Raising the Bar

School Nutrition Review
June/July 2012 purba-ray.com

Granola Gourmet’s 4Real™ Energy Bars are low glycemic energy granola bars that can be marketed, in particular, to student athletes, diabetic students or any student with glycemic concerns while being enjoyed by all customers. The 4Real bars are made with whole grains and are available in Ultimate Berry, Mocha Fudge, Fudge Brownie and Cran-Orange varieties. Each bar is individually wrapped for grab ‘n’ go convenience.

Bars With a Burst

by Rajiv Leventhal
Vitamin Retailer
June 2012

Alternative energy sources, such as energy bars, provide a convenient way to meet an individual’s nutritional needs on an occasional basis, according to www.Fitness.com. A person with a busy lifestyle may decide to eat an energy bar instead of skipping a meal or eating fast food. Energy bars also make an appropriate snack for a long-distance walk, run or bicycle ride to help avoid an energy deficit. Since energy bars do not require utensils, preparation or refrigeration, people can store them in the car, gym bag or carry-on luggage for a quick snack or occasional meal replacement.

Aside from providing needed energy during a long workout, energy bars can suffice as an occasional meal-substitute. Most energy bars contain some vitamins and minerals, and they tend to be more nutritious than a candy bar, a bag of chips or nothing at all. Those that contain nuts, seeds and whole grains offer a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

And sales have been energized as well. According to Nutrition Business Journal, the value of the Sports Nutrition and Weight Loss (SNWL) market was up by nearly $2 billion in 2010, showing a sales increase of nine percent over the previous year. In the past 13 years, the SNWL market has seen a remarkable compound growth rate of 10.2 percent.

Further, a recent Packaged Facts report stated that in the energy/nutrition bar category, new flavor and ingredient introductions along with improvements in taste and mouth-feel have made the future of these products look a lot more interesting. Manufacturers are targeting broader consumer dietary needs, including new nutrient options, and leaving out problem ingredients. Among the functional ingredients that manufacturers are using to vary the nutrition bar formula are CoQ10, L-carnitine, omega-3, resveratrol and vitamin K2. Below are a few examples of energy bars that are available on the market today.

Low-Glycemic Energy Bars
Granola Gourmet (Santa Clarita, CA) 4Real Energy Bars are clinically proven to be low glycemic, and are therefore ideal for people with diabetes, athletes or anybody interested in stable, sustained blood-sugar levels, the company stated. They have been tested on people with type 2 diabetes to determine their glycemic index (GI) value by scientists at GI Labs, who developed the concept of the glycemic index. On a scale where a GI of 70 or more is considered high GI and 55 or less is low GI, Granola Gourmet’s Energy Bars had GI values of only 19 to 25. The bars come in four flavors (Ultimate Berry, Mocha Fudge, Fudge Brownie and Cran-Orange) and are free of wheat and dairy, are very low in sodium, and are kosher and vegan.

Dr. David Katz

Medical & Nutrition Expert
Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center

“Granola Gourmet beautifully demonstrates that those with, and at risk for diabetes, can have their snack bars and control their blood sugar, too! The low glycemic properties of these bars is highly commendable. Those with diabetes, like everyone else, should be able to love foods that love them back- and Granola Gourmet helps demonstrate that’s possible.”

Joel Harper

NYC Celebrity Personal Trainer
Clients Ranging from Dr. Oz to Olympic Medalists

“As a personal trainer, rarely do I come across a company whose mission matches mine so closely! I can wholeheartedly recommend Granola Gourmet. In addition to the delicious taste, Granola Gourmet’s Low Glycemic Energy Bars fit in with my busty lifestyle. They give me the sustained energy throughout the day that I need to keep up with my triathlon training and all my workouts. I recommend them to my clients all of the time.”

