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Are CLIF BARs Vegan? Our Plant-Based Food Philosophy

The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition related activity.

Why We Don’t Call Our Foods Vegan

One of the questions we get most from people is whether our foods are vegan. While strictly speaking, we don’t consider our foods vegan, all Clif Bar & Company’s foods can fit into a plant-based diet.  

Many vegans eat Clif foods and consider the vast majority of our foods vegan. When they want vegan energy bars, they may grab a CLIF BAR®. When they want a nutritious and delicious vegan snack, they may turn to a LUNA® Bar. The same holds true for many of our other products made with plant-based ingredients — many vegans favor them.

Our foods are centered around plant-based ingredients such as whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit such as wholesome rolled oats, organic almonds, and organic raisins, just to name a few examples. However, while most of our products contain no intentionally added animal-based ingredients, they may be made in a bakery that uses dairy-based ingredients. In those cases, we note the potential for traces of dairy on our packaging to inform consumers trying to avoid it (e.g. those with allergies, vegans, etc.).

Assortment of CLIF BARs and Zbar in a basket

Do Any Clif Bar & Company Foods Contain Animal Products?

Only a few of our foods contain intentionally added animal-based ingredients CLIF Kid Zbar® Protein includes whey. One CLIF BAR flavor — Peanut Butter & Honey with Sea Salt — and one CLIF® Cereal flavor — Honey & Peanut Butter Flavor — contain honey.

We include animal-based ingredients in these bars because the ingredients contribute to the foods’ purpose or predominant flavor.

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?

Vegan diets, along with vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, and Mediterranean diets, are all considered plant-based diets. They focus primarily on plants, including whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Moderate amounts of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy can all be included, except, of course, in a vegan diet, which contains zero animal-derived foods.

Bottom line, when you follow a plant-based diet, you’re opting to eat more plants and fewer animal products than you would on a standard American diet.

How to Incorporate Clif Foods Into a Plant-Based Diet

If variety is the spice of life, you’re in luck: All Clif foods fit within a plant-based diet. Our recipes prioritize organic ingredients and are built around wholesome, energizing plant-based ingredients that provide quality energy and real enjoyment. That makes our foods a great choice as a complement to whole foods when you’re on the go and looking to energize a workout or snack time.

Why Plant-Based Foods Matter to Clif Bar & Company

Food has the power to do more than fuel us. At Clif Bar & Company, we make purposefully crafted foods that not only nourish our bodies but also help nourish the health of our planet.

How are plant-based foods good for the body? They provide essential vitamins and minerals, nourishing fiber, and beneficial plant nutrients, all of which contribute to overall well-being. Several studies have shown that plant-based eating patterns support a variety of health outcomes, including a healthy heart and healthy weight.1,2

How does plant-based eating benefit the planet? A diet higher in plants and lower in animal-based foods is associated with less of an impact on the environment than the typical American diet.3 Many experts are calling for a global shift to predominantly plant-based dietary patterns to improve health and sustainability outcomes — noting that environmental impacts could be lessened by eating fewer overconsumed animal products and more plant-based foods while reducing excess energy (calories) intake and food waste.4

How Clif Bar & Company Encourages Plant-Based Eating

Since Clif Bar & Company’s founding in 1992, we’ve been making plant-based foods that provide the nutrition our bodies need and, in addition, support our larger purpose to help create a more healthy, just, and sustainable food system.

In 2003, we began using organic, plant-based ingredients in CLIF BAR, making it the first major energy bar to be USDA certified “made with organic.” Since then, we’ve sourced over 1 billion pounds of organic ingredients for Clif Bar & Company and have become the No. 1 private funder of organic research in the U.S.

Today, we continue to prioritize the use of organic, plant-based ingredients that are grown and produced according to rigorous sustainability standards. Organic and more sustainably grown ingredients are the link between people’s well-being and a healthy planet.

References

  1. Kim H, Caulfield LE, Rebholz CM. Healthy Plant-Based Diets Are Associated with Lower Risk of All-Cause Mortality in US Adults. J Nutr. 2018;148(4):624-631. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy019
  2. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;70(4):411-422. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.047
  3. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf
  4. Rose D, Heller MC, Roberto CA. Position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior: The Importance of Including Environmental Sustainability in Dietary Guidance. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019;51(1):3-15.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2018.07.006