The report, and an accompanying scorecard, Raising the Bar, Choosing Healthy Snack Bars versus Gimmicky Junk Food, 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 highest rated bars on The Cornucopia Institute’s scorecard are USDA certified organic and use only organic fruits, nuts, and seeds without any added sugars, gums, flours, protein isolates, or preservatives. Published research has consistently illustrated that organically produced products have a demonstrably lower level of agrichemical residues. There is also documentation that illustrates their nutritional superiority (likely derived from careful soil stewardship).
The scorecard “outs” some brands offering both highly rated and low-rated products, such as Clif Bar and Lara Bar (the latter produced by General Mills). This makes it difficult for consumers to choose products based on brand alone because quality varies widely between products within the same prominent brands.
Editor’s Note – Kind Bars are not highly rated in the report. I am not a fan of the products because of what I see as deceptive use of the word chocolate in varieties that do not actually contain chocolate as I interpret CFR 21.163.