Just wanted to drop a quick note about some amazing news: Epic Bar, which has been an incredible supporter of the Ancestral Health scene and the Savory Institute, has been acquired by General Mills. If you are unfamiliar with epic, that news piece does a good job of describing who and what they are:
The company, started in 2013 by Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest, created a new snack category by incorporating meat into snack bars. They focused on acquiring meat from animals that were grass-fed and pasture-raised, then packaged it with fruit and flavor combinations that hadn’t been seen.
The Epic folks “got” the sustainability story from the beginning. I think I may have made the first introduction between Epic and the Savory Institute, and Epic has been a huge supporter of all their efforts. Epic has provided a product and a venue to take grassfed meat and get it to “the masses” while also supporting the regenerative food production concept embodied by the Savory Institute. That is truly amazing.
Reactions to this event have generally been positive, but there are some who use terms like “sell-out” and “greedy” on the parts of the Epic folks. I’ve talked with Taylor and Katie and my understanding is that this acquisition will only improve their ability to support efforts like the Savory Institute and sustainable food production. I’m doing a special podcast with them to talk about the details, stay tuned for that. Before folks pull out the pitchforks on what should be a celebratory event I’d like you to consider a few things:
1- If you really believe in the ideas underpinning Ancestral health and regenerative agriculture and if you want these ideas to actually matter and affect change on a global scale, something, somewhere, sometime has to “get big.” We have all done a great job of building a grassroots, decentralized system, but it’s in it’s infancy and getting the muscle that a General Mills could bring to this topic is important.
2-Even though it is en vogue to criticise anything and everything related to corporations and “Big Business” these entities are not dumb. The writing is on the wall with regards to our current food production system…it ain’t gonna last in it’s current incarnation. I’ve known this for a long time and folks who look at these problems with an eye towards systems thinking and economics arrive at the same conclusion. What is going to be hard for many of you to square cognitively is that businesses, both big and small, will find ways of (egads!) “making a profit” while driving towards a sustainable future. Not trying to be a dick here, but for some folks this idea will confound them with such cognitive dissonance that they may spontaneously combust. A few large oil companies have looked at the Savory Institute and are incredibly interested in them for what they represent with regards to carbon sequestration (which is a potential profit center for these companies). Someday, some kind of deal will be struck between the SI and a large oil company (for starters). Some will see this for what it is: An amazing opportunity and a ray of hope that did not exist a decade earlier. Others will cultivate some kind of emotional response, because, you know, “big oil.”
I had a much longer list in mind for why this is a good thing but this is enough for now. One thing I’ve learned in my now 17+ years of beating these drums is that most people will arrive to this discussion with their minds made up. A SMALL percentage of folks will be open to critically analyzing things, but the vast majority will be unmoved, no matter what is put before them. Some people will steadfastly argue that General Mills will screw this up and ruin Epic. If you “get” points 1 and 2 above you will understand why this is unlikely to happen. Our world is changing. This process of embracing sustainability is going to happen. If General Mills shits the bed on this it will be too bad for them as the opportunity is staggering. You may think I’m a bit cocksure in all this but none of this relies on some kind of high-minded belief in the “people doing the right thing.” I am confident that the economics will make a move towards sustainability the smart smart (ONLY?) choice for General Mills and other companies. It really cannot be any other way.
Let’s say for a moment however that I’m wrong about that. Let’s say that General Mills is going to screw this up in some way. Well, in that case we have a story of two young entrepreneurs who took on enormous risk, worked their asses off and have garnered a good bit of success in the process. If you can concoct a story in your head in which Taylor and Katie are bad people for working their asses off and being successful…well….
Let’s celebrate this success and give this amazing opportunity the EPIC love and attention it deserves.
John Saville says
This is great news! A real success story. It’s exciting to see how much the Paleo movement is making an impact on the food industry. So many of the diet trends today have their origins in the Paleo movement. They just don’t call it Paleo because it tends to be polarizing, often portrayed as a fad. Terms like clean eating, gluten free, pastured and free range, the push back against GMOs, artificial sweetners, processed foods and the embracing of local, seasonal and organic produce and sustainable farming all have their connections to the Paleo movement.
