Grok ‘N Roll: Couple Introduces GrokBites to the Hudson Valley

Photo courtesy of Peter and Heidi Coates.

People can often find themselves too busy or distracted to consider what’s in the food they eat. For vegans, many snack foods are off limits: milk chocolate and honey are no-gos, and dairy and eggs don’t fly. It can make eating genuinely difficult for a college student without the time to cook a sit-down meal. This dilemma was, in part, what inspired GrokBites, a Hudson Valley healthy snack company started by Peter and Heidi Coates that specializes in vegan, gluten-free snack bars.

They started making GrokBites in the summer of 2015 after coming up with the idea while in Wales earlier that year, according to their website. They originally created GrokBites just for themselves as a healthy alternative to all of the fatty and sugary snack foods on the market. The bars became very popular among their friends, however, and soon they began to see a demand for a healthier on-the-go food that anyone can eat.

“We were doing this because many of our friends who are vegan said that they couldn’t get a good snack that they enjoyed, that was readymade, that they could go to the store and buy,” Heidi explained. “We saw a need for this. There was a hole in the market for that. We make it easier for people who are gluten-free or vegans to pick something up that’s already made, that’s wholesome. Oftentimes, vegans will fall back on bread products, if they’re not gluten-free, because they can’t grab something on the go. If they are gluten-free, then they really have a challenge.”

The name came from the 1961 science fiction novel “Stranger in a Strange Land,” in which Robert Heinlein uses the word “grok” to mean “to understand profoundly and intuitively.” True to that, GrokBites’ official slogan is “Deeper Understanding With Every Bite,” as Peter and Heidi both subscribe to the idea of understanding what we put into our bodies.

“GrokBites are made from absolutely 100 percent natural ingredients,” Peter said. “There’s no artificial anything in them. There’s no added sugars or syrups. They’re made from nuts and fruit, mainly dried fruit. We source our products very carefully so there are no artificial additives or anything like that. We tried to make something that’s really healthy, and full of natural, nice things, but with a taste almost more like a confectionary than a health bar.”

For Peter and Heidi Coates, the future of GrokBites looks bright, starting with a newer, better kitchen and some expanded business outside of the Hudson Valley, as Peter explained.

“We are just moving up in the world. We are going to a better kitchen just outside Woodstock, which will have the highest food quality and environmental certification. We are getting ready for next year, to start taking [GrokBites] out into what we hope will be bigger markets. We just got into the city in the last couple of months, which is great. We have high hopes for continuing to expand down there.”

GrokBites come in seven different flavors, with ingredients ranging from jalapeños to chocolate to nuts. For a partial list of locations carrying GrokBites, go to