Andre Agassi's latest business venture sounds like a win-win situation. Box Buddies gives kids a healthier snack option, and all proceeds go to the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
"It's weird how things end up in life," Agassi said Monday with the official launch of the product. "I had no interest in another business. First of all, I'm never going to sell anything in a grocery store for a business profit -- that's not what I need. But bringing awareness to having a healthier lifestyle and having a revenue stream for education through this brand, that's something that can be productive."
This new single-serving line of apple sauce, granola bars and milk (cheese coming soon) is a partnership between V20 Foods and Agassi's Foundation, which has raised nearly $200 million since its inception in 1994. The Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter Academy just opened this month, becoming the first charter school in Michigan to be funded through the Canyon Agassi investment initiative for social change.
Although Agassi is excited to introduce Box Buddies, which is available in 800 stores nationwide with plans of reaching another 1,200, he understands that it is hardly a cure-all for health issues such as childhood obesity.
"Real health is about real knowledge of a well-balanced lifestyle," he said. "It's part of a much broader message. You're not going to get real health from any product off the shelf. But maybe through this, it gives parents some awareness and gets them going in the right direction."
The ultimate test of whether Box Buddies can last comes down to taste. If kids don't like it, the product is going to be in trouble.
Agassi took a pre-emptive step by having his kids and their friends do taste tests during development. For example, early in the process, his daughter Jaz, who turns 10 next month, tried a granola bar that seemed to have more chocolate than granola. It was a normal choice for a kid, but looks, in this case, were deceiving.
"She spit it out, so we moved on," he says. "She was then more reluctant to try more, but things got better."
There's no getting around the fact that kids like soda and junk food because they taste good. That's where Box Buddies must distinguish itself.
"First, you have to get parents to buy it," Agassi said. "But they're not going to buy it again, if it doesn't deliver."