Wow. I have really mixed feelings about this. General Mills screwed over the gluten-free community with their cross-contamination of GF Cheerios, many of whom also enjoy Epic bars. I don’t believe for one second that GM has the consumers health concerns in mind. We can only hope that Epic keeps their integrity.
Taylor Collins says
We wont let you down. EPIC is still run by Katie and I. We are doing this to inspire and guide GM to continue making efforts to produce nourishing foods for people. If our integrity changes then you can come to Austin and punch me in the stomach.
Marisa Moon says
Hahahahaha I love your reply. Looking forward to more progress. Thank you! I gave boxes of Epic bars as Christmas gifts 🙂
Red Haircrow says
Through cultural appropriation and cultural plagiarism using the historical methods of European: capitalistic, exploitative methods to line their pockets while basically stealing from marginalized people settlers tried to destroy. Cultural appropriation, the new genocide.
I love Epic Bars and am in the camp that believes the first one to the table big business wise supporting sustainability will make bank. The Savory Institute site is a link I share whenever I can. They make me want to be a farmer.
Taylor Collins says
Thank you for the support Heather! Consumers like you cast votes for how you want the food system to be designed. Companies like EPIC share that same passion and work to make this available to the masses. We appreciate your business and promise to accelerate our impact with The Savory Institute!
I just hope they keep making the beef+liver jerky!
But, seriously, congrats to the Epic team. Maybe they can spread their influence to other parts of General Mills.
Taylor Collins says
TK, you can expect the liver jerky to be around for a long long time! Its my favorite product we have ever made. Thanks for the love.
I also believe this is a good thing for Epic and General Mills. They are listening to the consumers and wanting to give them what they want. General Mills has a history of acquiring all natural and organic businesses (think Annie’s) and letting them continue running themselves. But what GM brings to the table is the ability and resource cache to scale the business. Trust me, they don’t want to ruin the good thing Epic has going.
Taylor Collins says
Thanks Lisa. Actions are louder than words, and I cant wait to reflect on the further impact our brand creates on the planet. We are going to shape General Mills and inspire other big companies to invest in young brands that are driving change!
Wish I could agree.
The problem isn’t that someone, somewhere, might be making a profit. (God forbid.) The problem is that General Mills has never, in the entire history of the company, done anything remotely positive for our health, our economy or our environment. They are an Epic Fail. (Sorry.)
The hippies at my local health food store were just complaining tonight about a product that has gone south since a corporate takeover (a hygiene product). There is no reason to believe that that lust for Fed-subsidized stock market growth won’t cause them to cut corners.
Taylor Collins says
I disagree. Within 12 months of acquiring Annie’s, General Mills has increased the supply chain for organic farmed vegetables 5X. They have allowed the brand to operate autonomously in Berkley California and take a huge stand against GMO products. Listen to what we say, but watch what we do over the next few years.
Valerie Luzzi says
I think where I’m hesitant is the fact that General Mills makes it a point to say that their foods do in fact contain GM ingredients and that they are “safe”. What’s to say that Epic Bar isn’t going to turn a corner?
Robb Wolf says
We as consumers hold them accountable…and as I’ve said, GM is a BIG company. Some of it’s elements are working in opposition to other pieces.
Katy Haldiman says
I wish that I could celebrate this acquisition, but I am sad to have lost a real food product that I can feel good about buying. I don’t blame the Epic owners for wanting to do well financially and I’m not overly concerned that GM will change the ingredients or the quality of the product. It’s an ethical issue for me. As much as I enjoy Epic bars, I will not support a parent company that has no true interest in the sustainability of our food system and one that actively lobbies on GMO-labeling and other critical issues. I understand that the Epic owners and their supporters on this acquistion think that they are furthering their mission and they will be able to reach a larger platform. I’m all for that. But whatever happened to building a new and sustainable food system? Instead of focusing on that, profits will now be transferred to Big Food, who has no such real interest. This is just one of many recent examples of corporate greenwashing. One by one, they are silencing the voices of those that could band together on issues like GMO-labeling.
Robb Wolf says
What if Epic and by extension, General Mills, continues to support the Savory Institute and similar entities? What if that support increases? It’s hard to understand but these companies are large enough that one element may be working against other elements. Not saying this is without risk of going pear shaped, but i’d encourage folks to give it a chance.
