Interview - Sascha & Adam Jones - Set The Bar
What do you have in store to offer your customers who are either Type 2 Diabetics or who are simply looking for a snack that can stave off hunger, is wonderfully nutritious and totally portable? As we learned from Sascha Jones + Adam Jones, Co-Founders of Set The Bar Pty Ltd, their enerGi Bio Bars tick all the boxes.
FFW: Who is behind Set The Bar and the enerGi brand?
SET THE BAR: Brother – sister duo Adam Jones and Sascha Jones.
FFW: What led you to create a low GI snack bar?
SET THE BAR: We established our company Set The Bar and launched enerGi Bio Bars to help combat the ‘diabesity’ epidemic that’s increasing at an alarming rate across the globe. With research showing that up to 90 percent of Type 2 Diabetes cases can be prevented by embracing healthy habits such as eating low GI foods and regular exercise, enerGi Bio Bars provide a convenient low GI snack option for consumers.
We noticed a gap in the Australian market for snack bars that have research-backed health benefits and wanted to create a product that could deliver real results for their customers. It’s widely known that following a low GI diet can help to lower your risk of diabetes, curb inflammation, can assist with weight loss and has a positive impact on your overall wellbeing.
FFW: Can you tell us about the benefits of eating low GI?
SET THE BAR: A low GI diet can assist with weight loss as it cuts cravings and low GI foods digest slower, giving a sensation of satiety or fullness. Low GI foods release glucose into the bloodstream more slowly and more regularly, preventing sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to feelings of tiredness and lack of attention. A balanced blood glucose level avoids undue stress on the pancreas to produce insulin and glucagon, the hormones which regulate glucose uptake and release as energy stored in the body’s cells. Better energy storage and release means you feel more energetic, improves cognitive function, and promotes higher rates of fat oxidation, facilitating greater fat loss.
FFW: How do enerGi Bio Bars help?
SET THE BAR: All the ingredients in enerGi Bio Bars have been specifically selected for their low Glycemic Index. The bar contains 18 essential vitamins and minerals, is packed with prebiotics, probiotics and dietary fibre, is high in protein and gluten free. While the bars taste like a sweet treat, they contain no refined sugars, and are university certified low GI.
FFW: Can the bars be used as a meal replacement, say if someone is running late for work and grabs the bar instead of eating breakfast?
SET THE BAR: The bar has been designed primarily as an in between meals snack, and we always recommend discussing any weight loss or meal replacement diet with a nutritionist or dietician. However, as part of a healthy balanced diet, the bar can be eaten in place of a meal and provides a great source of sustained energy, vitamins and minerals to keep you going until your next meal. Personally, I’ve never been a breakfast person; I’m always in a rush and I just don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning - my stomach seems to wake up a few hours after I do. I know breakfast is a hugely important meal from a nutritional point of view, but I’ve just never been able to make it a routine. I generally start to feel hungry mid-morning, and notice my concentration and energy levels falling. Now I tend to have a bar on the way to work or with my morning coffee and it really keeps me satisfied and energetic all the way through to lunch.
FFW: Are the bars low carb?
SET THE BAR: The bars have around 9g of carbohydrates per 40g serve, so they don’t fit the “low carb” definition. However, carbs get a lot of bad press these days and it’s important to look at why they aren’t necessarily bad, and why some carbs are better than others. Carbohydrates are a vital and healthy part of the body’s energy cycle, and the point of eating low GI carbs is to provide the body with energy in a healthy, balanced and sustained way. The glycemic index (GI) of a given food is a relative ranking of its carbohydrates according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Foods with a low GI (<55) break carbohydrates down and release glucose into the blood-stream at a slow sustainable rate, and have proven benefits for health. High GI carbs are broken down very quickly and dump glucose into your system, requiring high insulin production to convert that glucose into glycogen to store energy in your cells. After the energy has been burned or stored up quickly like this, blood glucose levels can drop rapidly, requiring glucagon production to release energy back out from cells. This can put a huge stress on your pancreas as it continually tries to produce insulin and glucagon to balance out your spiking and crashing blood glucose levels, and can lead to headaches, lethargy, and long term damage to your internal organs. So while some foods may be “low carb”, if the glycemic index is high, you may well be better off eating more “good” carbs with a lower GI score. It’s estimated that by the time many pre-diabetic people’s conditions have progressed to a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, their pancreas has effectively burned out between 50-70% of their insulin producing cells, and research shows that a low GI diet can assist in preventing this progression.
FFW: Are they suitable for various dietary considerations such as Paleo, sugar-free, etc.?
