As the makers of the Original Refrigerated Protein Bar, we have faced one question over and over again: “Wait, you’re stored in the fridge? Why?” Simply put it is because the fresh nature of our bars – I mean, real food is kept cold, right? Think fruits and vegetables. The best bite of an apple is one that is crisp and fresh from the fridge. Our bars are similar – they are best fresh from the fridge. But, don’t worry if you need to take yours with you — our bars are good for a week at room temp!
Let’s dig a little deeper about the refrigeration thing and get a better understanding of why it is we chose to toss our nut butter protein bars in the fridge and forgo the shelf-stable option like many other protein bars.
One of the main reasons why Perfect Bar is a refrigerated protein bar is because we don’t use chemical preservatives or emulsifiers to create our bars, therefore refrigeration is required. What does this mean exactly? Though there are all types of natural food preservation – sugar, salt, smoke – that have existed for centuries, our food system in the modern-age has developed tactics that distorts or perverts food in ways that can make it stable to sit on a shelf without natural forms of preservations for months or even years without changing its make up.
Though in extreme environments or cases, this may be a viable option – think storm shelters or things of this variation. But for us, and those who want to add positive nutrition and whole food protein to our lives in healthy, quality ways, eating something that has sat on a shelf collecting dust for months at a time isn’t something that was particularly of interest to us when formulating the original Perfect Bar recipe.
So, we turned to tactics of old and found two, in particular, that made sense to us nutritionally and aligned with our core company values — the cold and organic honey. Refrigeration, then, was a natural preservation of the high-quality ingredients, always gluten free, soy free and Non-GMO Project Verified, and one that has remained central to our brand. This requirement stems from the need for our bars to stay at their optimal consistency, freshness and maintain the flavor you know and love.
Let’s rewind and take a look at the history of refrigeration, after all, it is one of natures oldest preservatives as our CEO, Bill Keith says.
Refrigeration was invented back in 1748 by William Cullen but was never fully executed or demonstrated. It wasn’t until 1844 when a US physician named John Gorrie built a refrigerator, based off of Oliver Evans design, with the sole purpose of producing ice for cooling air for yellow fever patients. It wasn’t until later in 1857 that the first ice making machine was invented for food purposes, such as storing meat and brewing by James Harrison.
Before both refrigeration and freezing were invented, people were using “refrigeration” to keep their meat fresh and other products but it was done in a very make-shift way using snow or ice found in the mountains. The first known “refrigerators or freezers” if you will, were simply holes dug in the ground and filled with ice and snow and would typically last a week. It’s safe to say that refrigeration has been around longer than you would expect and is one of the oldest ways to preserve fresh food.
Fast forward to today, the trend of fresh food and fresh snacking is continuing to grow as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what is going in their food and what they are putting in their bodies.
The core reason the Keith Family turned to honey when formulating the original Perfect Bar recipe 13 years ago was for its sweetness. Honey was always around the Keith household growing up. Leigh Keith, President and Co-Founder of Perfect Bar, tells us that her mom still keeps a 5-gallon bucket of honey around the house. Honey, a naturally derived sugar, is slow-burning, causing a lower and slower rise in blood sugar which pairs perfectly ( if we do say so ourselves) with all the good-for-you fats in our bars, like nut butters and oils, and keeps them working in cohesion.
Which brings us to the second and equally important reason why the Keiths chose honey — to act as a binder for the blend of whole food ingredients. The mixture of dried fruits, vegetables and freshly ground nut butter made for a delicious and nutritious protein bar but was in need of something to hold it all together. That’s where honey comes in. It acts as both a sweetener and a binder working in conjunction with the cold of the refrigeration, which spares our refrigerated protein bars from needing any preservatives or emulsifiers. So without honey, Perfect Bar would quite literally fall apart and not be that creamy, cookie-dough texture our fans love so much.
Perfect Bar protein bars are never heated like most of the other protein, snack or nutrition bars. Our bars are hand-crafted then go straight into the fridge where they can maintain its shape and optimal texture until they get shipped to happy households and retail partners across the country.
If it weren’t for refrigeration, Perfect Bar would not be where it is today. Refrigeration is required to maintain the best and most consistent tasting protein bar but not to worry, our bars are good for one week out of the fridge and on the go at room temperature. What this means is that we make for the perfect go-to snack whether you’re going on a road trip, to work or just hanging around the house, we’re there for you.