Jacob C says
Love you Robb, but this is an incredibly naive post. It is not a question of whether General Mills will change some ingredients, it is that this is a company that apent billions of dollars destroying our health and planet. GM has not announced some major change of direction, this is a niche product for them that they are buying up because it was a potential competitor.
I am personally a successful business person in the disruptive technology space. I can’t tell you how many products I have seen purchased and dissolved because they were a threat to a monopoly company. That is how monopoly business works. We should not support one of the principal opponents of our movement.
Robb Wolf says
Cannot argue with anything you are saying other than I’m confident “business as usual” is winding up due to changes i the economy and energy. I may be wrong, or i may be right, but a decade early, but these processes will change. Completely agree with your assessment of Acquire–>monopoly.
I am willing to be proven wrong but I am doubtful this is the beginning of a positive change for General Mills. History has shown that when brands like Epic get bought out by a bigger company they will slowly but surely be turned to crap. They make Lucky Charms! Enough said …
Robb Wolf says
Adam- My point in all of this is “business as usual” is not going to work for much longer. It’s just not. Oil is cheap right now, mainly due to deflationary pressures (driven by mechanisms I’m not going to get into here) that will unwind and slingshot the price upwards…which will stifle economic growth, which will crush oil demand, which will bring the price plummeting. That’s likely our future on the energy front and energy is key to driving food production. These large corporations are not ignorant of these realities, but they also cannot pivot on a dime and alter their whole way of business. They MUST have one foot and nine toes in the old paradigm, one toe in the new, testing the water. I encourage EVERYONE to remain skeptical and critical, but I’d also encourage folks to not burn this all down until or unless the story merits that type of action.
Maybe this means that getting Epic bars in Canada will soon become a whole lot easier (and cheaper) and I’d be all for that! It’s currently really hard to get these types of products north of the border…
This was my first thought too!!
Taylor Collins says
Canadian distribution was something that consumers have been asking for since day 1. We were never able to accomplish this because we didnt have the resources. Now we do!
What are some good ways of buying these in Canada? I usually have to go over the border to get them. And to buy them online costs way too much in shipping costs
I’ve enjoyed the Epic Bison bars since the beginning and hope to find them available in more locations. My concern is the effect I’ve seen in other industries after acquiring smaller companies. No matter how much autonomy is promised at the beginning, middle managers in the parent company cause changes (sometimes gradual) in the subsidiary, so the managers can be noticed and promoted. The effect on the subsidiary can change it beyond recognition of the original startup dream. I hope for the best, and wish that Epic can stay true to their vision.
Taylor Collins says
I agree with you. But EPIC has never built or operated its business following “standard” models. We dont follow rules and despise business that focuses growth solely on dollars. Katie and I have nothing to lose here nor do we have aspirations of being promoted. We are staying on board to lead the company because we want to make sure EPIC stays pure.
As usual, Robb, you make a strong argument about something that has made me change my mind. 🙂 My initial knee-jerk response to this acquisition *would have been* disappointment, but I think you’re right: sure, GM has a certain profit motive. They are a corporation, after all, and therefore their raison d’etre is to make money for their shareholders. Doesn’t necessarily matter whether they accomplish that via sugar-frosted breakfast cereals or organic kale. (Or grass-fed EPIC bars that will presumably still be sourced from small-ish farms we can trust.) Ultimately, as a corporation, GM sees the writing on the wall. The gluten- and grain-free market is exploding, while corn, soy, and wheat futures have got to be on a downward slope…even just a small, gradual one. The economic forecasters who watch this stuff and the people who crunch the numbers for these companies have obviously gotten wise to getting in early on the gradual shift to these other kinds of foods. I have no illusions that GM is doing this for anyone’s health or the good of mankind. BUT: when their long-term profits might happen to *coincide* with creating & supplying products that are better for our health and the environment, then that’s not automatically a terrible thing just because some “big bad” company is behind it. (In fact, maybe, just maybe, this will actually *expand* the field for young people who want to get into farming but feel like the barriers to entry are just too high, or that there’s too much risk. The more the demand for this kind of food grows — regardless of who sells/supplies it — the more people might be inclined to follow their hearts and raise animals and grow produce this way. It remains to be seen whether this will actually play out so well in the long-run, but I’ll try to be optimistic about it.)
