Nutritional bars have steadily grown in popularity since first conception in the early 1960’s. They were first formulated by Nasa, in partnership with Pillsbury, as a solution to provide astronauts their required daily nutrition in a compact and convenient way.

Steadily growing in popularity over the years, nutritional bars are now consumed by a wide demographic and as a result this functional food category is valued at US$6.875 million and is expected to reach $7.735 million by 2022.

While nutritional bars provide significant health benefits to a variety of consumers – from high performing athletes to school children – the ever-growing ingredient list and accompanying marketing tactics (all natural, organic, paleo, genetically modified organism free and gluten free), has left the nutritional bar and functional food category open to a growing list of quality assurance (QA) and compliance concerns.

This article, ‘Nutrition bar manufacturing: A quality assurance perspective’ by Natural Products Insider, discusses the growing QA and compliance concerns felt by bar manufacturers today and offers valuable tactics manufacturers can implement to overcome them.

We’ve outlined the key challenges they addressed below, but if you’d like to read the article you can do so here.

The key challenges bar manufacturers are faced with today

Increasing food safety regulations mean that bar manufacturers need to tighten their food hazard prevention rather than just controlling critical points. But that’s easier said than done. As consumers yearn for more variety, bar manufacturers have been inundated with the need to produce assortment whilst adhering to the list of growing regulations – causing headaches for many bar manufacturers today.

  1. Identifying regulatory compliance throughout the supply chain.

Raw material suppliers are a critical step in purchasing raw ingredients for bars. However, it is now necessary for raw ingredients (domestic and foreign) to meet FSMA rules, meaning the ingredients manufacturers use must be compliant. While this reduces time spent testing ingredients, manufacturers must now be more vigilant when purchasing and managing their raw material supply.

  1. Hygiene and handling critical to offering SKU variation.

With more and more consumers looking for variety, whether that be to cater to an allergy, a specific diet or add additional nutrition, bar manufacturers need to provide assortment at pace. As most bar manufacturing production lines host a multitude of equipment that comes into direct contact with a product as it completes its process to form a bar, cross contamination and cross contact become a huge issue – specifically with allergens and microbial contamination. A cause for concern for manufacturers as failure to adequately clean production machinery can result in costly product recalls from undisclosed allergens or adulterants.

The growing demand for nutritional variety in convenience bars alongside growing compliance demands has created a wealth of challenges for bar manufacturers today. However, if addressed with deliberate focus and assistance from management throughout operations, these challenges can help manufacturers to produce a quality and compliant finished bar product.

Here at PTL, we design and build industry-leading bar and chocolate manufacturing machinery and as result, know all too well the challenges manufacturers face, especially around hygiene control.

In our eBook, 10 Hygienic Design Principles for Food Manufacturing Equipment, we provide an introduction to the subject of hygienic design of food manufacturing equipment – from the factors driving changes, regulatory response and industry requirements, to best practices in terms of equipment design. If you would like a copy, you can download one here.