PowerBar co-founder Jennifer Maxwell sings a new tune with energy bar brand Jambar

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Jambar
Image Credit: Jambar

Related tags energy bars clean label natural food

CEO of Jambar Jennifer Maxwell knows a thing or two about launching energy bar brands, having been one of the co-founders of PowerBar, which started the category almost 40 years ago. As she looks to expand category newcomer Jambar’s footprint in 2023, the energy bar market is much different than in 1986 when PowerBar first launched.

For one, larger trends around sustainability and cleaner product labels more heavily influence the energy market, and are key aspects of  Jambar’s mission​, Maxwell told FoodnNavigator-USA.

Natural sugars, grain-based, and 10 grams of protein 

Launched in 2022, Jambar offers a line of non-GMO, gluten-free, grain-based energy bars, which are “as minimally processed as possible​” and made with “real food​,” Maxwell said. Currently, Jambars are available in Chocolate Cha Cha, Malt Nut Melody, Jammin’ Jazzleberry, and Musical Mango.

And as is the case with many energy bars, Jambar is designed to provide that on-the-go pick-me-up or after-workout energy boost, providing 10 grams of protein per bar. While the malt nut and chocolate flavors feature a “high-quality whey protein​,” Jambar uses “an innovative protein from sunflower seeds​” for its mango and berry flavors.

The bars also use “authentic sweeteners​,” including maple syrup, honey, dates, and 100% grape sugar, Maxwell said. These sweeteners set Jambar apart from energy bar brands using brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, or "manufactured sugars,​" she claimed.

The energy bar market evolves

While claims like keto friendly and sugar-free have gained popularity in the energy bar space, Maxwell said Jambar is less concerned with chasing after those trends. She added that she doesn’t like those “fads because you’re going to be dealing with a lot of chemicals​,” referring to the artificial ingredients that are in some energy bars that make a claim like keto friendly or sugar-free possible.

I think that ingredients that you put in your body are really important — that your body is a set of systems that understand and interprets everything around you … what you put in, how you feel about the food, how you feel about how the food was grown, and so forth.​”

However, Maxwell also pointed out that consumers today are looking for higher quality products when they are buying an energy bar, and she believes more consumers are finding value in products with fewer ingredients.

Jambar sings a philanthropic tune

Maxwell also wants to differentiate Jambar by donating 50% of net profits to “20 to 25 different events a month​” and “organizations that promote music and active living​,” Maxwell said -- a value that is carried out on the product packaging designed by her daughter.

"Our whole goal is just to expose more and more people to the brand and bring ... good food and happiness into their lives, and music brings happiness.​”