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The first portable energy bar. In 1983, Canadian distance runner Brian Maxwell was leading a marathon when he developed stomach problems and lost the race. So he and his wife-to-be, nutrition student Jennifer Biddulph, began cooking up energy foods in their Berkeley, California, kitchen, looking for a mix of carbs and protein without a lot of hard-to-digest fat. In 1986, they settled on a concoction that included oat bran, milk proteins, and fructose syrup, and released two flavors, Chocolate and Malt-Nut.
Rubbery and full of multisyllabic ingredients, PowerBars tasted a bit like cardboard but undeniably started a revolution. By the time Nestlé acquired PowerBar in 2000, grocery shelves were stacked with alternatives like Clif Bar and Balance Bar. Spurred by competition, PowerBar, since bought by Post Holdings, has added dried fruits and nuts to some of its bars, consigning its original taffy-like creation to the dustbin of history.