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Reaching for a Bar

More Americans are grabbing food bars as meal replacements and snacks.
October 9, 2013

​LOS ANGELES – Bars are the new go-to food for busy Americans. From chocolate to gluten-free, vegan to nutty, granola to fiber, bars have slowly ascended to the pinnacle of the food pyramid, the Los Angeles Times reports. The only other food trend that’s bigger is the yogurt craze.

Around a fifth of all Americans will gobble up a bar on any given day, said Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NDP Group. “They're their own food group,” said Terry Walters, who has written cookbooks and advocates for natural foods.

Feeding the trend is the fact that bars come wrapped in a better-for-you aura—and many live up to that label. Walters compares bars to fast food—and some are not better for you than what you get from a drive-thru.

The appeal of bars “is a perfect reflection of where we are culturally,” added Mollie Katzen, another cookbook author. “Americans genuinely aspire to be healthier, genuinely aspire to push back against the modern Western diet, but they are not going to sacrifice taste and convenience,” said Shane Emmett, CEO of Health Warrior, maker of Chia Bars

While bars trace their humble beginning to the granola bars of the hippie era, now bars rack of more shelf space than ever. “It's not that we are snacking more; it's that we are taking snack foods and we're making them meals,” said Balzer.