Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective – Riding a strong upward trend, Fat Badger bakes up a big winner for operators

March 24, 2021
A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business

The Product: Fat Badger Vegan Cookies

By Bob Tullio

About two years ago, David Bader, the founder and owner of Fat Badger Bakery, decided to focus on vegan cookies exclusively. The February announcement by Nestlé that a vegan KitKat bar would be released later this year, certainly helps to validate Bader’s decision.

“When they start making vegan KitKats, we know that we are in a segment of the market that is moving in the right direction,” said Gretchen Dossa, general manager of Fat Badger.

Surging Demand

The demand for vegan products is riding a strong upward trend. According to Grand View Research, the global vegan food market size was valued at $12.69 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.6% to at least 2025.

Understanding the opportunity

The first question I asked Gretchen Dossa: “A lot of people out there, including myself, have no idea what vegan really means. Can you help me understand that?”

“Vegan means no animal products or byproducts, which everyone associates with no meat, no dairy, no eggs,” Dossa said. “Then you get into more complicated items, like no honey and the way the sugar is processed. There are a lot of different things you have to know about, which is why we became vegan certified by,” she added.

No eggs, no butter?

My second question: How can these cookies taste this great without eggs or butter?

“We use fantastic ingredients, only the best and it makes a difference,” Dossa said. “Too often, vegan cookies taste processed or too sweet. We bake the best vegan cookies that we have ever tasted.”

Some of the ingredients that make Fat Badger cookies taste so good include Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, natural, high-quality oats, nuts, dried and pureed fruits. Spices used in its cookies are sourced locally whenever possible.

Our Taste Test

As a self-declared expert on all things that taste great – I was very pleased by the flavor, the texture and the wide variety of cookies that are available from Fat Badger. Defining characteristic: Not overly rich, not overly sweet, but certainly an indulgent treat.

Bob’s Favorites – Chocolate Mint, Toasted Coconut

Wife Peg’s Favorites – Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Bean

We enjoyed the other four flavors, as well – Sweet Raspberry, Cinnamon Sugar, Oatmeal Chip and Chocolate Sea Salt.

Success and Growth

Fat Badger Cookies are a big hit in the vegan community, a prominent item in the very popular Purple Carrot subscription box. “We have done great on college campuses, where young kids are very mindful of their food selections,” Dossa said. “Our cookies are individually wrapped, perfect for any grab-and-go location.

“Beyond the college campus, looking at our statistics, our best customers are 24- to 30-year-old consumers, the core of the new workplace,” she added. “That is why we know these cookies will generate tremendous sales in vending and especially micro markets.”

What’s in a name?

The founder, David Bader, is a proud Wisconsin “cheesehead.” A University of Wisconsin alum, a Badger. The company’s mascot, displayed on its website and packaging, is an animated, fat badger, who loves to devour their cookies.

With Fat Badger’s sales up 40% over last year, that little mascot is not alone.

Bob’s Perspective: Why Fat Badger makes sense for operators

Consumer DemandThis company started out making kosher cookies in 2016. While that concept was working out well for them, consumer demand, direct requests from customers, caused them to change direction and focus exclusively on making quality vegan cookies. There are plenty of vegans who would love to find some delicious offerings in their workplace micro markets or vending machines.

Growth – Fat Badger’s 40% growth is off the charts. The vegan market is also growing steadily. As more mainstream manufacturers are developing vegan products, this is not a market segment to ignore.

Feels Better for You – While this might not be a classic “better-for-you” product, it feels like it is. Fat Badger’s dedication to quality and natural ingredients, along with the positive connotation that comes with “vegan,” makes the product a success with consumers who are mindful about their snacking choices. The product is already being “devoured” by Gen Z and Millennials, who are taking over workplaces.

Satisfying the Underserved – As a micro market operator, any time you can find a product that will bring in new customers and new dollars, it is a big win. Fat Badger Vegan Cookies will make an underserved segment of the workplace very happy – especially if the decision-maker happens to be a vegan. Imagine that? Fat Badger Vegan Cookies will be a big success in micro markets and will certainly do well in the right vending locations.

The Logistics Work 

  • The cookies are baked to order, shipped the same day and will arrive either refrigerated or frozen.
  • Shelf life is 14 days after thaw, more than a month if refrigerated. That is the trend right now in retail for natural, premium deserts. Stores like Whole Foods keep them in the refrigerated section. Operators should do the same.
  • The product is fetching premium retail prices, from $1.75 to $2.50, with a product cost under $1.

Highly Promotable – This is a product that will shine in taste tests and generate attention in sales presentations. We loved the cookies. There are rave reviews on social media. When you introduce the product, do it with sampling, make it part of a grand opening (or-reopening) and watch the new sales happen.

For more information on Fat Badger Vegan Cookies, contact Karim Dossa, head of sales, at 267 362-5326 x150 or [email protected].


Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio ( is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio recently launched a YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in two minutes” and is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.

As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.


[Photo: Sara Lee]
Sara Lee Mini Cheesecakes are now available to micro market operators in plain and salted caramel varieties; a strawberry flavor is coming soon. For more information, call (513) 310-9004.

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A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business