Granola Gourmet

by Kyle Dodel
Food Review 101
February 9, 2012

We like to balance out the bad food we review with some healthier items like nutrition bars, and today that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing. While searching the internet for new products to try we stumbled across Granola Gourmet who produces “a delicious variety of 100% natural, low Glycemic energy bars”. While it might be difficult to find them at an actual store near you, you can purchase their bars online directly from them and receive them in about 2-3 days.  They make what they call original recipe bars and ultimate energy bars, and although were not really sure what the difference is we decided to try out the ultimate energy bars.  The ultimate energy bars come in four different flavors: Berry, Fudge Brownie, Mocha Fudge, and Cran-Orange.  If you want to learn more about Granola Gourmet, we suggest you check out their web-site and take a look at everything they have to offer.

First, we tried out the Berry bar, and our tasters thought the bar had an extremely strong strawberry flavor to it with hints of blueberries.  The berries are dotted throughout the bar, but the strawberry flavor comes in the form of an extract.  The texture of the bar is soft and chewy like a fresh-baked cookie, and we think a lot of people will certainly enjoy that aspect of these healthy bars.  Next, we tried out the Mocha Fudge bar, and our tasters thought this bar had just the right combination of chocolate and coffee.  The bar has bits of chocolate chips scattered throughout, and much like the first bar, this bar uses a coffee extract to get the strong mocha flavor that our tasters enjoyed so much.  Next, we tried out the Cran-Orange bar that has cranberries scattered throughout, and they decided to use orange extract to really give this bar a refreshing taste to it.  Lastly, we tried out the decadent sounding Fudge Brownie bar, and our tasters enjoyed this bar the most for several reasons.  Our tasters really enjoyed this bar because it had a really strong chocolate flavor to it that the other bars didn’t have.  Another reason we enjoyed this bar so much was because the texture of the bar actually reminded us of a brownie, hence why it’s called the ultimate fudge brownie.  Overall (4.5 out of 5).

The pros are that each of the four flavors taste like their namesake, they’re low in sodium, low on the glycemic index, and the texture is really soft and chewy.

The cons are that you have to order them from their web-site.

Granola Gourmet – low glycemic energy bars

by Mariano Grinbank
October 14, 2011

Granola Gourmet sent along a sample of their various products for the purpose of review. Today we will consider their energy bars.

Granola Gourmet does not merely provide healthy products but are actively involved in treating health problems. Their products are endorsed by physicians as being low glycemic, diabetic friendly snacks with a portion of each sale going towards fighting diabetes. They contain no wheat, no dairy, very low sodium contain whole grains, are packed with healthy omega oils and are vegan, vegetarian and kosher—mazel tov!

In short, these snacks are perfect for diabetics and non-diabetic fitness enthusiasts in general as they provide circa 2-3 hours worth of energy sans a sugar spike.

Now, something which diabetics and non-diabetic fitness enthusiasts have in common is that occasionally they both need a sugar spike: diabetics when their blood sugar gets too low and fitness enthusiasts during post-workout. Of course, finding sugar spike educing foods is easier than shooting fish with a bazooka in a fish tank. The reason that Granola Gourmet’s snacks are so important is that is it much more difficult to find non-sugar spiking snacks. The energy bars come in these flavors:

Ultimate Berry
Ultimate Fudge Brownie
Ultimate Mocha Fudge
Ultimate Cran-Orange

Additionally, you can try their whole grain energy multi-packs. These are more akin to granola bars and come in Very Berry, Brownie, Spiced Orange Cranberry and Chocolate Espresso.

Due to their ease of use—easily packed into a gym bag, hiking backpack, etc. Granola Gourmet make for a great addition to a fitness / sports nutrition lifestyle.

Energy Bars for Diabetics

by JoAnne Barbieri
June 21, 2011

Energy bars, in moderation, are great to use as a meal supplement or a workout snack. Many energy bars are not good choices for diabetics because they are packed with sugars, carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners. Selecting these high glycemic products would cause large surges in your blood sugar levels. However, there are a number of energy bars that have low glycemic levels and are made from natural sugar supplements.

