Flavorful, chewy bars made from apples, pears and other fresh fruit now come in a size perfect for kids--or for adults who want a healthy, smaller-than-usual snack.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists developed the process for making the all-fruit bars, which weigh in at just under an ounce (25 grams) and provide the equivalent of about one serving of fruit.
The slim, go-anywhere packaging keeps the bars soft and fresh, and allows them to fit easily into a child's lunchbox. The bars are a handy size to be taken along as a lightweight snack for a hike, bike ride, or camping or backpacking trip. With a two-year shelf life, the bars also are handy for keeping with other foods stored for emergency use in the car or at home.
The junior-sized treats are the newest addition to the line of all-natural fruit bars made by Gorge Delights, Inc., of North Bonneville, Wash. The company holds a license from ARS for the technology used to create the bars from purees and concentrates, without the need for fillers, preservatives or other artificial ingredients.
ARS food technologist and research leader Tara H. McHugh and former ARS agricultural engineer Charles C. Huxsoll, now retired, developed and patented the process. They did the work in their laboratories at the agency's Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.
Gorge Delights introduced the smaller-size bars earlier this year and is marketing them--to vending machine suppliers--in six flavors: apple, apple-cherry, apple-raspberry, pear, pear-cranberry and pear-strawberry.
The company's standard-size fruit bars, each 1.4 ounces (40 grams), are available in those flavors, plus apple-blueberry and pear-blueberry, at retail outlets and on the World Wide Web at www.GorgeDelights.com. All of the bars are gluten-free and kosher-certified.
ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.