Future-proofing delicious and nutritious bars with OPTIBAR®

08, 2024
4 min

Bars are a globally popular format for nutrition on the go. But when it comes to satisfying key consumer trends, two major stumbling blocks are holding the market back: it’s difficult to add lots of protein without a negative impact on texture, and it’s tricky to create cereal bars that are not high in sugar.

At least that was the case until we perfected a new ingredient that makes their production (almost literally) a piece of cake. By harnessing the superior dissolution and functional properties of natural collagen peptides, OPTIBAR® is a game changer.

Key consumer demands

High protein and low sugar are two of the biggest consumer demands in sports nutrition and cereal bars.

Research shows that the top two most influential claims in the sports nutrition sector are ‘high source of protein’ and ‘low sugar’. (1) However, there is a gap in the market for low sugar products. While 26 percent of consumers are influenced by this benefit, just 11 to 16 percent of recent launches have cited it. (1)

In cereal bars also, there is room for improvement. Bars occupy the second biggest slice of the €39 billion global cereals market (behind cold cereals and ahead of hot). Again, ‘no added sugar’ and ‘sugar-free’ are trending in this sector, with high protein already an established purchase driver. (2)

More protein, no sugar

So how does OPTIBAR® work? Well, its secret lies in the superior solubility of its specially optimized collagen peptide proteins.

Traditional milk or plant proteins tend to give bars a grainy, dry texture since they are only partially soluble. But since it dissolves so well, OPTIBAR® creates bars that are smoother and softer throughout their shelf life – even at very high protein levels.

For best results, we recommend using it together with whey or plant-based proteins: They add structure, while OPTIBAR® ensures homogeneity and a pleasant bite.

In bars with up to 40 percent protein, OPTIBAR® helps to soften the finished product. At between 40 and 60 percent protein, it ensures a long-lasting, soft and indulgent texture. OPTIBAR® even allows delicious bars with more than 60 percent protein to be created. Thus, it overcomes the previous problem of this level of protein giving an unpalatable, crumbly texture, and allows finished products to carry appropriate ‘high protein’ claims.

While it also helps to boost the protein content of cereal bars, the major benefit of OPTIBAR® in these applications is its functionality as a sugar-free binder. Until now, cereal bars have relied heavily on sugar-rich syrups to hold the dry ingredients together. But OPTIBAR® can replace these binders with a sugar-free solution. It works with all sorts of cereal bar ingredients and can be cut and shaped to create pleasantly crunchy products with special visual appeal and appropriate ‘sugar-free’, ‘reduced sugar’ and ‘low sugar’ claims (under EU Regulation 1924/2006).

Versatile and efficient

OPTIBAR® has excellent bioavailability and its neutral taste is perfect for sweet as well as savory applications. It is easy to customise with flavors, sweeteners, colorants and dietary fibers. It also combines well with other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, or with ingredients like dried fruits and cereals. Being completely natural, OPTIBAR® is free from GMO and E-numbers, so it contributes to a clean label too.

To find out more about how OPTIBAR® can help you create future proof bars with ease, please contact us at https://www.gelita.com/en/contact.



(1) Innova Market Insights, Category Insider: Fuelling the World with Sports Nutrition, 2023.

(2) Innova Market Insights, Category Review: What’s Trending in Cereal & Energy Bars – Global, October 2023.