Raising the Bar

By AFM Staff – March 1, 2015
photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Epic Bar

Started by Austin natives, Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest, Epic Bar is a staple for anyone adhering to the paleo diet. After a brief stint living as vegetarians, the husband and wife team decided to reintroduce meat into their diet. Shortly thereafter, an epic idea was born. Epic creates meat-based protein bars, offering unique savory flavors like beef, bison, lamb, turkey, and liver—their newest release. With products that contain between 10–16 grams of protein, Epic Bar is nothing short of nutrient dense. Although the taste of these bars is generally revered, the texture may take some getting used to (think thick, soft jerky). Once the taste is acquired, don’t be surprised if you find yourself storing them in your glove box, office drawer, gym locker, purse, or in the pantry underneath a sticky note with your name on it.  epicbar.com

“I enjoyed the Turkey bar. The berries and seasonings gave it a unique taste. Almost like Thanksgiving in a bite.”

“The Bison bar is amazing! The Liver bar is definitely for a small market though.”

Flavors: Beef Habanero Cherry; Bison Bacon Cranberry; Lamb Currant Mint; Turkey Almond Cranberry; Beef and Liver with Sea Salt

Gluten-Free, Paleo Friendly, Low Glycemic


Oatmega looks like a candy bar. It crunches like a candy bar. And yet, it’s low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of Omega-3’s. This bar uses grass-fed whey protein, and while it doesn’t have that “chalky” taste that’s associated with many other bars and powders, it definitely resonates with the palate as a distinguishable protein bar. Oatmega is best suited for someone trying to manage a sweet tooth by substituting in healthier options. It’s light, but decadent and reminiscent of a rice crispy treat.

Trevor Ross, who once worked in Austin’s booming tech scene, initially started making protein bars just for himself. As a former engineer, he focused on the science behind a protein bar that would feed both mind and body. Once he figured out the perfect recipe, the demand for Oatmega bars grew, and still continues to grow today. givebar.com

“It was pretty delicious but still had that faint protein powder aftertaste.”

“You could probably trick your brain into thinking you're eating a chocolate bar. But not as 'natural' as I would like.”

Flavors: Chocolate Mint; Chocolate Peanut; Vanilla Almond; Brownie; Wild Blueberry

Gluten-Free, Non-GMO


Whether you like it or not, crickets are infiltrating the American diet. While entomophagy (eating insects) is not uncommon in other parts of the world, Western culture has been slow to adopt this bug-eating habit. Now that it’s making a mark in the protein bar business, people are learning more about the benefits; it’s the most sustainable form of protein, it’s gluten-free, and it doesn’t have an overbearing taste. 

The Hopper Bar—created by Jack Ceadel, John Tucker, and Marta Hudecova—is the direct result of an active lifestyle, creativity, and the desire to have a powerful social impact. Similar to the way Americans acclimated to raw fish and seaweed when sushi first arrived on the food scene, the Hopper bar team is determined to normalize the use of cricket flour (finely ground crickets). Each individual bar contains approximately 25 crickets, but we solemnly swear you’ll never be able to tell.  hopperatx.com

“Tastes like trail mix in a soft bar form. No trace of distinct cricket flavor.”

“Earthy, tastes healthy. Texture is awesome—not too crunchy and not too chewy.”

Flavors: Berry & Pistachio; Peanut Butter, Cherry and Cacao

Gluten-free, Soy-free, Low-Glycemic, Non-GMO

Bearded Brothers

These raw, vegan bars have managed to strike the perfect balance between flavor and texture. People have been making energy bars for a while now, but somewhere along the way they all began tasting the same. Bearded Brothers broke the mold with their energy bars by keeping it simple with everything from the packaging to the ingredients. Caleb and Chris, the duo behind the namesake, have a passion for the great outdoors and leading an active lifestyle that shines through in this satisfyingly sized snack food. The variation of flavors is commendable. However, this bar may be more appropriate for those hunger pangs that hit you at the office rather than before a post-marathon training session. beardedbros.com

“The Radical Raspberry Lemon bar tastes like gummy bears!”

“Really heavy on the figs and dates—which I assume is something that vegans like.”

Flavors: Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla; Mega Maca Chocolate; Colossal Coconut Mango; Fabulous Ginger Peach; Radical Raspberry Lemon Bar; Outrageous Orange Kale

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Organic


Outlaw Bar

The Outlaw Protein Bar is a mini bar that packs a punch. Weighing in at only 1.13 ounces, it comes in three tasty flavors and packs a hearty 10 grams of protein. Outlaw Protein and Energy Fuel is likely to be the best option for anyone who has a tough time incorporating the recommended nutrients in their diet. For anyone with a larger appetite, Outlaw also offers a mega-sized bar made up of three mini bars in one package. 

It should come as no surprise that a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist crafted this special snack. Founder Laura Chavez applied her 20 years of experience in the health industry to create a texturally satisfying protein bar that fits in the diets of vegetarians, paleo followers, gluten intolerants, and everyone in between. outlawprotein.com

“This bar could be a meal replacement. The bar is thick and I felt energized after just one bite.”

“The cacao nib almond was not as flavorful as I would've hoped.”

Flavors: Cashew Apricot; Cacao Nib & Almond; Coconut Pecan

Paleo, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Low Glycemic


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