The latest trend in bar manufacturing is creating clean, wholesome products that deliver on taste.

Clean and healthy living is a goal shared by many consumers today. Not surprisingly, many of them are turning to bars as a healthful snack or nutritional supplement. “Consumers are demanding foods that are healthier and more nutritious …which has led consumers to be more responsive to ‘all-natural’ and ‘organic’ products,” states Greg Taylor, president of Liberty Orchards Co. Inc.

The Cashmere, Wash.-based company is the creator of Orchard Bars, all-natural fruit-, nut- and seed-based bars. Liberty’s current offering of Orchard Bars includes Blueberry Pomegranate and Almond, Pineapple Coconut and Macadamia, Strawberry Raspberry and Walnut, Cherry Almond Crunch and Banana Mango Macadamia varieties. Apricot Peanut Crunch and Concord Grape Peanut Crunch will join the line this year.

“We have tried to create a delicious, nutritious snack bar that has broad appeal to all consumers looking for something better, more wholesome,” Taylor says.

Taste and nutrition are key factors for Quaker Foods’ bar products.

“Granola bars are a great snack to satisfy consumers’ desire for taste, nutrition and convenience,” notes Julie Saliba, marketing senior director for the Chicago-based company. “At Quaker, we are committed to delivering products that offer the great taste and wholesome oat-based ingredients they have come to expect from the Quaker brand.”

The company recently introduced its Big Chewy bar, a 42-g. snack bar that offers at least 13 g. of whole grains per serving. The bar is available in Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and contains no high fructose corn syrup.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their snack bar choices and are turning to a range of portable snack options for a balance of great taste, nutrition and convenience,” adds Saliba.

In response to consumer choices, Quaker added two new bars to its product line: Quaker Chewy Yogurt Granola Bars; and Quaker Soft Baked Bars.

“Each Quaker Chewy Yogurt Bar is made with real fruit pieces, provides at least 12 g. of whole grains and offers a good source of calcium,” says Saliba. The bars are available in three flavors—Strawberry, Blueberry and Vanilla.

“Quaker Soft Baked Bars combine the taste of your favorite baked goods with wholesome ingredients that provide nutritious energy to help fuel your day,” Saliba continues. Available in Cinnamon Pecan Bread and Banana Nut Bread, the bars offer 6 g. of protein at 140 calories per serving.

Tasty and clean

Delivering on taste while creating a clean-label product is a big trend among bar manufacturers. KIND Healthy Snacks, New York, N.Y., is one company responding to this trend.

“More and more of today’s consumers are voicing a demand for lower sugar snacking options,” states John Leahy, president. “And while our line of KIND whole-nut and fruit bars contains only a moderate amount of natural sugars found in fruits and honey, we also wanted to expand to meet the needs of consumers looking to lower their sugar intake even further.”

The new KIND Nuts & Spices line fulfills this consumer request with each bar offering 5 g. of sugar or less. “KIND Nuts & Spices is the first in the category to provide consumers with a delicious, natural way to control sugar intake and meet daily protein and fiber needs without using chemicals or sugar alcohols,” states Leahy. Options include Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt, Cashew and Ginger Spice, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan and Madagascar Vanilla Almond.

KIND also manufactures more fruit-focused bars in its line of Fruit & Nut Bars. Consumers can choose from Fruit & Nut Delight, Almond & Apricot, Nut Delight, Apple Cinnamon & Pecan, Almond & Coconut, Peanut Butter & Strawberry, Almonds & Apricots in Yogurt and Fruit & Nuts in Yogurt.

“Because KIND is first and foremost a healthy snack, rather than a diet bar, energy bar, nutrition bar, etc., it appeals to a wide array of consumers, including anyone who is looking for a healthy on-the-go bite that tastes delicious and will fill them up,” Leahy adds.

If consumers are interested in adding a little more than fruits and nuts to their diets, they can turn to KIND Plus Bars in Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, Blueberry Pecan + Fiber, Almond Walnut Macadamia + Protein, Pomegranate Blueberry Pistacio + Antioxidants, Almond Cashew with Flax + Omega3 and Mango Macadamia + Calcium.

On the down low

Low-sugar bars are a big focus of InBalance Health Corp. The Wayland, Mich.-based company’s INBar was created for people living with type 2 diabetes and those with weight-loss or glucose-management goals.

