Iowa City, 14 April 2015 — Today the Health Resource Group concluded an extensive study of snack foods and nutrition bars. KIND Snacks natural food bars were selected as the winner of our Most Healthy Nutritious Snack Bar Award for 2015. KIND has a wide variety of bars, but for this study, we focused on the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar.
Here’s how KIND Bars stacked up when compared with other products in the same category.
- Raw Ingredients. Many nutrition bars contain a high quantity of processed ingredients and unnecessary additives. KIND Bars have raw ingredients. Although most of the bars we evaluated had raw ingredients, they may not have performed as well in the other categories.
- Fiber. Food bars with highly processed ingredients and additives aren’t naturally high in fiber, so fiber must be added in. Because KIND Bars have raw ingredients naturally high in fiber, a single bar contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 28 % of the daily requirement.
- Protein. Most protein bars derive their protein from added soy or whey powder. KIND Bars are naturally high in protein. The bar we evaluated has 6 grams of natural protein. An obvious runner up in this category would be the MetRX Big 100 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bars with 28 grams of protein, but with 25 grams of sugar and only 2 grams of fiber, they didn’t meet our other requirements.
- Fat. Research in recent years is revealing the importance of healthy fat in our diet. When combined with fiber, protein, and low glycemic carb sources, fat helps with proper metabolism and glucose regulation. KIND Bars provide a natural source for important healthy fat.
- No Additives. Because of the emphasis on natural raw ingredients, KIND Bars have no artificial ingredients or unnecessary additives.
- Low in Sugar. Most nutrition bars are high in sugar and don’t have the necessary balance of fiber and protein for proper metabolism of sugar. KIND Bars are very low in sugar compared to other nutrition bars. For the product we tested, the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar, there were 5 grams of sugar. That’s less than half the sugar naturally found in a cup of milk.
- Flavor. The variety of KIND Bars available offer a diversity of deliciousness that offers the variety people need to continue eating nutritious alternatives.
- Naturally Occurring Vitamins and Minerals. Any food product can be fortified with vitamins and minerals, even if it’s primary ingredient is cardboard. In looking for a truly nutritious food bar, we wanted something naturally high in vitamins and minerals. KIND Bars have an impressive portfolio of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals including Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Copper as well as B Vitamins. While no conclusive research exists, it’s believe that foods naturally high in essential vitamins and minerals may contain hundreds of trace nutritional elements helpful for digesting and properly metabolizing our food. In other words, eating an orange is probably more beneficial than having a pill with the equivalent amount of Vitamin C.
- Labeling. For this category, we considered how honest, accurate, and transparent the product labeling was. While other product labeling shows pictures of select ingredients, the KIND labeling is transparent. Yes, it’s literally see-through. This is significant because with a product containing raw ingredients, you can actually visualize the various nuts and other ingredients in the bar. This is the ultimate form of transparent labeling. The labeling is without any exaggerated claims, and is mostly limited to things that are common knowledge such as nuts a good source of beneficial ingredients. An example of misleading labeling would be Good Natured Baked Vegetable Crisps.
- Value. There are a lot of high quality food bars on the market, but some are relatively costly at $4 or more per bar. KIND Bars offer an economical, filling, and satisfying choice at about $1.15 per bar.
- Availability. Some of the bars that might have been considered were ruled out because of limited availability. For example, some nutrition bars are only available through chiropractic offices. KIND Bars are available in most grocery stores, convenience stores, at Starbucks, and through Amazon.
- Sourcing. KIND uses responsible ingredient sourcing.
- Sustainability. KIND is actively involved in sustainability efforts.
- Labor. KIND is actively engaged in ethical labor practices.
As you can see, our long list of considerations narrowed down the possible candidates, and KIND Bars became a logical choice for the Most Healthy Nutritious Snack Bar Award for 2015.
From a recent NPR story about KIND Bars:
Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University, has researched how nuts contribute to human health, and he [says] that they reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and lower rates of heart disease and mortality. “They’re probably one of the healthiest choices you can make in a diet,” he says.
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Regarding the FDA KIND Bar Warning
Today an FDA advisory regarding KIND Bars was in the headlines. We believe the FDA warning is misguided and a waste of taxpayer money. It maligns an exceptional brand.
It’s not surprising that the FDA announcement was miscommunicated by the major media with story headlines such as CNBC reporting: “Kind Bars are not ‘healthy’ says the FDA.”
That’s what most people will conclude when hearing about the FDA warning. In a world where consumers don’t read much further beyond the Twitter limit of 140 characters, an FDA Warning and statements about a product not being healthy can take many months and millions of dollars to recover from.
The FDA warning was not about KIND products, but instead about labeling and product claims. It’s not that KIND Bars are not ‘healthy’ but instead the point in question is about the product labeling.
As a result of this confusion, KIND has issued a public statement about the FDA warning.
On the KIND Bar packaging, some relatively obvious common sense statements appear such as “Healthy and tasty, convenient and wholesome.” Our own research concluded that the products are healthy, tasty, convenient, and wholesome, but you can eat a bar and draw your own conclusions. Statements like “good source of fiber,” were also criticized by the FDA, even though the bar we evaluated has 7 grams of fiber, making it what we believe to be a good source of fiber.
The real story here is how uninformed the FDA is with regard to the current nutritional findings that most healthcare practitioners would agree is common knowledge today.
Meanwhile, products that are truly misleading and deserving of an FDA warning letter go unfettered, such as Good Natured Baked Vegetable Crisps that depict vegetables on their packaging, yet have more sugar than any of the vegetables shown on the package.
Please do what you can to help support KIND through this unkind treatment by the FDA.
“Because consumers have so few good choices when it comes to quality food products, it’s essential that consumers know what those choices are. KIND Bars are an excellent nutritious alternative to other less nutritious foods available. It’s important that consumers not be dissuaded from purchasing these products.” ~ Greg Johnson, Director of the Consumer Defense Resource Group
Media Coverage Incorrect
The media coverage below shows how an FDA warning about product labeling was misconstrued as a product warning. Surprisingly, all these media outlets got the story wrong.
- Bloomberg: “Kind Bars Aren’t Healthy Enough for ‘Healthy’ Tag, FDA Says” (14 April 2015)
- BuzzFeed: “The FDA Says Kind Bars Aren’t Healthy Enough To Be Labeled ‘Healthy’” (14 April 2015)
- CBS: “Kind Bars Aren’t so Kind to Your Health, FDA Finds” (14 April 2015)
- CNBC: “Kind Bars are not ‘healthy’ says the FDA” (14 April 2015)
- Daily News: “Kind bars get slapped with warning from Food and Drug Administration” (14 April 2015)
- Fortune: “Kind Bars don’t deserve a ‘healthy’ label, FDA says” (14 April 2015)
- Mother Jones: “The FDA Has Some Bad News About Your Kind Bars” (14 April 2015)
- SALON: “FDA: Kind bars aren’t actually ‘healthy’” (14 April 2015)
- The Daily Beast: Links to Bloomberg article listed above.
Only the Huffington Post Got the Story Right
Only one major media outlet got the story right. The Huffington Post reported “Why The FDA Action Against KIND Bars Doesn’t Mean They’re Unhealthy.”
Consumer Group Critical of FDA Warning to KIND
The Consumer Defense Resource Group has written a response critical of the FDA, “Conservative Campaign Against @KINDSnacks Morphs Into Dubious FDA Warning Letter.”