If you are like me, you always have a few energy and meal replacement bars stashed here and there to provide a quick bite when required.
Kept in a vehicle, stashed in a bug-out bag or wherever, they are convenient and generally filling. One of the best around is the Clif Bar.
But considering that these bars are made with wholesome, natural ingredients for the most part, will they spoil quicker than others?
How long do Clif Bars last?
Anecdotal testing has shown that Clif Bars can last anywhere from 1 to 2 years as long as the wrapper is intact, and they remain sealed. Clif Bars can be expected to last significantly longer than the best-by date printed on the package.
Despite being made with wholesome ingredients and minimal, if any, preservatives, Clif Bars can last quite a while.
Considering they taste great, are filling and nutritious I think these are the best bet in the category.
If you are considering these for long-term storage or just in case of stashing, keep reading to learn more.
Preservatives and Ingredients
Believe it or not, despite having a practical shelf life of at least a year, Clif Bars do not contain any of the typical industrial-scale food preservatives that one would expect to see.
In fact, the manufacturer loves to advertise the quality of their wholesome, natural ingredients.
What is even more impressive is that Clif Bars come in an astounding variety of flavors, more than two dozen.
With lots of fruit, nuts, grains and other ingredients that are normally prone to spoilage, this really says something about the quality control and packaging that goes into getting these bars to market.
If we take the time to delve a little deeper into the ingredients list, in most of the bars you’ll find things like oats, rice, cane syrup, almonds, berries, a variety of oils, and various fruit purees.
This, again, depends on the flavor of the bar but this should give you some idea of what we are dealing with.
The neat thing is, those aforementioned ingredients are specifically of the type that can spoil or go rancid. But somehow, these bars stay fresh.
Rancid or spoiled ingredients could make us dreadfully sick and will definitely ruin our Clif Bar.
Any foods that contain such ingredients usually depend on various preservatives for long-term storage if they aren’t frozen, but in the case of our Clif Bars, here, it seems that sheer quality and careful preparation can go the distance.
Keeping Your Clif Bar Fresh
Your Clif Bar can be expected to stay fresh and delicious for many months, and remain safely edible for many months after that, at least a year as mentioned.
However, no food is immune to storage requirements. Generally speaking, keeping food cool and dry is imperative for maximizing shelf life, while keeping it in a moist, hot environment will speed up deterioration.
One of the very worst things that you can do to any food is to subject it to repeated heating and cooling cycles as this promotes condensation.
This condensation will easily lead to spoilage even when the food is still sealed, so for that reason you should not expect to keep a Clif Bar inside your vehicle for more than a couple of weeks to be on the safe side.
Other than that, if you’re going to be keeping your bars in any place with temperature control or out of direct sunlight, you should expect to get a long life out of them.
Clif Bars Can and Will Eventually Spoil
As good as Clif Bars are, despite the lack of preservatives and simple ingredients, they can and will eventually spoil like any food.
Although never a good thing, the good news is that determining whether or not your bar is safe to eat after opening the package is quite simple.
Many of the aforementioned ingredients, particularly the nuts, oils, seeds and so forth, will go rancid when they spoil, significantly changing color and texture while emitting a nasty odor.
If you are unfortunate enough to overlook or ignore these indicators, believe me, the taste will let you know as soon as you take a bite.
If you have any questions about the viability of your Clif Bar, take a moment to inspect it when you open the package.
Look it over first:
- Does it still have that subtle, glossy sheen that these bars typically do when they are fresh?
- Does it look dried out and desiccated, or does it have an odd color?
Either could be a sign that it is well past its freshness date, although it could still be safe to eat.
Going a little farther, inspect it for any odd textures or strange, gelatinous goo. Either may indicate serious spoilage. If it still looks okay up to this point, give it a sniff.
If it smells offensive or foul in any way, you should throw it out.
But before you go that far, take a look at the packaging prior to opening it. If it seems puffy, rigid or has any weird slushiness to it, it has almost certainly gone bad and been consumed by bacteria in the interim. Definitely don’t open it, and throw it away!
Assuming your Clif Bar has passed this simple inspection, it is probably safe to eat even if it isn’t totally fresh.
Maybe it has lost a little flavor or has dried out, but it’s probably safe. As always, I’m not a doctor and this article is not medical advice, and you should never consume old food lightly.
When in doubt, play it safe!
Clif Bars Go the Distance
Clif Bars are delicious energy or meal replacement bar that is made from natural, wholesome ingredients and can fill you up when you need some food on the go.
Despite being made with a predominantly clean ingredients list, you can expect a Clif Bar to last anywhere from 1 to 2 years in storage so long as it is kept cool with the wrapper intact.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.