Granola Gourmet Energy Bar

Granola Gourmet’s energy bars are low-glycemic, made with whole ingredients and do not contain dairy or wheat products. These vegan bars contain approximately 10g of sugar, allowing for a slow increase of blood sugar overtime. They are a great selection for you since they are not high fat, high sodium or high sugar. You can enjoy a variety of flavors, such as ultimate berry, chocolate espresso and brownie by either purchasing them on-line or in your local grocery store. “The reason why Granola Gourmet energy bars convert to sugar more slowly is because they are low glycemic, not because they have 10g of sugar. Low Glycemic foods provide longer periods of sustained energy, hunger relief and reduces the risk of experiencing blood sugar spikes.” (CORRECTION Explanation added by Granola Gourmet.)

Granola Gourmet Energy Bars

by Sarah Muir
New Products Editor
Natural Food Network Magazine
September 14, 2010

Created by a diabetic & his family, Granola Gourmet Energy Bars are 100 percent natural, made using ingredients with a low-glycemic impact, and made in California. The bars are wheat- and dairy-free, low-sodium and contain 10-13g of whole grains and 391-590mg of Omega-3′s each.

Shelf Talker: Try replacing your sugar fix with a delicious, healthy and low-glycemic replacement!

Individually wrapped 1.25-oz bars sell for a SRP of $1.69 each. They are packed 10 bars per multi-pack and 60 bars per case. Clam shell multi-packs contain a 10 bar value pack box that has a SRP of $12.99; there are six 10-packs per case totaling 60 bars; a 4-pack clam shell box has a SRP of $6.99; there are twelve 4-packs per case totaling 48 bars per case. Distributors: KEHE and DPI.  Retailers: Whole Foods, Safeway, Vons and more.

Warning Signs

by Brian Ellis
Vitamin Retailer
March 2010

Dietary supplements, along with a healthy diet and exercise, offer the millions with pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome a chance to reverse their conditions before they develop into disease.

As members of the natural products retail industry, we are always aware of numbers. Sales of dietary supplements, organic products, personal care items, functional food and beverages are all regularly reported, making huge numbers that sometimes soar well into the billions seem commonplace.

While these estimates are valuable in their own right, they tend to overshadow numbers that, while smaller in scale, are in fact much more necessary to be heard, such as these: 54 million Americans aged 21 years and older have pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, according to the American Heart Association, equating to roughly one in four adults—for each condition.

The risks as a metabolic disorder signifying a higher level of blood glucose than normal but not enough to be categorized as diabetes, pre-diabetes is a critical warning of the very high likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. The possibility is so much greater that the CDC estimates people with pre-diabetes to be five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with normal glucose values.

Also increasing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes is the group of metabolic risk factors known as metabolic syndrome. Closely related to prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance syndrome, is the result of the body being unable to efficiently use insulin.

One of the challenges that has led to the high incidence of both conditions is that people don’t tend to notice any symptoms, and may in fact have the conditions for several years without noticing anything. While there are two tests people can take to determine whether they have pre-diabetes, such as fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and the 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), there are also multiple risk factors for both of these conditions people should know.

These risk factors include obesity, age over 45, lack of physical activity, positive family history of diabetes, gestational diabetes, the presence of elevated triglyceride and low HDL levels, and hypertension, said Dr. Michael Harris, director of diabetes for Cedars Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles, and the medical advisor for Granola Gourmet (Santa Clarita, CA). “The existence of a sedentary, fast food, supersized lifestyle has definitely contributed to the high prevalence of both insulin resistance and pre-diabetes,” he said.

Another factor leading to the high incidence of both conditions, according to Guy Devin, national science educator for Source Naturals (Scotts Valley, CA), is how our food is processed. “It’s not that food itself is bad, but rather what we have done to our food supply, like genetically modified food organisms, the addition of high fructose corn syrup and the use oftoxic artificial sweeteners,” he said. “T his increases inflammation in the body, which then causes a cascading effect within our bodies.”

While inflammation is designed to kill infections and promote healing, chronic inflammation can produce growth factors and stimulate very serious degenerative disease processes, added Mike Shirota, president/CEO of Mushroom Wisdom (East Rutherford, NJ). Among the conditions stemming from pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome aside from type 2 diabetes, Shirota mentioned Alzheimer’s, cancer, autism, infertility stroke, heart disease and obesity.

