New Report Exposes Deceptive Marketing in the $9 Billion-Dollar Snack Bar Industry


A new report by the Cornucopia Institute exposes misleading marketing practices by food industry giants that market unhealthy snack and energy bars as wholesome and nutritious. The report further exposes leading natural/organic brands for including cheap, conventional ingredients instead of creating nutritive products that qualify for the USDA organic label.
The report, and an accompanying scorecard details how snack bar quality varies widely among brands, even among the many brands that market themselves as “made with” organic ingredients (a label with lower federal standards than certified organic). The report exposes USDA National Organic Program regulations that provide industry-friendly loopholes for the use of conventional, hexane-extracted ingredients in the “made with” organic category.
“The highly profitable snack bar industry is rife with gimmicky substitutes, such as protein isolates, instead of whole food ingredients,” says the report’s lead author, Linley Dixon, PhD, chief scientist at Cornucopia.
“With the exception of certified organic bars, many products add protein isolates processed with the neurotoxin solvent hexane, a byproduct of the gasoline refinement industry,” added Dixon. “Hexane-extracted ingredients, like conventional soy protein isolate, are common in products that are labeled ‘made with’ organic ingredients. An intentional loophole in the USDA organic standards allows for the use of ingredients that are extracted using volatile solvents in ‘made with’ organic products (a process explicitly prohibited in products qualifying to display the USDA organic logo).”
The Raising the Bar report also explains how, in many other ways, consumers get a safer and higher quality product with USDA certified organic brands over conventional, mass-market brands that contain long ingredient lists that include questionable gums and synthetic preservatives, colors, or flavors.

The scorecard “outs” some brands offering both high-rated and low-rated products, such as bestsellers Clif Bar and Lara Bar (the latter produced by General Mills). This makes it difficult for consumers to choose products based on namebrand alone because quality varies widely between products within the same prominent brands.

Interested in knowing which of your favorite brands are affected? View the scorecard here.
Article adapted from

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