Ingredient labels don’t get much simpler than this.
Radio and television airwaves are teeming with advertisements for new food products made from “ingredients you can pronounce,” but what about ingredients you can count on one hand? Whether it’s by removing gums, preservatives, or other ingredients, many packaged food brands today are working to simplify ingredient lists to the extreme. That’s especially true when it comes to nutrition bars.
For instance, snacks brand Larabar has begun promoting a “Food Made From Food” message in its latest advertising campaign, which highlights the minimal ingredient lists found on its nutrition bars. The Larabar Cashew Cookie Bar (pictured above) contains only two ingredients: dates and cashews.
Here are five other snack bars with five ingredients or less.
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All of Keep Healthy’s 36 nutrition bars have fewer than 12 ingredients, but it’s the brand’s Pecan Date Bar and Cashew Date Bar that really simplify things. Both of the bars have just two ingredients: dates and pecans or dates and cashews.
While it took some time to formulate the bars without the many preservatives used in conventional nutrition bars, such as ascorbic acid, Keep Healthy was eventually able to get its bars down to just the essentials.
“We knew how delicious real, whole foods tasted and didn’t want to ruin it by adding tons of chemicals and processed ingredients that you can barely pronounce into the mix,” explained Lauren Bongiorno, product development for Keep Heathy.
You may notice one other thing from the image above of Keep Healthy’s Pecan Date Bar: an ingredient list on the front of the package. That’s just one more perk of a brief ingredient list that may appeal to customers looking for transparent food labeling.
Image provided by Keep Healthy.
Rise Bar offers several protein bars with five ingredients or less, but the star of the lineup may be its three-ingredient Almond Honey Protein Bar. Billed as “the simplest protein bar,” the bar combines almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate to deliver 20 g of protein.
What’s the key to working with a minimal ingredient list? Selecting functional ingredients, says Laura Setzfand, vice president of sales and marketing for Rise Bar.
“We avoid the need for lots of binders, preservatives, and emulsifiers by carefully selecting ingredients that deliver multiple benefits in addition to being great tasting and nutritionally dense,” says Setzfand.
Honey, for example, plays several functional roles in Rise Bar’s Almond Honey, Snicker Doodle, Cacao Banana, and Carob Chip bars. Beyond its sweet taste, honey is also a preservative and binder, not to mention a good source of potassium, Setzfand explains. And in Rise Bar’s vegan bars, Lemon Cashew and Sunflower Cinnamon, coconut nectar serves as a binder, sweetener, and prebiotic fiber all in one.
Image provided by Rise Bar.
Pressed by KIND
Perhaps the newest addition to this list is the Pressed by KIND nutrition bars from KIND. The bars, which will hit retails shelves this August, each contain fewer than five ingredients. And two of the bars contain just three ingredients, all of which can be found in the bar names: Cherry Apple Chia and Mango Apple Chia.
Without preservatives, added sugars, and binding ingredients, the bars are more sensitive to light, oxygen, and moisture than other nutrition bars. But KIND was able to address these issues and ensure a 12-month shelf life thanks to special packaging.
“The metalized film in this packaging protects the integrity of the ingredients and helps to ensure the best product quality possible while maximizing shelf life,” Joe Cohen, senior vice president of communications at KIND, told Nutritional Outlook when the products first launched. “The packaging also makes it possible for us to avoid adding artificial ingredients and fillers, and it even has an extra layer added to avoid stickiness.”
Image provided by KIND.
Kit's Organic from CLIF
Named after Kit Crawford, co-owner of Clif Bar & Company, several of the CLIF Kit’s Organic bars contain just four ingredients.
The Kit’s Organic Cashew Fruit and Nut Bar, for instance, contains organic dates, organic cashews, organic almonds, and sea salt. It’s a similar story for the Peanut Butter Fruit and Nut Bar, made from organic dates, organic peanuts, organic almonds, and sea salt.
All of the CLIF Kit’s Organic bars feature 100% organic fruit and seeds and carry the USDA Organic seal. While the other nutrition bars in the Kit’s Organic range contain more than four ingredients, such as the Dark Chocolate Chili Almond Fruit and Nut Bar, none of the bars have more than ten ingredients.
Image provided by Clif Bar & Company.
This brand’s name says it all. Nine flavors of That’s It fruit bars contain just two ingredients.
Lior Lewensztain, founder and CEO of That’s It, says he was inspired to create an easier way for consumers to meet their daily servings of fruit. That’s why all of these That’s It bars combine apple with one other fruit ingredient, such as apricot, banana, blueberry, cherry, coconut, mango, pear, pineapple, or strawberry.
“We knew that keeping the ingredients down to two was the top priority and we were able to achieve that,” Lewensztain said. “It is hard to be this simple but we created a product that maintains the integrity of the ingredients.”
Image provided by That's It.