SET THE BAR: The bars are vegetarian and gluten free. We don’t use refined sugars and all our ingredients are selected for low GI carbohydrates so they’re diabetic friendly products. They also contain over 10% of the RDI for 18 vitamins and minerals, and are packed with prebiotics and probiotics which help to optimize the gut microbiome and has benefits for digestion, the immune system and beyond.
FFW: What kind of shelf life do the bars have?
SET THE BAR: The bars currently have a shelf life of 18 months. We have been tweaking the formulation slightly to improve shelf life – originally 12 months, however at the moment stock is moving so quickly that shelf life hasn’t become an issue. Stores obviously prefer a longer shelf life though and we’re happy to work within their needs as long as the quality of the products is maintained.
FFW: Where would you like to see enerGi Bio Bars sold?
SET THE BAR: Everywhere! Seriously though, there’s a lot of protein bars and snack bars out there in the market right now, but so many of them aren’t very healthy at all. enerGi Bio Bars have been formulated first and foremost with a commitment to providing ready to eat low GI snacks because they can be so hard to find, but it’s also one of the healthiest bars available; high protein and dietary fibre, gluten free, packed with vitamins and minerals and no refined sugars - it’s really the kind of snack people should be eating.
FFW: Are they suitable for kids?
SET THE BAR: As part of a balanced diet enerGi Bio Bars are fine for children, and are certainly a better alternative to candy or junk snacks. The ingredients are healthy and include many vitamins and minerals which are great for anyone – however under Australian packaging rules if a food contains over 10% of the normal adult RDI for vitamins, it needs to be labelled as unsuitable for children or pregnant women. This is because many pregnant women take prenatal vitamins and need to be careful about increasing their intake of vitamin A or K too much. Likewise, children require lower amounts of many vitamins than adults do. Not enough of these vitamins can also be dangerous to health, so it’s a strange situation where kids and pregnant women should make sure they are getting enough vitamins, but not too much, and packaging laws understandably err on the side of caution. Government health department guidelines indicate you could eat dozens of our bars a day before getting close to the high end of recommended intake levels, however we certainly recommend checking with a dietician or nutritionist if you are taking pre-natal vitamins or plan to give enerGi Bio Bars to younger children. My two boys aged 3 and 5 enjoy a snack sized portion regularly without any issues. They love them and they’re great for travel snacks.
FFW: When is the best time to eat an enerGi Bio Bar?
SET THE BAR: Anytime is good but we really recommend one between meals when you feel energy and concentration levels lapsing, or to stave off cravings. I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon so I find they make a great mid-afternoon snack. They are also a great pre- or post-workout bar to keep energy levels high. They are perfect for active people – we have a friend who is an avid diver and he loves the energy it gives him for extended times. We’ve also sponsored athletic events like marathons and long distance cycling, and have had great feedback from the participants that the bars really helped them keep energy levels up throughout the events.
FFW: What sorts of foodservice businesses should stock them?
SET THE BAR: There’s really a wide range; we sell through health food stores obviously, but we’re seeing increasing sales from fitness centres, gyms, grocers and corporate cafes; people in office buildings generally have little time to find a healthy snack and enerGi Bio Bars taste great with a coffee or tea.
FFW: How would you describe the flavour?
SET THE BAR: Dark Chocolate Coco-Nutz. The name kinda says it all. The bar proves you can eat low GI and still enjoy sweetness without refined sugars. Most people have commented that they love the fact that the bars are sweet, but not sickly sweet or syrupy. We’ve also launched two additional flavours this year – everyone likes a little variety from time to time – Berry Bomb (9 kinds of yummy berries), and Mint Madness (chocolate and mint make a delicious dessert treat – keep a few in the fridge!), and people seem to love them.
FFW: Do you offer any point of sale marketing materials, sample product for taste tests or other assistance to retailers and foodservice businesses?
SET THE BAR: We provide all our stockists with informational flyers for customers as free marketing and educational material, and we’ve engaged Straight Up PR to help promote the product and drive sales in stores. We also do regular product sampling and taste testings in stores on request.
FFW: What has been the feedback from consumers about the bars?
SET THE BAR: The feedback since our launch has been really positive. People love the idea of having a trusted snack product for that is suitable for anyone, including diabetics, as well as being able to eat a really healthy protein bar that assists weight management, sports and workouts, or just something to snack on during a busy day that has great nutritional value and provides sustained energy to get you through. It checks a lot of boxes.
There are so many benefits to offer your health-conscious customers that these bars should be in your store right now! To find out more or to place an order, contact Set The Bar today.