The devolution of the Clif Bar (and other things we eat)

Clif BarObviously I use the term “devolution” loosely in today’s blog title. Technically the word has political roots. As in: “the transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration.”

Well, the Clif Bar is pretty important to those of us who cycle and run. It ostensibly gives us power when we need it. That’s why we tuck them in cycling jersey pockets and nibble them before and after rides. Those yummy flavors. What is your favorite?

Their portability is also a calculated aspect of their benefit. You can generally pull them out of your cycling kit pocket, bite open the wrapper and gnaw away a portion to chew while still moving at 23 mph. What better solution to hungry and nutrients is there on the planet.

There’s just one problem as far as I can see. And it may be my imagination but it seems that the Clif Bars you buy at any store have shrunk a bit over the years. It’s a trend with almost everything you buy. You pay a bit more for a bit less product.

Has anyone tried to purchase a can of nuts lately? Of course we have. We stand there in the nut aisle (pun intended) wondering if it is worth spending $6.99 for a simple jar of peanuts, cashews, or whatever. Almonds? Forget it. They’re more expensive than gold.

It’s that way with anything that actually constitutes REAL FOOD. That stuff is expensive. You’ll notice it’s the processed stuff that you can buy 2 for $5.00. They figure that garbage will hold us until we get so hungry for real nutrients we are forced back into the store, slavering and achingly hollow, to buy that $15,99 jar of mixed nuts.

So it’s either buy the processed stuff or empty your bank account for an ever-shrinking litany of less product for your money. Have you noticed that even peanut butter jars are the size of Campbell Soup cans these days. Yet they cost the same. It’s a painfully grand illusion that what you spend at the grocery story (generally $100 minimum even for one person) is actually keeping you alive.

Clif BarWith all these products shrinking away before our eyes, it would take a massive consumer revolution to force companies to give us more for our money. Yet if we knew what it takes to bring a product to market; the harvesting or killing, the processing, preservatives, packaging, shipping, marketing and product placement, we’d wonder why there is any food on the store shelves at all.

And that’s because we want it all so damned convenient. Even organic products (if they are truly organic, which is questionable) have to feed into this massive food delivery machine we call an economy. It’s all necessary for purposes of commerce, safety and sexiness in our food.

Yes, we like our food sexy just like we like our movie stars and newscaster. American culture is a consumer society. We eat and we stare and we absorb our visual and auditory and edible diet with verve. Then we share it all on social media so more people can stare and eat some more.

That’s why we’re helpless at 9:00 p.m. when a craving takes over after a hard day at work and a hard workout to boot. We stumble into the kitchen and grab a bag of Kettle Chips and gnaw them down like a pika in a mountain rock crevice. In human terms that’s a couch, in case you had not gathered.

And we’re typically always a little fatter for the fault of our weakness. Or so it feels. So we rise up and grab our bikes or go for a run again in hopes of staving off the fat from carbs that comes from ingesting those Kettle chips. Then we carry with us a tiny little Clif Bar  in case we run out of fuel.

Pizza in OvenAnd that’s the absurd little dance we do with these products and the way we process and consume our food.

The dietitian in our triathlon club does not quite succumb to all this. Last week she dined on a Tupperware tin full of something she called “overnight oats.” It had cocoa powder woven into the mix and it looked delicious. I think there was fruit in there too. She’s always eating real food like that. Carrots for breakfast I bet.

But I haven’t seen her husband lately. Perhaps he starved to death during a 10-mile run. If you find someone like that by the side of the road, be kind and offer them your Clif Bar. It’s not much, and it may not save their life. But it’s the right thing to do.

Just don’t be surprised if in their dying throes, that runner or cyclist turns to you and moans, “I only eat Coconut Chocolate Chip. Do you have one of those?”

Because we all have our favorites. And we’ll stick with them till our dying day.


About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
This entry was posted in Christopher Cudworth, cycling, duathlon, half marathon, marathon, running, swimming, triathlon, We Run and Ride Every Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The devolution of the Clif Bar (and other things we eat)

  1. Dan In Iowa says:

    Bananas haven’t changed size, they’re nearly as portable and their wrappers are biodegradable! I say that because I’ve not found a nutrition bar that tastes better than cardboard to my pallet. That’s why I generally throw in a banana or apple.

  2. OmniRunner says:

    I really like Cliff bars.
    In the old days they weighed out a pound of something and you paid the going rate.
    These days no one wants to spend more than $3.99 on a box of crackers so they keep making the box smaller to keep the price the same.
    Just sell me a pound of something at what ever the price is. I don’t want a 13.2oz box for $3.99. Next week it will be 12.8oz for $3.99.

  3. bgddyjim says:

    ERG bars. Made in Michigan, all natural, $2.49 a piece and 400-500 calories per bar depending on which flavor you get (blueberry lemon is my favorite). They’re amazingly good and actually fill me up.

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