Photo by Andrew Wigdor / News Editor
An MTSU student and the current president of the MTSU Phi Kappa Tau fraternity chapter has created an all-natural sleep supplement in the form of a granola bar in the hopes of providing a healthy alternative to over-the-counter medicines.
Colton Anderson, a senior studying finance, first began work on the Snooze Snack about four years ago with the help of his father, Troy Anderson.
“Me and my dad came up with this idea. We are just always trying to come up with stuff… We came up with this as an alternative to medications,” Anderson said. “It started out with just us in our kitchen doing research and studying. Originally, it was a very different bar.”
At first, Anderson and his father researched for a few weeks to find the ins and outs of the process, but that quickly turned into months of sitting in front of a computer reading studies and writings from medical professionals.
According to studies presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50 to 70 million adults living in the United States suffer from a type of sleep or wakefulness disorder such as insomnia. Another survey and study performed by the CDC in 2013 showed that approximately nine million people used prescription sleep aids between 2005 and 2010 in the United States.
Anderson explained that a high school friend of his, Travis Tanner, who works at the Omni Hotel in Nashville as a chef, recently assisted in improving the way that the granola bar is made.
“He was really experienced with food and all that. I approached him six or seven months ago,” Anderson said. “I said, ‘Hey, we’ve been working on this for years, and I understand the concept and the financial side of everything and the business, but I don’t know how to make the bar good.'”
After Tanner, who now works as the COO for the Snooze Snack product, improved the bar’s taste and structure, it went from an eight-ingredient product to a 16-ingredient product. According to Anderson, the new bar is much stronger in its medicinal effects than the original.
“Your body is going to process (the Snooze Snack) naturally,” Anderson said. “You’re going to take in components of food in a natural process to help you go to sleep… It’s an opportunity for people who have sleep problems to have a healthy alternative.”
Anderson explained that he wishes to be a business owner and entrepreneur in the future, and he hopes the Snooze Snack can help fuel his creativity and passion.
“I look at entrepreneurship as an art. So, I can’t paint. I’m not so good at music,” Anderson said. “So, I guess entrepreneurship is my art. This is something that I found that I can be artistic with and build.”
Anderson said that after his initial inspiration to follow his passion for entrepreneurship, he has begun to focus on how the Snooze Snack can help people who need it the most. Anderson is donating all sales through the month of May to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“I am focusing now on the people it’s helping, now that I have a product,” Anderson said. “I would love to continue to see this switch in culture where everybody is switching to an all-natural, organic supplement. I would love to see a switch in culture where people reach for a Snooze Snack rather than a ZzzQuil or Melatonin.”
In the CDC prescription sleep aid study performed in 2013, it was stated that a market research firm reported that sleep aid prescriptions among 18 to 25-year-old adults tripled from 1998 to 2006.
All sales and advertising of the Snooze Snack are currently through social media and email, but Anderson said the Snooze Snack website should be up within the next week.
For the past two weeks, Tanner and Anderson have been making and shipping Snooze Snacks as free samples to potential customers across the country.
“I mainly focused on states with an interest in an organic, all-natural food,” Anderson said.
Despite having limited ways to advertise the new product, Anderson said that he was very happy with the response that the samples have received thus far.
“One of my favorite stories so far was a guy who said he’s been taking Ambien for years,” Anderson said. “He sent me back an email that said, ‘I was really skeptical of this, but I was really surprised this is actually working. Where can I buy these?’”
Snooze Snack is very much a small business operation currently, but Anderson wishes to see it expand to something that can help a wider range of people and reach a wider range of customers.
“It’s really hard on people who do have real sleeping issues, and they are taking these medications, which are hard on their body, and they can get used to them,” Anderson said. “I want this product to be a large product to help people. I would like to make this into an entire brand. I would love to have a line of bars that offer stress relief and so many other things.”
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