I think a lot of people forget that their own personal financial solvency is often wrapped up in the profits and long-term futures of these kinds of corporations, via having them as part of an IRA, 401(k), 529 college savings plan, or whatever. I would like to see some fundamental changes in the U.S. corporate economic model, but until that happens, I don’t necessarily want large companies to go bankrupt. I’d just rather them make different products, and it looks like this is one step, however small, in that direction.
I think a mega-company like GM generally wants to make everything “bigger, faster, CHEAPER,” as Joel Salatin likes to say, but when their accounting people realize that there’s a decent-sized customer base willing to pay nearly $3.00 for a single EPIC bar, they start to see that some of us really are willing to pony up a little more cash for a better product. They don’t necessarily have to limit themselves to marketing to people who want 4-pound boxes of Lucky Charms they can get at the warehouse store. 😉
Robb Wolf says
Thanks Amy! And I could be wrong about this, jsut think we should give them a chance to show how this will play out.
Taylor Collins says
This is a bold move and big statement from one of the biggest food companies in the world. They went from zero experience in meat to purchasing the most premium/high quality meat snacks company in the market. Thats amazing to me! GM ascended the learning curve so quickly that they bypassed owning a company with “shitty meat” and then realizing that they needed “less shitty meat”.
Katie and I are staying with the company to guide EPIC and also inspire GM. We dont need to be here, but we want to. GM doesn’t want to fuck this thing up, and we are helping them learn how to avoid that.
Matt Cochard says
“Katie and I are staying with the company to guide EPIC and also inspire GM. We dont need to be here, but we want to. GM doesn’t want to fuck this thing up, and we are helping them learn how to avoid that.”
Clearly language from a founder who cashed out a nice 7, 8 or 9 figure payday on the sale, congrats…that’s just about every small-business entrepreneur’s dream, however I find it hard to believe that GIS will continue to maintain the integrity of the food sourcing and business practices initiated and implemented by the original founders. They simply won’t have the motivation even if they lose their original customers as the product gets diluted and tainted and pushed to the millions of new customers swayed by the “healthy” labeling/marketing machine that these Fortune 500 companies have access to. I’m not discounting the product or message you had originally produced and envisioned but it’s almost impossible to sustain this type of product with legit margins at the size and capacity that GIS is looking to do as they expose it to middle America soccer/hockey moms.
Taylor/Katie- I sincerely hope that you are about to sustain an autonomous voice/business without having to answer to the cost/margin question as these non-growth, GMO-supporting, next-fad-seeking businesses continue to acquire real, positively-impacting and successful growing small businesses ( i.e. Suja juice). The consumer will appreciate that and subsequently place you in the court of public opinion & ultimately decide with our wallets. Congrats on the sale nonetheless, lots of small business owners applaud you.
Carter Lewis says
I think this is awesome.
My wife and I own a prepared meal delivery business that believes very strongly in the sourcing of our ingredients. We enjoy Epic bars and have even sold them as “add-ons” through our site. I hope that GM will take what Epic has begun and continue the Epic mission. Small(er) businesses, like Epic, have made a significant impact in local and regional communities. Now, the opportunity is to take this kind of supply to meet a growing, wider demand. There is no denying that GM could swing this opportunity in a way that Epic’s followers may not like. But I, personally, think this is great news for everyone involved. Fingers crossed that (more) Big Companies will begin to see the light. Kudos to Taylor and Katie!
sally dodge says
General Mills spent almost $1M in 2013 to kill the GMO labeling bill in Washington, and they are trying to coop the Vermont law through the Grocery Manufacturers Association. I don’t believe they have the interests of small ag or consumer health in mind at all.
“Bite-size products and jerky trail mix are less intimidating, although the trail mix is basically an EPIC bar deconstructed. There is just so much opportunity for innovation and creativity in the meat space. I mean, it’s amazing to me that there hasn’t been really clean bacon bits for salads on the market before we came up with them.
charles grashow says
My wife and I both tried one – the WORST tasting “food” we’ve EVER eaten – like cardboard
Will NEVER eat it again
Robb Wolf says
HA! that is shocking Charlie. My finicky kids love them. De gustibus non est disputandum
Robb Wolf says
Charlie- When did you buy that? From online or a brick & mortar store??
