Making and Packaging Energy Bars
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Making and Packaging Energy Bars on 09/19/2012 11:51:01 MDT Print View

When hiking (like the JMT) I eat a Lot of energy bars - around 1700 calories per day

Powerbar's Harvest line is routinely about a $1/bar, but ProBar is usually $2.70 at best. I'll continue to buy the Harvest bars, but I'd like to make my own ProBar analog. Sarah has provided lots of info and recipes to get this done. Harvest bars and ProBars don't have typical preservatives, yet are good for about a year. My question is how to make and package them so they are "self stable" for at least 6 months, at home and in a hot backpack.

Freezing doesn't work for me because there is often a month or more of transit between making and consuming.

Can anyone provide insight/resources on the manufacturing and packaging industry processes that are used to produce preservative-free "shelf stable" bars? I'm looking for books, articles, businesses, etc. that address this issue. Got a friend of a friend who is in the industry? Or know of a production manager who might be willing to discuss the process? Know of a facility that does this kind of stuff?

Thanks.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Avoid dairy and eggs on 09/19/2012 12:33:57 MDT Print View

If you can put together energy bars without including any dairy or egg ingredients, you can make some that are very shelf-stable. Personally I like to make my own date-nute bars (think homemade Lara Bars). The classic choices are granola bars and/or nut bars held together with honey. Under the right conditions, and stored well, they can last a good few weeks in the cubbard.

I'm not sure if you could make anything last 6 months, though, without some kind of airtight storage. I have family/friends who use FoodSaver vacuum sealers, and swear by them. FoodSaver's website says that cookies stored in one of their sealed bags can last in the pantry "3-6 weeks."

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Avoid dairy and eggs on 09/19/2012 13:29:42 MDT Print View

I have been practicing my Logan Bread recipe for about thirty years now. It has no dairy except for dry nonfat milk powder. It has no yeast or eggs. When I make it right, it keeps in a ziploc bag. It tends to do very well for a month or two, and I have eaten it when it was six months old. Maybe 2% of the time, I get too much moisture into the batter and I don't bake it all out, so there could be some spoilage/mold. The secret is in getting nearly all of the moisture baked out slowly. The only thing that keeps it from getting hard is corn oil. It is a cross between a granola bar and heavy bread, sort of like holiday fruitcake.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Making and Packaging Energy Bars on 09/19/2012 13:51:01 MDT Print View

Lets just say the packaging is a lot of why they last. But even then, near the end of the shelf life most commercial bars get stale. I'll say this: a handmade "Larabar" tastes miles better than even a fresh packaged one. It is the ingredients being fresh, and mixed up right before eating.
Also, the mix is dialed in tightly so that it stays soft yet doesn't mold. If you look at the ingredients you start seeing how it is done - certain ingredients are always in the probars, same with Powerbars and Clif.....