Seeking to meet this demand for health and wellness bars, manufacturers have launched new varieties bolstered with protein, probiotics, and energy-boosting ingredients, along with bars geared toward ketogenic diets.
Protein-packed bars proliferated the market in the last 12 months.
In March, General Mills, Inc.’s Larabar brand launched protein bars featuring 11 grams of pea protein each. Flavors include almond butter chocolate brownie, apple cobbler, chocolate peanut butter cup and lemon blueberry muffin. General Mills also debuted Annie’s Cookie Dough Protein Bars in March. The bars are gluten-free with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. Flavors include chocolate peanut butter and peanut butter.
In June, Clif Bar & Co. launched Clif Whole Lotta Bars, made with fruit, nuts and seeds. The soft-baked bars provide 10 grams of protein each and are gluten-free, dairy-free, U.S.D.A. certified organic and non-G.M.O. Clif Whole Lotta Bars come in four varieties: tart cherry almond, salted dark chocolate, roasted peanut chocolate and spiced ginger almond.
Also in June, Glanbia P.L.C.’s Think! business added three new high-protein bar varieties to its lineup, including berries and creme, coconut cake and double caramel. The products contain 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar or less.
In October, Post Holdings, Inc.’s Premier Protein brand debuted a range of creamy layered bars with 20 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. Flavors include chocolate brownie, chocolate caramel, vanilla almond and chocolate peanut butter.
Probiotics were also prevalent in new bar launches this year.
Nestle S.A.’s GoodBe refrigerated bars, which debuted in March, are formulated with granola, yogurt, fruit, nuts and probiotics. Each bar contains 1 billion C.F.U.s (colony-forming units) of probiotics, 4 grams of protein and 220 to 230 calories. Flavors include strawberry, vanilla and blueberry.
Flapjacked, a maker of high-protein pancake mixes, in March introduced its first ready-to-eat product line. The Flapjacked Cookie Bar is a soft-baked nutrition bar with prebiotics, probiotics and 10 grams of protein per serving. Varieties include chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter and chocolate brownie.
Kind Healthy Snacks homed in on gut health with its new line of breakfast bars in July. Kind Breakfast Probiotics Bars contain 500 million C.F.U. probiotic cultures per serving and are made with a blend of 100% whole grains that includes oats, brown rice flour, millet, buckwheat and amaranth. The gluten-free bars contain 200 to 220 calories per two-bar serving and come in three varieties: apple cinnamon, orange cranberry and peanut butter dark chocolate.
New energy bars also have contributed to the growth of the health and wellness bar market.
In July, Quantum introduced Quantum Energy Squares, plant-based, coffee-infused energy bars made with almonds, peanuts, organic quinoa, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and coconut. Containing caffeine from organic green unroasted coffee that is equal to one espresso shot, the bars provide 10 grams of protein and contain 200 to 210 calories. The certified gluten-free, non-G.M.O. bars come in three flavors: peanut butter dark chocolate, caffe mocha almond chip and coconut almond chip.
BeBOLD refrigerated energy bars debuted in September, featuring nut butter, oats, dairy-free chocolate chips, wildflower honey, chia seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and dark maple syrup. Available in almond butter and peanut butter varieties, the gluten- and dairy-free bars provide 18 grams of whole grains each.
California prunes are the star of Fourpoints, a new energy bar that debuted in November and is designed to offer hours of sustained energy, the company said. The 2.5-oz bars provide 11 to 13 grams of protein and come in five flavors: Backcountry Banana Bread, Powder Day PB&J, Alpine Apple Pie, Mountain Mocha Espresso and Trailhead Gingerbread.
“California prunes have a low-glycemic index meaning a slower rise in blood sugar that increases satiety to delay hunger during exercise,” said Leslie Bonci, registered dietitian, sports nutrition expert and California Prune Board nutrition consultant. “This makes prunes an ideal energy source. California prunes deliver the nutritional clout of macros (carbohydrates and fiber), micros (vitamins and minerals), and phytos (polyphenols). They are neat little bites that add big taste delight.”
Bars made with keto-friendly ingredients also were trending in the recent year.
In August, Zeno Nutrition launched a new line of keto-friendly ZenoBars in three flavors: strawberry nut, almond nut and cocoa chip. Sweetened with allulose, ZenoBars are keto-friendly, vegan and gluten-free energy bars designed for consumers with low-glucose goals. The bars are made with a resistant dextrin binder made from organic tapioca and include plant-based ingredients such as almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder and strawberries. Each soy- and dairy-free bar provides 8 grams of fiber and contains 3 to 4 net carbs.
Think! debuted the new Think! Keto Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Bar in October. Packed with 10 grams of protein, the 1.41-oz bar contains 4 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of sugar and 180 calories. The gluten-free bar is sweetened with stevia leaf extract and erythritol and features peanut butter and peanut pieces enrobed in a thick layer of chocolate.