Sisters Kristyn and Leanna Carriere have created an energy bar using ingredients anyone can understand


Alberta-based Kristyn Carriere hadn’t always planned to launch an energy bar company in Canada, but a tragic twist of fate—and what she believes to be a message from beyond—became the catalysts for what today is known as Seven Summits Snacks.

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Kristyn had been living in Birmingham, UK, with aspiring mountaineering partner Robin Fisher, when she awoke abruptly at 4 a.m. one morning having an epiphany.

“It’s called Seven Summits Snacks!” Kristyn remembers thinking as she sat up in bed and immediately began jotting down notes

At the same time Kristyn also realized Robin, if all had gone to schedule, had likely reached the summit of Mount Everest where he was climbing. Just hours later, Kristyn received news Robin had passed away shortly after reaching the summit at 8 a.m. on May 25, 2019.

“If you do the math, that was about the time I woke up with my wave of inspiration. Robin sent me a message and this company was officially born,” says Kristyn.

Kristyn then moved home to Canada to live with her sister Leanna Carriere. Kristyn notes, while she had the name and basic concept for the business, it was Leanna who spawned the initial product line as they chatted one evening over a good bottle of wine. Today the team also includes General Manager Jason Britton.

“This really started with my sister who was at a sports store shopping for a hiking trip and couldn’t find a chocolate bar that spoke to her as an athlete and health-conscious mom,” says Kristyn. “They didn’t even have a hiker or runner on the package. We just weren’t seeing ourselves and realized there was a gap in the market.”

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The sisters began to brainstorm, using their combined education and life experience as the basis for the brand. Not only does Kristyn have degrees in both Nutrition and Food Science and Consumer Science, but she also spent 10 years in Europe helping launch some of the world’s best known chocolate brands.

Meanwhile, Leanna is an elite triathlete, former national team pole vaulter, trainer, motivational speaker and busy mom. It was Leanna who first realized the gap in the market and understood the need for energy bars using ingredients anyone can understand.

As they began developing recipes, one of the first hurdles they wanted to overcome is the preconception that chocolate can’t be healthy.

“Some chocolate products are not the best and have been demonized because they’re full of fractionated sugars and syrups and fats that haven’t been ethically sourced, so they’re not necessarily good for you,” says Kristyn. “We wanted to make something with an ingredient line people can understand and that is deliciously tasty, not like that old Christmas chocolate you find in the back of grandma’s closet.”

Recipe development and tastings began.

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The Seven Summits Snacks team tried 30 different chocolates before settling on two and then started adding ingredients, such as honey, salt and superfoods, including goji and blueberries.

“There is actual science involved because you have to know how much honey to add so the bar still forms or salt to include so it’s acceptable to the consumer,” says Kristyn. “We also wanted to add extra benefits such as antioxidants and minerals. Then we had people test them and asked for their feedback.”

That market research and in-person consumer testing began in Fall 2019, with a second round scheduled for March 2020, but then Covid-19 brought those plans to a sudden halt.

“Everything was planned and ready to go, but in mid-March we got the order to stay home,” says Kristyn. “And we were like, okay, now how are we going to do this?”

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As many others did during the pandemic, the team regrouped and quickly came up with a Plan B, which included mailing bars out for consumer testing and collecting feedback online. Kristyn notes they not only collected data on taste and texture, but also how the bars appealed on an emotional level. 

Kristyn and Jason then completed a road trip across Alberta and B.C., speaking to people face-to-face about Seven Summits Snacks at running, cycling and hiking shops.

“During Covid, no one was answering their phones or their emails, so we really felt it was important to go and visit stores and introduce people to our products,” says Kristyn. “We visited 80 stores in eight days and we’re starting to see the benefits of that now.”

So, what’s next for Seven Summits Snacks?

“Our goal this year is to reach the community in Western Canada, then the Pacific Northwest and then east across Canada,” she says. “We want people to know we’re a company for people who enjoy life and we’ve created really tasty, purposeful products with ingredients they know will fuel them and allow them to enjoy the journey that they’re on.”

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This article was sponsored by Seven Summits Snacks

Founded in 2019 in memory to RH Fisher’s last adventure, Seven Summits Snacks has a passion for chocolate and health. We provide purposeful nutrition and satisfying chocolate products to get you through your next adventure. From indulgence to sport performance, we have chocolate snacks to fit your needs at different times of the day.