Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LaraBar- A Short Story of Love and Betrayal (and a giveaway)

I recently received not one, but two boxes of LaraBars--free! I was feeling so excited because I had sampled, and loved, the bars and was (notice past tense?) going to blog rave reviews about them. I wrote to the company and told them how much I loved the bars. They sent me a first sample.

They must have known that I needed more incentive to complete the post, but not even two free handouts can bring me to write the glowing reviews I had in mind.

After some research, I found that LaraBar is owned by General Mills, whose principle investors include GE, Target, Phillip Morris, Exxon Mobile and Pfizer.

I felt betrayed. You know that feeling you had as a kid when you realized that your best friend was actually someone else's best friend?

I had finally found an energy bar that I liked. I normally can't stand too-sweet, carob-flavored, protein-powdery energy bars. They never seem worth the caloric intake--I'd rather eat some fruit and nuts, and of course chocolate. But LaraBars are actually delicious!! They are simply raw fruit and nut bars (hence the reason I love, I mean loved, them?) that are date sweetened. The bars come in flavors such as pecan pie, apple pie, banana bread, peanut butter and jelly or cocoa mole bars.

It is hard to accept that your best friend is not the person you thought they were. I'm sure if I looked in my pantry I would find many other brands of food that share a common bond with the LaraBars. That is why I don't always delve too deep--and why I try my best to buy fair trade, local and organic. But I did look deeper at the LaraBars, and now I know. I feel betrayed, yet also enlightened. I guess that's part of growing up.

I can't be sure that the bulk fruits and nuts that I buy are any better, but until I know differently, I will stick with them, or indulge in some homemade energy bars such as this Vegan Bar recipe by Rcakewalk. Hey, maybe I'll even wander the cookie and chocolate aisle more often; it never hurts to make some new friends.

Giveaway! Send me your favorite family-friendly story of love and betrayal. I will send the winner a small, unopened box of Larabars (If you still want to try them after reading this post:)


RCakeWalk said...

You are funny... I think that the homemade version could be endlessly adaptable! In fact, ThatVeganBlog, where I found the recipe, called them Homemade LaraBars. Not only are they super tasty, you can whip them up in the food pro in about 45 seconds. It takes longer to wash up afterwards, and there is no packaging!

sarah from larabar said...

This is Sarah and I've worked for Larabar for 5 years. I read your post and would love to chat with you about Larabar and the acquisition to General Mills. I'd love to answer any questions and show you we are the same as we've always been. If you are interested, please email me at sarah at larabar dot com.

Leslie said...

Well my dog Oliver betrays me a lot. He's so friendly that it takes him only 2 seconds to fall in love with another person and forget about me! hehe
Hmm..I've never had a LaraBar. I'd love to try it and maybe give Oliver a little piece too :)

Otehlia said...

Well, I had a great amount of feedback to this post, and I appreciate all the perspectives. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, and my life interesting.

Otehlia said...

I just wanted to share with everyone what Sarah from LaraBar wrote to me. I hope that's okay, Sarah.

I will tell you that we are almost 2 years since the acquisition and it has been a very positive experience. Truthfully, better than I ever imagined. As I mentioned, I’ve been a part of Larabar for 5 years—both pre & post acquisition. From the beginning, all of the people at General Mills have been beyond respectful of how we built Larabar and they want to learn from us. Larabar continues to be run out of the original Denver office, with the same staff, same manufacturing, same dog in the office.

I understand from reading your post that you felt betrayed by the news and I am sorry about that. I also understand the feeling of finding out something is not what you thought it was. Hopefully through sharing with you and answering any questions you may have, we can begin to regain your trust in Larabar.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks again for reaching out—


Here is a letter from Lara in 2009 regarding the acquisition.

Thank you for your interest about LÄRABAR joining General Mills. We’ve always cherished our passionate and loyal LÄRABAR customers and truly value the open dialogue cultivated over the years.

The first thing I want to emphasize is that the sale of our company is great news. General Mills has been around since the 1880’s, and you don’t stick around that long without understanding and, more important, respecting the ever-changing needs of your consumers.

In 1999, General Mills launched a new division of its company called “Small Planet Foods,” dedicated to natural and organic products. You may have seen the brands in grocery stores: Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms. LÄRABAR will be part of Small Planet Foods, conducting business as usual and continuing to produce and innovate the healthiest foods possible.

Healthy eating, after all, enriches everyone’s life—not just the lives of those deep-rooted in the natural and organic foods community. I believe people from all walks of life should have access to healthy foods, and there is no better company on the planet than General Mills to broaden the access to LÄRABAR.

We’re proud of the job we’ve done growing our business, and we’re equally proud that General Mills has recognized the magic of LÄRABAR and, through its tremendous resources, wants to take us to a higher level and a greater reach that we could have never achieved on our own.

The world will be better for it.

Melinda said...

I know what you mean- I wasn't the happiest either when they switched over to General Mills. I had several of my family betray me for several years over my brother's girlfriend- who did everything in her power to ruin my life. She was very good at putting on such a sweet front, but was mean as the devil inside. After years of praying and holding my tongue- she is finally gone! But the hurt is still there from the betrayal- I forgive them, but I don't think that hurt will ever leave.

melindapollard (at) gmail (dot) com

Otehlia said...

Thanks for all your comments. Leslie will be enjoying the bars , and maybe a little local Madison gift as well:)