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Fruit bars

Bear Fruit Bars Use Novel Technology for Extending Shelf Life without Additives or Preservatives

Friday, January 18, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: fruit bars, Bear Fruit, food bars

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(NewsTarget) The U.S. Department of Agriculture's main research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has developed a process for making snack bars that remain "moist and chewy" for up to two years without the use of any artificial preservatives.

The bars are preserved by means of dehydration, which makes it difficult for decompositional elements like bacteria, molds or yeasts to reproduce. According to ARS, it took two years to develop the additive-free preservation process.

ARS has licensed this process to Oregon-based Mountain Organic Foods LLC, which is now selling apple, apple-blueberry, apple-cherry and apple-raspberry bars under the brand name Bear Fruit Bar (www.BearFruitBar.com). The bars are available in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as well as from various online retailers.

"These fruit bars are delicious and highly nutritious," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams. "I strongly recommend them to consumers. The ingredients are simple and natural, and the bars have no chemical additives of any kind. I give these bars five stars."

The future for the new process appears promising, with the market for health foods still growing and consumers becoming increasingly skeptical of artificial colorings and preservatives. The European Union's European Food Standards Authority is currently conducting a new safety review of all formerly approved food additives, and has already declared Red 2G coloring a carcinogen.

Meanwhile, the U.S. market in food bars is project to grow by 9.9 percent annually for the next five years, with anticipated retail sales of $5.1 billion by the year 2010.

"The bars make a healthful, convenient snack that slips easily into a child's lunch sack, or an adult's purse or briefcase," an ARS spokesperson said. "The bars are also handy for taking along on a camping or backpacking trip, or other outdoor adventure."

ARS says that preservative-free dehydrated fruit bars will help more people reach their daily fruit and vegetable dietary requirements.

"These snacks can help Americans meet recommended dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables," the spokesperson said. "Nearly 80 percent of all American adults fall short of that goal."

The U.S. government recommends that every person consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Only about one-third of U.S. adults currently meet those recommendations.

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