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- Meat bars are an unlikely, protein-rich snack that seem to be popping up everywhere.
- Epic Provisions can be credited for the boom. The company was born out out of a quest to find a healthy, high-protein paleo snack, which led to the original Epic meat bar.
- Epic focuses on sourcing high-quality, natural ingredients that are better for your health and the environment, and caters to multiple dietary lifestyles such as gluten-free, paleo, keto, and Whole 30.
- Low in calories, high in protein, and made in interesting flavors that you’ll actually want to eat, Epic bars ($3 each) will convince you that a protein bar made out of meat isn’t that strange at at all. They might even make you put down those granola bars for good.
If you’re looking for a high-protein snack to fuel your next workout, keep your stomach silent during that midday meeting, or avoid getting hangry in class, you’re one of many.
Consumer demand for products high in protein is growing with no sign of slowing down, according to recent reports. A heavy dose of protein alone is not enough, though. With conversations around health, wellness, and sustainability at the forefront, consumers have more than just high expectations for how their food tastes – they care about how their protein is sourced and produced, too.
So, where do go when you need a nutrient-dense, high-protein snack made with whole foods and no GMOs ?
The answer, at least for non-vegetarians, is Epic.
Born out of a need for convenient, high protein snacks that were also paleo-friendly, Epic Provisions was founded by husband and wife duo Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins. The co-founders had been experimenting with different diets to improve their health and well-being. When being vegetarian went awry, they went vegan; when that didn’t work they tried following a fully raw, plant-based diet. It wasn’t until they gave the paleo diet (which calls for eating the same whole foods as our ancestors, hence the common nickname “caveman diet”) a chance that they saw their health improve.
They went full force and committed to this new lifestyle and way of eating, which emphasizes incorporating lots of healthy animal fats and proteins. Yet, they were disappointed to find that there weren’t many convenient, paleo-friendly snacks they could rely on when they were out of their own kitchen and on the go. Their solution was a protein bar, but not like the ones you’re used to seeing in the snack aisle. They picked a healthy, popular protein source that many of us are only used to eating with a fork and knife: meat.
Incorporating meat into snack bar form was an unusual idea at first (unless you’re already a big fan of jerky), but it has since paid off. In 2016, Epic was acquired by industry giant General Mills. Beyond that, the brand has created a new snack category that’s perfect for paleo, keto, Whole 30, and regular-but-hungry bellies alike.
What’s in an Epic bar
Though the company has since expanded beyond bars to snack strips, jerky, and bites, the original meat bar is what put Epic on the map, and is still one of their most popular products. The meat-based bars come in 11 different flavors ranging from a simple Smoked Maple Bacon Bar to a spicy Beef Habanero Cherry Walnut Bar. Whether you go for chicken, pork, or salmon, Epic prides themselves on sourcing the best proteins out there (for you and the environment). The brand is strongly focused on bettering their supply chain and improving standards and transparency in the meat industry. To keep their consumers informed, Epic has a section dedicated to explaining their supply chain processes.
You don’t have to read through the site though to know that these bars boast wholesome ingredients. On each bar, conveniently packaged as a single serving, you’ll find the most prominent ingredients labeled in big, bold letters – not to be missed. Scanning a selection of the bars will lead you to find ingredients like 100% natural chicken and 100% grass-fed bison, among other whole foods like dried fruits.
If the healthy ingredients don’t speak for themselves, take a peek at the nutrition labels and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Most bars hover just over 100 calories and are full of protein, usually between seven and 13 grams. Thanks to the lack of additives, you’ll find low sugar and low sodium, too.
Then of course, there’s the taste – because a snack is only as good as it tastes. Luckily, for all you protein-seeking snackers, Epic meat bars taste great. The mix of natural, sustainable meat with nutrient-rich fruit and nuts gives each Epic bar layers of savory, rich flavor. The consistency is thicker and juicier than jerky, so it feels like a substantial snack, especially considering the low calories. My personal favorite is the Chicken Sriracha Bar, which has a nice chew and a spicy kick – these helped me make it through a semester of five consecutive hours of class in a row.
- Epic Facebook
As a consumer, my favorite part about Epic Provisions is that it’s making delicious snacks that work for me – I love the way they taste and not only keep me satiated, but actually satisfied. The other thing I appreciate is that Epic is doing some pretty cool stuff besides making meat bars. After the close of each year, you can find an Impact Journal outlining key initiatives the brand is working on, as well as features and interviews with ranchers, suppliers, and other people in the Epic pipeline.
Epic’s commitment to bettering the meat industry extends beyond choosing to use grass-fed, humanely raised animals. The brand supports organizations that promote animal welfare and land restoration projects, most notably the Savory Institute. As a player in an industry that is known for contributing negatively to the environment, Epic is changing the paradigm – supporting ranchers who are positively impacting the environment with better land management. As consumers, we can feel at least somewhat better knowing that our purchases are not only doing better by us, but the environment on a broader scale.
The convenient packaging, nutrient density, and selection of unique, delicious flavors make Epic bars the MVP of the snack aisle, if you ask me. Whether you’re taking one in your backpack to refuel after a long hike or throwing one in your purse in case of any hunger emergencies, Epic meat bars are perfect for all kinds of snackers.