Mike Growe says
Hi Robb. I am a very synical person. I do not think that GM has the best interest at heart. I think you are right. They do see the writing on the wall. I think they are just front running the food industry by buying up their future competition. GM fought against GMO labeling. How come they don’t come out and say themselves that they are more interested in sustainable farming? Why don’t they prove it with their other products? I just do not see their dedication. I respect you Mr Wolf. I really. Your Web site and two others are the ones that helped me immensely with my autoimmune disorder. I really hope that this works out and GM really does, at the very least, keep Epic pure.
Robb Wolf says
I talked a lot in the special podcast about this today. give it a listen!
I don’t really have anything fresh to say here, but every time I read about this takeover I start tearing up. Taylor and Epic Bar, I hope that you are right, and I hope Robb is right, and I hope I’m being overly cynical. But I can’t believe that the quality and integrity of Epic Bar will not be compromised by this situation. It seems naive to think that GM can really be changed by “buying the competition”. I love Epic products and I hope I can continue to support them and buy them. And if not, I guess I have to learn to make my own chicken sriracha bars.
Nick Lo says
Robb, I’ve read this post and listened to the podcast, but I’ve not found any further explanation of how this will “affect change on a global scale”.
Being that I live in Australia, I’m not a customer of EPIC and were it not for the suggestion that this acquisition would help things “get big” and that “it takes courage to change the world” (quote from co-founder Katie Forrest) I wouldn’t have paid an undue amount of attention. However, as you’re unquestionably aware, General Mills is already hard at work changing the world, or more specifically, introducing its heritage brands to what are often referred to as “emerging markets” (i.e. China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, etc). EPIC’s focus is clearly on cleaning up the meat production systems in the US, which is unquestionably admirable, as is their, and your, work with The Savory Institute, however, included in the rest of the world are countries like Australia and New Zealand whose meat production is not broken to the extent US production appears to be. We can easily purchase varying qualities of grass-fed, pasture-raised meats from our supermarkets (In fact I started eating red meat again exactly for this reason and just finished some delicious supermarket purchased organic lamb. So good!). It would actually be extremely ironic (not to mention of questionable progress from a sustainability point of view) if I was to see imported US grass-fed meat food products on Australian or New Zealand shelves.
So, putting aside any teasing references to the types of rhetoric we in the rest of the world are used to seeing from the US (“World Series Baseball” anyone?), my question is: Can you elaborate on how you, and EPIC, envisage this impacting on a “global scale” beyond hopefully repairing US industrial meat production such that its shadow ceases to loom over the rest of us?
Robb Wolf says
Short answer is getting more bandwidth behind the Savory Institute and validating the holistic management process is where the change occurs.It’s a great point that you make that meat production elsewhere is not nearly as broken as in the US…but it is being exported.
Nick Lo says
Robb, and EPIC and all, in that spirit; if you’re not already aware of him, you may also be interested in the work of Peter Andrews here in Australia with regards to land rejuvenation:
He has a book “Back from the brink” and has appeared on ABC’s
“Australian Story”. Very much worth watching if you can find a viewable source (I’d try but I don’t know what would be region limited).
I have loved Epic Bars from the very beginning and buy them by the box. I rely on them as part of my clean eating protocol for keeping multiple autoimmune diseases in remission.
My son lives in another state and travels to China often – he fills his suitcase with Epic Bars every trip. They’re often the only protein products he eats there.
It doesn’t matter who owns or is making money on Epic Bars, we only care that the ingredients and the integrity of the product stay the same. It would be a massive blow to lose this. Is there an agreement keep the products 100% the same in every way?
My girlfriend has food allergies. Besides the inability to eat gluten products, she must eat a specific carbohydrate diet (see celiac) or she succumbs to multi-day sickness. Even trace amounts of artificial preservatives or an ingredient not safe on the SCD can cause problems. She always emails companies first to find out what hidden ingredients are in the product. For example, what if fruits or nuts are processed with external sugars or oils?? She cant have that. Another example is where does the lactic acid come from? Only plant derived is safe for her. Applegate meats are one company like this. Even their “organic” products have hidden processed ingredients she wouldn’t have known about had she not emailed them first. She’s been overjoyed to find Epic Bars has some products safe for her to consume (Chicken Sesame BBQ bites, Turkey bar, and Pulled Pork pineapple bar) and she’s passed this on to the SCD community. There’s a LOT of people in this group looking for safe foods to eat. If one ingredient is compromised (starting back at the supplier) with addition of unnecessary ingredients, there will be a lot of sick and former customers. Lawsuits perhaps?
