It all started with a simple—but maybe a little strange—idea. Bring bacon on a bike ride.
Little did Taylor and Katie Collins know, this salty snack would inspire months of research and experimentation, and ultimately produce Epic Bar, a revolutionary product that has changed the common conception of a protein bar.
Both endurance athletes, Taylor and Katie are accustomed to spending long, grueling hours training for various races and, like most athletes, they relied on energy gels and chews to remain energized. During a two-week summer road trip of rigorous running and riding throughout the mountains of West Texas, the Collinses found their bodies weakening, yet they couldn’t imagine sucking down another fruity gel or chew. “Endurance athletes are sick and tired of relying on sweet and sugary,” Taylor said. More importantly, their bodies were craving protein, and the couple began brainstorming during their downtime between training. They thought about what they wanted in a bar—think meat—and came to the conclusion that nothing like that existed on the market.
After returning home, the Collinses made a drastic change to their training regimen and started bringing bacon for refueling. Once they realized what a positive effect protein had on the body, they wanted to create a bar that embodied everything they believed in—a quality, protein-packed snack with whole organic ingredients.
“We were just foodies,” Taylor said. “It was literally like becoming a mad scientist for a year and a half. We did so much research. There was no one doing it, so we had no one to call. We taught ourselves.”
Taylor and Katie immediately began experimenting with various ingredients and combinations, throwing out what didn’t work and keeping what did. After months of research, they hit the jackpot. They’d come up with a bar that provided sustained energy during training and made their bodies feel good. Epic was born.
In March of 2012, they launched Epic at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. The gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free bar was a hit and had people talking. Epic took the ubiquitous protein bar to a new level with its unique dominant ingredient: meat. “There are so many options for vegans and vegetarians, but not a lot of options for carnivores,” Taylor explained. “We wanted to establish something for them.”
The Epic Bar, sister company of Austin-based Thunderbird Energetica Bar, is an animal-based protein bar rendered from the meat of 100 percent grass-fed, pastured animals. Why grass fed? Grass-fed animals contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and antioxidants. “We believe that eating high quality meat is so much healthier than eating processed meat,” Taylor said. “Not only for the customer, but for the animals.”
Many people may wonder how a protein bar made from meat lasts on the shelf. The meat is dehydrated in a process similar to making jerky. The dehydrated meat is then mixed with wholesome nuts and dried fruits to make unique combinations. There are currently four different flavors available, with each ingredient pairing is specific to the type of meat.
Life is exciting and eventful for Taylor and Katie as this husband-wife team pursues a passion for creating high quality, healthy snacks. They continue to brainstorm different flavors for Epic, hoping to eventually develop seasonal bars. “This is a growing food trend that will become more prominent,” Taylor explained.