How To Formulate The Perfect Bar

How to Formulate the Perfect Bar

We recently sat down with members of our Glanbia R&D team to discuss some tips and tricks they’ve learned in developing nutrition bars for some of the world’s most successful brands.

Staring Point

When formulating a bar, what’s the best starting point?

We are able to get a more productive start when we have some specific objectives up front. Things like nutritional targets and labeling requirements as well as flavor expectations will help to focus the process. From there, consider the right protein to use in accomplishing the flavor and texture expectations as well as other bar objectives.



 If you could give someone one practical but often overlooked tip when formulating a new bar, what would it be?

Not all proteins are the same. Consumers have developed higher standards that require different needs. Start with the protein benefits that you want and build your bar around it. Understanding how different proteins react with sugars and fats will help to direct the process. It is critical to understand that it takes a specific balance of ingredients to meet the perfect product solution.


When formulating a bar, there are some consistent challenges in achieving the right taste, texture, shelf life, and nutritional profile. How do functional proteins help address these primary issues? 

We’ve developed innovative ingredients solutions to address the most common bar challenges from the inside out. We have functional proteins that can address bars that might be too sticky, lose shape or are too brittle. We have proteins that address shelf life, can be used with less sugar, and we have developed optimized blends of dairy and plant based proteins. With extensive experience from so many challenges, we have broadened our portfolio of protein ingredients to demonstrate how different protein can be used in different components of the bar from the coating to the core, and to layering systems like caramel, fruits and nut butters. All of this research has resulted in maximum nutritional value without a compromise to taste, texture or format.


New Protein Development

Can you share some of the proactive research Glanbia Nutritionals has done to address these challenges? 

As the market has grown, Glanbia has been proactive every single day in understanding and addressing specific needs and characteristics of the bar category. We are not only designing new proteins for different uses and formats, we are expanding applications. This practice has even made it possible to apply our technology to a wide range of products outside of the bar category, including cereals, snacks, even confections. 

Our research has also shown that consumer’s expectations go beyond flavor and performance and we are seeing growth in whole food bars that promote fiber and fortification. With these observations and over a decade of continuous research, we are developing ingredient solutions that are specific to new consumer demands which are, in turn, driving the industry.


Bar Formulation

Can you give an example of a customer challenge that we addressed or solved with an innovative approach? 

Recently we had a customer whose main priority was creating a bar that maintained a certain level of softness during the shelf life. Based on our working experience with this issue, along with understanding the client’s core bar requirements, we were able to see the big picture and demonstrate how different carbohydrate and fat systems interact with each other to impact the softness of a bar. With custom formula innovation, we were successful in developing a balance in those specific ingredients to maintain a softer bar with a longer shelf life. The expertise we have developed from working on such a broad spectrum of formulation challenges has provided us a wide range of solutions that make it easier to dial into the perfect product based on a client’s unique problem and requirement.

What can Glanbia Nutritionals provide to a team wanting to formulate a great new bar that others can’t? 

With integrated expertise in technology, function and application, Glanbia can provide unique insight and an active partnership in exploring the optimal application of not only the variety of dairy, plant and seed proteins available but also other ingredients and services in our portfolio like premixes, minerals, crisps, seeds, and flavors. 

We can take a holistic view of how these ingredients can best perform in the core, coatings, and layers of the bar. With access to a huge portfolio of ingredients and alternative protein sources like grains and fibers as well as the next generation of protein sources like flax and chia, it is easier to address challenges like moisture management, shelf life, texture and flavor. 

2 - 3 Days

What can you expect when you come to work with us at our Collaboration Center? 

When you work with us you’ll be able to create new, innovative formulas alongside our experienced Research and Development scientists. In this focused and immersive process, we work with our customers to develop and refine formulas on the spot, condensing 2-3 months of work down to 2-3 days. In just a few days of concepting, research and development, our customers will leave with a real prototype remarkably close to a finished format. 

Let us know what your biggest challenge is. We have the resources and the tenacity to push the boundaries of what is possible in our relentless quest for producing the best products on the market.  


For More Information, Contact A Glanbia Nutritionals Expert Today

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