The energy bar tells the story of a nation obsessed with food.


The energy bar tells the story of a nation obsessed with food.

Homer Simpson wanted to take shape. His son was ashamed of his performance in the church flag contest, so he began a campaign to regain his pride. One night in kwik-e-mart, he discovered what he thought was his secret weapon: Powersauce. It is widely touted as the ultimate sporting fuel for consumers to “use apple’s power”. Soon they were the only thing Homer could eat, and without them they would lose their strength. Finally, when he tried to climb the city’s highest mountain, Homer was told they were “apple cores and old Chinese newspapers”.

This isn’t to say that all the energy, protein and dietary alternatives are imaginary simpsons marketing trivia, but they can all change. Whatever you want, they not only provide, but they also provide the whole. Want a lot? They have all the proteins you need. Want to lose weight? Eat one. Don’t eat. Want to eat clean? They have no additives, they’re basically just fruit. Bars are mirrors: they reflect all our cultural obsession and anxiety about food. They combine all our nutritional hopes and fears.

Like memory foam and don, the first energy bar was an astronaut. Pearce berry created the “space food bar” in the 1960s and went into space with a long shelf life and no refrigeration. “American fitness culture,” says natalia petrozela, a post-war historian at the new university. In 1970, pearce berry applied for the space bar label, then repackaged it and labeled it a “nutritionally balanced snack.”

“What I think is really interesting is that this is a moment in the history of American food when there was an incredible fascination with space and laboratory food,” Petrzela said. Canned food is considered a clean and sterile substitute for fresh vegetables. The convenience of prepackaged food means that women rely less on the kitchen. “At the time, there was a big marketing and said, ‘this is what scientists do in the lab. This is considered the frontier of the food culture. ”

Space food bars have disappeared from the market as the space program has disappeared from the government’s attention. According to Petrzela, the energy bars we now know didn’t appear until 1986, when Canadian marathon runner Brian Maxwell founded PowerBar. “I’m creating a perfect energy bar to help athletes survive long distances without running out of glycogen,” maxwell said. Maxwell said he and his wife provided marathon runners with products to make a profit after the race. He eventually sold it to nestle in 2000 for $375 million.

When PowerBar appeared in the late 1980s, Petrzela said the bar was sold as fuel for athletes, but they quickly moved beyond mainstream food and fast food culture. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to eat a PowerBar, but doing so allows you to emulate it in your daily life. Paddy Spence, President of spencer information services, told the New York times in 1997: “it’s like yogurt from 30 years ago – only healthy nuts. It is now a staple food. ”

Soon, like the Cleveland bar, balance muscle and bar competitors into space, and as a healthy and/or dynamic marketer of their own, don’t know what they’re looking for other than “healthy” searches. In a 1997 interview with the New York times, maxwell derided the cliff as “basically the nutritional value of an all-weather cookie” (which was itself the healthy food boom of the time). He also came to the Balance Bar, where he was accused of “trying to solve it quickly”.

By the late 1990s and early 2000s, energy bars had infiltrated mainstream diets and marked a shift toward more diverse sales and sales. In addition, this is starting to happen across gender lines, such as sales of Clif Bar and Quest Nutrition Bar to men, fuel for exercise, such as ThinkThin, and Weight Watchers and Zone Weight loss bars sold by women to reduce Weight. Petrzela lists common marketing phrases such as “it makes you feel full” or “it’s the amount of calories and fat you need” or “these parts are pre-made so there’s no speculation or temptation”. “This is the framework of the female diet culture, and it’s important to [note] that this is not really the male framework.

If energy bars reflect their times and anxious food trends, modern “bars” will be used as a whole, without “real” food packaging for sale – it must be an overturned package, a durable bar, at any time for you.

Petrzela refers to the currently popular RxBar, a “whole food protein bar,” which has a bold white font on plastic packaging: “three white, six almonds, four cashews, two dates, NO BS. Rival laba also stressed its “trace, pure ingredients”, which are usually a mix of cinnamon or peanut butter and cashews. “Deal with it as much as possible and as close to the natural state as possible,” Larabar assured clients on its website. The popular KIND bar mission statement says that the people behind the brand “believe that if you cannot pronounce, you should not enter your body”, which marks the “essence” of pure components and also assumes that customers can pronounce more than four syllables. These three brands are far from PowerBar’s maltodextrin and powdered protein.


“You can close all the American boxes,” Petrzela said of modern rotation. “But since the 1960s, you’ve also been able to quickly address the need for pubs.”

Quick fix: now focus on energy. This is not an unreasonable solution to modern problems. Sometimes consumers need nutritious snacks between meals. Sometimes buying a bar in a wine cellar can be a more pressing pursuit. For many people who don’t offer a real lunch, pre-packaged snacks can be the cheapest option.


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