I recently discovered Epic bison/bacon bars, and they are my new favorite thing! I’m on a very restricted diet at the moment, so having something easy and GOOD is a godsend. So I’m hoping against hope they won’t get screwed up. (I had a bad experience with Larabar when it was bought out. Gluten contamination? I’ll never know. And what’s up with all the chocolate chip junky flavors?)
My only request: please make more nightshade-free flavors. I’d love to expand my Epic repertoire!
Your work has been life changing for me personally, so I take everything you say very seriously. You have a lot to say on this topic, so just wondering if you have a horse in this race (financially or otherwise) or is this just your ongoing obligation to keep up fully informed? Thanks
As far as I know Robb has no financial ties or anything to EPIC and is just doing this for informational purposes.
Josh Tabin says
My wife (Zora of wildzora.com) and I were surprised and intrigued to see this announcement last week. We commend Katie and Taylor for carefully making this decision and staying committed to changing our food system – now from within a larger food company. As a fellow premium, natural and ethically-focused producer of meat-based snacks we agree it’s our responsibility to source ingredients and make our products in a way that not only satisfies our tastebuds, but also the deeper needs of our bodies and the planet. For us, that means making our bars with grass-fed, natural and free-range meat, organic veggies and savory spices. What’s more, when we get our ingredients from local farmers and ranchers here in Colorado, we’re directly impacting our local agricultural system. When we saw this news last week, we took it as a more personal challenge to continue to influence the food system as a smaller, family-owned producer. Our hope is that together, producers large and small, we can create a long-lasting impact on our food system and continue to see exciting growth in our category. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!
There goes the no hormones and grass fed only. It’s a corporation that will forgo such things for profit in time. “A good thing” huh?
Elizabeth Ayche says
It now appears that since GM bought them out (and like you didn’t know this would happen) they are no longer “grass fed”. They removed grass fed from the package and on the back are now “vegetarian fed”.
How is this a good thing?
i just purchased some epic bars and they no longer say ‘grass-fed’. what-up??
Can anyone confirm that as of today (Oct 8, 2016) that the meat in the EPIC Beef Habanero-Cherry bar and the meat in the EPIC Lamb Currant bar are no longer organic? If so, this is a very significant negative change for food safety — obviously I will not be purchasing any more of those bars.
Also, the labeling of the salmon in the EPIC Salmon bar that is shown on Amazon continues to read that it is “wild-caught.” Can anyone confirm that it truly continues to be “wild-caught?” With the approval of genetically-modified salmon in the U.S. within the last year or so, I am concerned that the salmon in the EPIC bar may be changed by GM to a genetically-modified version or a farm-raised version. That would mean I would not be purchasing any EPIC bars in the future. Truly sad.
If responses to the above are negative, then hopefully a new competitor will arrive to take the market that Taylor and Katie discovered and successfully market a similar CLEAN food product AND then NOT sell their company to a Big Food corporation that would make changes to the product rendering it harmful to our collective health, i.e., maintaining a monopoly with an unsafe food product and denying consumers access to a commercially available clean food product.
They are still grass-fed bison, beef, and lamb. The salmon is still wild-caught.
And then the contaminated bars happened and I find your food in discount grocery stores. Selling out was the worst thing to happen to Epic, I’m sure the line will be killed soon.
Robb Wolf says
Perhaps you should stick to walking on water, rising from the dead and talking about the dangers of pork. These folks have had no contamination issue…or do you have some other Divine Insight that the major news wires are not privy to??
Looks like GM is making a habit of doing this. http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=9281&catId=1 . I think it’s good that a different way of eating and consuming is getting attention from the big boys. It will never replace our personal responsibility to do our due diligence in sourcing our food, but at least companies like GM will make it more available and accessible to those who don’t know to ask. My two cents.
I have recently come across this product, and noticed that the protein amount has been reduced in a few of the bars (Beef, habanero, cherry flavor). The sodium also increased by quite a bit. It also appears that the beef is no longer grassfed and/or organic, and is now just listed as beef.