“The bars are free of dangerous chemicals and artificial sweeteners and offer balanced, whole-food nutrients that will fill up consumers for hours,” says Dr. Don VerHulst, chief science officer. “We initially targeted the diabetes community and also noted that the bar is healthful for anyone committed to living a healthy lifestyle.”

INBar comes in four varieties: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, Cherry Chocolate and Strawberry Banana. Not only are the bars high in protein and fiber and low in sugar, they are also completely free of wheat, corn, soy, nuts and eggs, making them completely allergen-free.

Another company cutting down the sugar in its bars is Health Warrior, Richmond, Va. The Health Warrior Chia Bars have only 5 g. of sugar and come in 100-calorie servings, but what’s really unique about these bars is the incorporation of chia seeds.

“We believe these are disruptive bars in an otherwise crowded category—they are truly different from the rest of the bar set, placing the mighty chia seeds front and center,” reports Shane Emmet, CEO. Chia Bars come in Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut and Acai Berry.

Gluten-free, “all-natural” and nonGMO bars are the focus of Bella Bar Co., Girard, Ohio. The company recently launched its Athena Bar line, which consists of Blueberry, Pumpkin Spice and Pomegranate/Acai varieties.

“This bar contains 40 antioxidants, probiotics, Omega 3 and two full servings of fruits and vegetables and is covered in a delicious Greek yogurt coating,” states Bob Ripple, market development. “Our Athena line will be attractive to moms because it is an easy way to get kids to eat a lot of nutrients.”

Bella Bar also offers two raw bars, Cinnamon Nut and Chocolate Nut, which are made with all-natural ingredients. Premium ingredients are a large focus for manufacturers of all-natural bars. Consumers are searching for products with a shorter ingredient list, so the ingredients need to be outstanding.

Rise Bar, Irvine, Calif., also creates a variety of bars that meet this demand. “Rise Bars provide wholesome energy and nutrition from unprocessed nuts, fruit and seeds,” says Peter Spenuzza, CEO. “In addition, Rise Bars are all-natural, vegetarian and kosher and free of gluten, preservatives, GMOs, soy and peanuts, making them a convenient choice for any consumer.”     

Rise Bar has a bar to fit almost any consumer need. The Rise Breakfast Bar is an option for on-the-go people who can’t afford to miss out on the most important meal of the day. The dairy-free bars come in Crunchy Cashew Almond, Crunchy Cranberry Apple, Crunchy Honey Walnut, Crunchy Macadamia Pineapple and Crunchy Perfect Pumpkin.

For consumers looking to add a little energy to their days, the Rise Energy+ Bar is a convenient option available in Apricot Goji, Blueberry Coconut, Cherry Almond, Coconut Acai and Raspberry Pomegranate.

The company also manufactures the Rise Protein+ Bar in Almond Honey and Crunchy Carob Chip. These bars are made with five ingredients or less and boast 17 g. of protein.

Earnest Eats, Solano Beach, Calif., has also noticed a rise in the all-natural ingredients trend. “We have seen this interest in whole-food ingredients grow to encompass ‘ingredients of discovery’ as well—exotic grains, fruits, nuts and seeds from around the world that are historically significant—which provide both an intriguing story and nutritional punch,” says Andrew Aussie, president and founder. “Serving this ‘ingredient of discovery’ trend, we have launched a line of superfood granola bars, Earnest Eats Chewy Granola Bars.”

The Chewy Granola Bars come in Dark Chocolate Almond, Power Grains and Flax and Superfood Trail Mix, which contains pomegranate, cranberries and almonds. “Our new Chewy Granola Bars have only 140 calories and about one-third less sugar than traditional granola bars, providing a healthier option appreciated by dieters, moms and healthy eaters looking for more nutritious, lower-sugar options that still taste delicious,” says Aussie.

Earnest Eats also offers two other bar lines, Baked Whole Foods and Granola Planks. The Whole Foods Bars are available in Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond Trail Mix, Cran Lemon Zest, Apple Ginger, Dark Chocolate Mint and Double Chocolate Espresso. The Granola Planks come in Maple Almond Crunch, Pomegranate Walnut Crisp and Blueberry Vanilla Crackle.

Clean labels, low sugar and simple ingredients are all what’s trending in bar production. Manufacturers are incorporating these trends, while creating innovative, healthful and tasty products.