Flavorful berries and bits of rich dark chocolate star in the latest entries in an expanding line of all-natural fruit bars made using technology from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.
FruitFast of Eastport, Mich., holds a license from ARS for the process used to create the bars, which are on sale at health food and specialty grocery stores in the Midwest, and on the Web at www.FruitFast.com/.
Research leader and food technologist Tara H. McHugh at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., and now-retired ARS agricultural engineer Charles Huxsoll invented and patented the procedure that allows processing of freshly harvested, perishable fruits into convenient, nutritious bars that are free of fat, cholesterol and preservatives.
The bars can be enjoyed year-round as a snack at school, work, home or on-the-go, and may help more people get the recommended number of daily servings of fruits. Currently, an estimated 80 percent of Americans dont eat a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The MixedBerry bar provides a sweet-tart blend of berries including black raspberries, red raspberries, wild blueberries, and strawberries, with a hint of apple puree. The MixedBerry with Dark Chocolate bar offers a berry-and-apple-puree blend with pieces of dark chocolate throughout.
Berries used in the bars, as well as the dark chocolate, contain antioxidants, compounds shown to have many health benefits.
FruitFast began marketing the two kinds of MixedBerry bars earlier this year. The company also uses the ARS process for creating CherryFlex, Wild BlueberryIQ, and Wonderful Pomegranate Bars.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agricultures chief scientific research agency.