“Alzheimer’s disease has already started to be called ‘type 3 diabetes,’ especially among the practitioners who apply integrative or alternative medicine,” he said. “I personally believe that cancer should be paid much more attention as one of the effects of metabolic syndrome.

It is said that cancer feeds on sugar, and the relationship between a high level of glucose in blood and cancer (especially breast and prostate) has been discussed lately.” State of the Market Though the realization of the large population of people affected by both metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes can be discouraging, it does show there is potential for this category that, if realized, could present opportunities for exceptional growth.

For Mitch Skop, senior director, new product development, Pharmachem Laboratories (Kearny, NJ), consumers have already started making the connection between a poor diet, weight gain and metabolic syndrome. “We have seen increased interest in our natural products that reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and support healthy blood sugar levels,” he said.

“Worldwide, we have seen an enormous increase in Phase 2 Carb Controller sales as this crisis has reached pandemic levels worldwide.” Donna Noonan, Mushroom Wisdom’s vice president of marketing, has also seen an increase of sales on well researched products, but also noted that one of the hurdles that will need to be overcome to generate more sales is the fact that this topic is not appealing to many.

“The thought of blood sugar lowering, lowering blood pressure and reducing insulin resistance usually goes along with the dreaded ‘weight’ issue—these are not fun topics, especially if they hit home for many.” What is helping to make this topic more appealing to the masses, however, is the development of food that is both low glycemic and good tasting.

“Public awareness of low glycemic foods is growing. In just the last year we have seen national advertising campaigns for low glycemic diets and weight loss for diabetics,” said Jeff Cohen, president and granola visionary with Gourmet Granola, which offers energy bars for diabetics. “In 2006 the low glycemic market was only $350 million, but growing 45 percent annually. In 2011 it is expected to be $1.8 billion, according to a Packaged Facts report.” Dietary Supplements … and Pharmaceuticals?

Advertising dollars spent by drug companies have brought their message to the forefront of public awareness and have allowed them to maintain a large segment of health care dollars. While this may potentially spark feelings of contention among advocates of supplements, in regards to metabolic syndrome and prediabetes, it is important not to overlook the necessity of both sides in lowering the impact of these two conditions.

“We do not subscribe to the ‘us versus them’ approach, but fully believe in the pluralistic approach,” said Ulrik Breval-Carlsson, president of Sprunk-Jansen (Petaluma, CA), who cautioned retailers to never encourage people to ditch their cholesterol-lowering drugs in favor of any dietary supplement.

“Instead, retailers, who are specialists in dietary supplement advantages, should ensure their customers have the proper education about how such supplements as [Sprunk-Jansen’s] WEIGHLEVEL, CHOLESTEROL LEVEL and GLUCOSE LEVEL work harmoniously to support a healthy diet and exercise program along with the pharmaceuticals they may be taking.”

There is, however, good news for proponents of natural alternatives, according to Skop. “Rising drug and health care costs will continue to benefit the natural products industry. With more consumers making the connection between metabolic syndrome and a poor diet, they realize that taking a drug isn’t always the answer,” he said. “An increased focus on improving diet, exercise and use of natural products are other positive trends for our industry.” In influencing more people to start taking preventative measures, Devin recommended retailers “get the word out that nature has the wisdom to heal us on every level. Hippocrates said it well: ‘Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.’ If we look at the overall growth of our industry, we are making headway in so many important categories that we are now setting the competition.”

Making the Difference In furthering the impact of the trio of dietary supplements, healthy diet and exercise, the delivery of simple but compelling information to customers will be an important part of a successful message, as will communicating to those with pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome that they can do something to reverse the momentum of these conditions.

