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Going Soft

February 8, 2018

School lunches. There’s a post percolating about the vile state of school lunches. It’s amazing to think that what’s being served today is in any way an improvement from any point in history, but it’s true. Actually “flabbergasting” might be a better word.

Today’s post isn’t that.

However, since the school lunches are abysmal, my kids bring lunch to school almost every day. There is one exception, which we may have discussed in the past, when the cafeteria serves “Italian Dunkers”.

It’s only because I’m packing non-refrigerated lunches on a daily basis, and shopping in the grocery store for reasonably good choices to fill the kids’ lunch sacks, that I realized an alarming trend.

File this under “What the heck happened to granola bars?”

Granola bars used to be considered a health food. At least, that’s my memory growing up. But really, they are more like cookies with fiber in them. And that’s fine. In moderation. So long as you don’t give your kids an additional cookie for dessert after eating the cookie in their lunch.

Double cookies may lead to happiness, but they are not part of a healthful diet.

So today’s rant isn’t about the sugar load. It’s not about the rice syrup used to sweeten them. I’m not going to linger on the genetically engineered ingredients used in their production. Nor am I going to lament about packaging and waste.

Because more than anything else the changes to the granola bar category as a whole make me nervous about our future, and are an indictment on our society.

Granola bars have gone soft. Almost all of them. Categorically.

Sure, you can still find a few crunchy ones if you know where to look. The Nature Valley brand is the classic granola bar I had as a kid. They are sweet as all get out, but I had renewed confidence in the brand when I saw it on the shelf at Whole Foods. But I do question if they are quite as hard as they were in my youth.

Clif makes a Crunch Granola Bar which used to be more widely available, but has been getting harder and harder to find. The same is true for Nature’s Path Organic. Their crunchy bars are a kid favorite. Kashi too makes a crunchy bar, and it is more widely available, sadly it’s the least popular option among the Fussy children.

Even though I had a bone to pick with Cascadian Farm, I was buying their crunchy peanut butter granola bar when I could find it. But that eventually went away. Now all the brand’s granola bars that I can find in the market are all decidedly chewy.

Chewy. Chewy. Chewy. It’s like an entire aisle of the grocery store has not just turned against me, but also against America.

Dammit, granola bars are supposed to be crunchy. You eat them as a kid, and they toughen you up. They prepare you for gnawing away at life. They work those jaw muscles. They teach you to chew your food, instead of getting dreamy eyed for something that will melt in your mouth.

And that’s another thing. There are very few things I actually want to melt in my mouth. But that rant deserves a dedicated post of its own. Stay tuned.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John permalink
    February 9, 2018 10:31 am

    Apparently people complained that the Nature Valley bars were too crunchy.

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