What is the reasoning behind this? It sounds like General Mills way of cutting overhead on the product for a higher profit margin, instead of staying true to a healthy snack when on the go.
It’s unfortunate that the meat used is no longer organic or grass fed. They decreased the protein per bar, and increased the sodium.
How can you alter the product for the worse, and still expect to charge the same amount of money?
Yeah GM has already started to ruin a once awesome and healthy meal/snack bar. Less protein, more sodium and no longer organic and grass fed! I was going to buy another package of these bars and when i saw the changes I put it down and walked away, sorry I know you guys wanted to make a better profit, but I think people are going to catch on to this and stop buying your now crappy bars. Sad to say goodbye, but will find a healthier option or make my own.
Robb Wolf says
I don’t believe any of this is accurate.
Can confirm they have changed. Compare this review of the products which includes nutrition labels (originally published in 2014) https://ultimatepaleoguide.com/epic-bar-review/ to the current nutrition information on the Epic website. Protein has gone down in every variety; carbs have gone up in all but one. They are not the same bars anymore.
I didn’t even realize there was a change in ownership or a change in the recipes until I stumbled across this site today. I was only searching to try to find out why I can no longer find the beef variety in stores near me, and only seldom am able to find the bison. But now that I’ve seen the changes, I’m looking into finding a whole new brand or doing homemade, anyway.
MAX AHARTZ says
I don’t believe you still don’t see what’s going on as an ever growing number of us do. The quality of Epics Bars is changing since the GM buyout and for the worse.
To quote Epic Bars website:
“To supplement our bison supply, we also source from a network of bison ranchers for our natural bison products. All natural bison are raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. EPIC currently utilizes two “tiers” of “natural” bison. While all the natural bison at “tier one” are pasture-raised, grass-fed during their first year of life, they are transferred to pasture paddocks and offered a “free choice feed program” where the bison have “options” to eat what they want. The supplemental feed offered is alfalfa, corn, soy, wheat, barley hulls, grain, or forage (hay) none of which have been Non-GMO project verified.”
We all know that grain finished meat is NOT as healthy as 100% Grass Fed. Furthermore, this feed has not been verified to be free of GMO’s.
Furthermore, the label on the wrapper is cleverly disguised to fool most loyal customers into continuing to buy this product not realizing the changes. Go ahead and grab an original bar and a 100% “Natural” bar, side by side. They are identical in every way, except for the “Natural” versus “Grass- fed” wording. A friend of mine just purchased the bison bars from Thrive Markets website. They advertise it as the original “100% Grass fed” Bison product. However, what he received was the “100% Natural” product. How many other suppliers are doing the same “false advertising”?
Taylor and Katie,
What I am really trying to grasp is how asking your loyal customer base to buy a “Frankenfood” from you now, will lead to a bigger supply chain of the “right” way to do things in the future, as you originally envisioned?
MAX AHARTZ says
Robb, believe what you want. You state you are a former research biochemist. I’m floored you haven’t found the evidence this bar has changed for the worse. Taylor and Katie mention it on their own website here: https://epicbar.com/animals.html
To sum it up, not enough bison farmers are doing it the right way to keep up with demand, so they are using sources that grain finish their bison and selling it as their “100% Natural bison” bar. They even state that the corn, soy, and wheat they feed them is not Non-GMO verified.
Please explain to us how this is positive change?
Johnson Parker says
Hi Robb and Readers,
After seeing all of the flak that you were catching in these comments, I thought it would be worth revisiting a few years later… General Mills has not been perfect, nor are most companies, but the voice Epic is carrying within General Mills seems to be providing some valuable results in furthering the mission that Taylor and Katie built Epic on :
Hope to see more companies going this direction… and fewer commenters being such pessimists. No one is perfect.
Loretta Peters Martin says
I was with Epic Bars from the very beginning. The customer service used to be great. They used to email back right away, or at least within 24 hours. I’ve tried contacting them 3 times over the past couple of months (it is now 2019), and have not received any response. And a couple of the products I’ve purchased in the recent past have a horrible, rancid taste, even though the expiration date isn’t until next year. I won’t be purchasing Epic products anymore. General Mills goes against everything I stand for, and for way too many reasons to post here.