“Metabolic syndrome can be treated very effectively with proper diet and exercise, and it does not have to lead to diabetes,” assured Frank Assumma, director of marketing at Natural Health Science (Hoboken, NJ), the exclusive distributor of the French maritime pine bark extract Pycnogenol®, which has been shown to benefit people with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and diabetes. “It is important to stress the need to maintain a healthy weight, and to exercise and eat properly.”

In getting across the importance of supplementation, retailers have a number of avenues to pursue in collecting the information they need to keep both themselves and their staff up-to-date in this category. One which Carol Ketring, store manager for Health Food Center in Oklahoma City, OK, utilizes is the manufacturers themselves. “Nordic Naturals, Natural Factors and Nature’s Plus are among the companies that always have research to back up their products,” she said, adding that many companies also offer staff trainings.

“In this industry, there are opportunities to learn everyday.” In helping customers gain access to some of the latest information and research, Health Food Center has an extensive resource center where their customers can find books on a variety of health topics. “It’s like a mini Barnes & Noble,” Ketring said. “People can search for a good diet or exercise program, or learn what they can do to keep their blood sugar in balance.”

For retailers who may not have the space to devote to a resource center, Source Natural’s Devin strongly recommended they establish within their supplement section a space where customers who are dealing with managing metabolic inflammation can find the products they need. After all, said Devin, “Each store in our industry is now the greatest source of information, quenching the flames of inflammation, bringing optimum health without side effects. When it comes to lifestyle and wellness prevention, we as an industry can have the farthest reaching effect for our communities.”

Alternative Energy: SCV man finds success with granola bars

by Joshua Premako
Santa Clarita Valley Signal
September 14, 2009

Jeff Cohen didn’t intend to go into the business of producing granola bars. He was simply looking for something to snack on.

But in nearly three years, Cohen has gone from whipping up snacks to helming Granola Gourmet, a company that produces low-glycemic energy bars.

Cohen, 47, was diagnosed with diabetes about 15 years ago.

One of the biggest feathers in the cap of the Stevenson Ranch resident has been having 24 Whole Foods Markets in Southern California carry his bars.

“My goal is to make Granola Gourmet a national brand that’s widely accepted by everybody, and just happens to be good for you,” Cohen said.

Cohen’s is a story with simple beginnings – he got the idea while his wife was baking muffins.

It was late 2006 and, Cohen said, “I was looking for a snack that tasted good but wouldn’t cause my blood sugar to spike.”

One of his sons got the ball rolling, he said, by urging Cohen to come up with something he’d like that his father could eat.

“I’m not a cook. I don’t know the first thing about food,” Cohen said.

As he researched the glycemic index, Cohen said, he eventually settled on trying out granola bars.

He started preparing more and more batches, as he found his sons were frequently taking them to school to share with friends.

In spring 2008, he began selling his energy bars at the weekly farmers’ market held in downtown Newhall.

“One thing led to another,” he said Monday, standing next to shelves full of colorfully packaged energy bars in Valencia’s Whole Foods store. “It’s been a pretty interesting ride.”

When Cohen started setting up shop at the farmers’ market, he was making about 1,000 bars a month.

Now, he said, Granola Gourmet is producing about 20,000 bars monthly.

The bars are available in four flavors: Spiced orange cranberry, very berry, brownie and chocolate espresso.

The base ingredients in each bar are organic oats, blue agave, flax and sunflower seeds, almonds and honey.

A key to success, Cohen said, has been maintaining a broad appeal, reflected in his motto: “Energy bars for athletes, diabetics and you.”

Gaining the support of Whole Foods was a matter of finding someone interested in the product, which Cohen said was hard work.

The first store to start carrying Granola Gourmet bars was the Whole Foods on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. Within two weeks, 10 more stores added the bars, with another 10 over the following month.

Now, Cohen is selling Granola Gourmet bars in 24 Whole Foods markets, through www.Amazon.com and at www.granolagourmet.com, and he said he is negotiating a deal with a major California grocery store chain.

In a year, Cohen said he’d like to be on track to becoming a million-dollar-a-year business.

With Granola Gourmet, Cohen came up with more than a solution for snack-time cravings.

“These are the granola bars that saved my life,” he said.