Snack bars have historically leaned on the sweet side with flavors like chocolate and peanut butter. These are the top two flavors for cereal and energy bar launches over the past five years, alongside dark chocolate and almond, according to Innova Market Insights. Superfoods like spinach and kale don’t often come up in new product development for bars, but these are some of the ingredients in Undressed salad bars, one of a growing number of savory bars aiming to carve out a space in a sweet-dominated category.

“We’re so used to eating sugar-laden, brown bars that sometimes even have a sheen of oil on them, and no one even thinks twice about it,” said Anne Klassman, founder of Eat Undressed, Chicago.

Instead of chocolate and peanut butter, Undressed bar flavors include Berry Balsamic, Spicy Southwest and Miso Ginger. One bar has as much fiber as six cups of spinach and more than a serving of vegetables.

Undressed’s green-colored bars can be a bit of a shock to the consumer, Ms. Klassman acknowledged, but she said the savory bars have been well received.

“Those who are enjoying Undressed are asking ‘Why hasn’t someone tried this before?’ ” Ms. Klassman said. “And, of course, people have tried it before; it’s just that the savory space isn’t fully baked out just yet.”

But this is starting to change, with bar makers like PFC and Sheffa releasing savory bars of their own. Minong, Wis.-based Jack Link’s entered the savory bar space as well, launching beef snack bars in late 2019.

Savory bars are one of the more interesting innovations in the category that could continue to build up traction, said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president for client insights, IRI.

“We’ve seen meat snacks and salads get bars, so one of the areas to watch are the other categories putting bar forms in the marketplace,” Ms. Lyons Wyatt said. “Will they end up substituting for the other bars? Time will tell, but it’s something manufacturers and retailers need to keep an eye on.”  

This article is an excerpt from the February 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Snack Bars, click here.