“Little things done repeatedly add up and can have a big effect.”
Hello again running friends! Typing away now about a bar that a friend of mine created for runners, those who are active and those who want something environmentally-friendly (packaging), gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. I am writing a review for a Canadian bar called EKOBAR – that I recently had the chance to try.
The creator and founder of EKOBAR (Allison) is a fellow running parent and former military officer I met when I was on the Canadian Armed Forces Running team. She is a good person with a snort when she laughs and I like her bars. I had the chance to ask her a bit about the story behind the bar etc – these are her words.
“A few years ago when my fate in the Canadian Armed Forces was sealed with a medical release message, I decided that I would complete a Masters Degree in Technology Management to make myself more competitive in the Kingston job market. One of the electives that I chose was Sustainability, which interestingly enough coincided with a family trip to Finland (Finland, along with some of the other Nordic countries, including Denmark are innovators in the realm of sustainability). It was at that point that I started becoming more cognizant of my own impact on the planet and realized that there were things I could do to reduce the carbon footprint of myself as an individual and for my family. My son was also six months old at the time and I was being introduced to the realm of baby food and baby snacks that come in non-recyclable packages.”
“As a family, we decided to reduce the amount of non-recyclables that come into our house, however, we are by no means perfect. But, doing better has a greater impact than doing nothing. We try not to purchase snacks that don’t have a recyclable or compostable package and instead snack on fresh fruit, home-baked goods and frequent Bulk Barn with our own containers. In this journey of reducing garbage, I realized that there was a missing piece. As an athlete, I have been a long-time consumer of energy bars and gels and there are the times when traveling when having snacks in wrappers can be handy. For our last vacation I actually baked two healthy(ish) batches of cookies and brought them in my suitcase along with fresh fruit – but then I had food storages containers in my luggage taking up space. And fruit doesn’t always hold up well in a backpack or suitcase, especially in the heat of the summer. That’s when the idea of Ekobar was born. Why can’t an energy bar/snack bar come in a compostable wrapper?”
“I did some research on compostable wrappers and very quickly found some stock solutions that I thought would be viable and ordered samples so I could test them out.”
“I began creating recipes and then sealing them in the wrappers and then conducting quality analysis to determine how the product would hold up. I started with a formula with similar ingredients to what one would normally find in a typical bar, however, I quickly realized why compostable packages are not readily used. Because of the nature of the package, (the film is plant-based), the wrapper itself absorbs moisture from the product which left many of my initial tests looking like rocks one might find on the moon. Working with readily available compostable packages, I knew I couldn’t just put any recipe in the packages, but had to create my recipe to stay fresh in the package. I won’t give away too much information about the actual recipes because of trade secrets!”
About the Product Itself
As noted above, Ekobar differs slightly than traditional energy bars, so please be open-minded when trying them They are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan and are made with as few ingredients as possible and using nothing that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
Because of the packaging and lack of preservatives, the shelf life isn’t as long as other products on the market.
I currently have 3 SKUs available, which I have called Explorer, Adventurer and Weekend Warrior. More recipes to come in the future. Bars are made in small batches and currently made to order. Bars will be sold by the box as compostable labels are pricey for a start-up company so ordering labels for each SKU was unreasonable until established. I will, however, sell individually at local races.
Prices will be as follows:
$12/box of 6
$23.00/box of 12
+HST & Shipping (Canada Post Rates).
Free delivery in Kingston (Ontario) on a once a week basis (using bicycle + trailer where possible). Currently looking at partnering with some local Kingston business with the possibility of expanding in the future. Additionally, will be selling at local races, mostly in the Kingston, Belleville, Brockville area for the time being – targeting the first one to be Beat Beethoven but this has not been confirmed yet.
Haven’t yet set up e-commerce (baby steps), for the time being, orders can be placed by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org with order quantity and shipping address, I will send an invoice and it can be made payable by e-transfer or PayPal.
What I thought
I have a box of EKOBAR at home and a few in my drawer at work for snacks. I tried all the flavours and like them all but the peanut butter-based one is my favourite. The bars are solid and packed full of real food and fill the tummy. The packaging is simple, easy to open and you can compost or recycle. The packaging won’t hold up to really getting too wet so put in plastic bag if taking on long run, ultra or camping but works well.
I love the fact the bar has an environmentally-friendly package, it tastes good, is made with real food and is Canadian. This is a well-thought-out product made by a Canadian runner and mom that is worth trying!
Lace up and see you out there running friends!