Energy/Nutrition bars get a boost

Cereal and the energy bar makers are drawing product innovation inspiration from each other these days, and the tactic seems to be working out well, reports Candy Industry. Food bar sales reached $5.7 billion in 2011, according to Food Bars in the U.S., a March Packaged Facts report, up from $5.3 billion in 2010.


Although the report classifies food bars into two categories -- cereal/granola bars and energy/nutrition bars -- it notes the distinction between them is blurring. Specifically, cereal/granola bars focus more on incorporating nutritional and functional ingredients (such as added protein or fiber), while energy/nutrition bars focus on adding decadent formulations to make their products more appetizing.


Cereal/granola manufacturers target consumers looking for a workout energy boost, a nutritious snack, or a fast meal substitute. Sales of cereal bars with reduced calories, fat or sugar have risen, although the number of products introduced with those claims has decreased in the past five years.


New flavors and ingredients are being used to improve both the taste and texture in the Energy/nutrition bar category. Among the functional ingredients manufacturers are using to vary the nutrition bar formula are CoQ10, L-carnitine, omega-3, resveratrol, and vitamin K2.


New products have spurred grown, and the category also has benefited from an ever-hazy line between meals and snacks as well as consumers looking for spur-of-the moment eating options and easy ways to manage portion control.


As for the future, manufacturers are looking to create products to restore nutrition lost in weight-loss programs, while other food bar introductions have high-protein, low-carbohydrate or balanced-gastrointestinal formulations.