batches of protein bars for friends on campus at the university, but the dream turned into something a lot bigger.

“Austin and I have strived to make an awesome product that any person can read the ingredient list of and know exactly what they are eating – a healthy and flavorful bar made with only natural ingredients that is safe to eat,” Kirby said.

A prototype of the students’ nutrition bar. Photo courtesy Grown Nutrition. 

Constructing the healthiest protein bar possible was not always an easy feat for the students. They say the main struggle they faced was creating a tasty protein bar without packing it with sugar and artificial flavoring. The entrepreneurs also had to find time to experiment with different flavors and product designs while balancing schoolwork and gym workout schedules.

“Between Quade’s knowledge on nutrition and healthy foods and my business mindset, we are able to bring everyone a truly healthy product and successfully produce it,” Farwell said. “We ran with the idea and over time it developed into what it is today.”

UM sophomore and finance major Carter Hindle was able to taste one of the first Grown Bars, and he said the flavor amazed him.

“When I tried the bar, it tasted really good and it was surprising that it did not taste like a normal protein bar at all,” Hindle said. “It tasted so good that I would just eat the bars for fun.”

Initially self-funding the venture with savings from past jobs, Farwell and Kirby have recently launched a Kickstarter page to raise more money, take pre-orders to launch the product and order the first public batch from YouBar, who helped them develop the recipe. When Grown Nutrition is fully funded, the students will be able to place their first order and ship protein bars to customers in August 2017. The Grown Bar will be sold in boxes of 12.

For more information about Grown Nutrition and the Grown Bar, visit