Loosen Up!

The Big Chill

What: Frozen nutrition bars
Who: Collin Madden of Cold Fusion Foods Inc.
Where: Culver City, California
When: Started in 1999

If you've ever tasted a standard protein shake, you'll understand why the often sandy, tasteless concoction doesn't exactly inspire cravings for the stuff. For Collin Madden, an avid runner, the process of concocting his own protein shakes with ice to give them a better taste led to an epiphany: Why not take the nutritional value of a power bar or shake and make it frozen and delicious? Leaving his job as an investment banker, Madden invested his savings in launching Cold Fusion.

"Our biggest key is getting people to taste it. Some people look at the ingredients, [and] they're like 'Wow, this is too healthy-it can't taste good,' " says Madden, 30, who created the product with help from nutritionists and food technologists to ensure it actually tasted good. The bars, which contain all-natural fruit juices and whey protein, are also fortified with antioxidant vitamins, which aid in muscle recovery. Launched in 2000--in flavors such as Berry Blast, Key Lime and Chocolate--they've become popular at Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader Joe's stores, as well as many regional grocery stores throughout California, Illinois and Texas. Year-end sales are projected to hit $3 million.

Though Cold Fusion broke new ground as the first frozen nutritional product, Madden hopes the bars will become staples for fitness-conscious consumers, dieters and people interested in healthy snacking.

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This article was originally published in the June 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Loosen Up!.

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