The Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar offers a relatively sustainable alternative to meat-based protein. However, if the company could reduce the amount of ingredients used to create the products, and source those that are used to be more sustainable, this product has the potential to be ranked higher.
Whey protein blend is the main ingredient in this bar and as a whole, this ingredient offers a sustainable alternative to meat-based protein sources as whey is a by-product of cow’s milk. Because it is contrived from a mainstream food product, it allows manufacturers to use a “waste” product from it to create a nutritional supplement for protein powders. However, the second ingredient is palm oil, which is notoriously unsustainable. Because it is over used in so many products, its extraction causes mass deforestation and habitat loss. There are some recent initiatives in the last decade that call for sustainably sourced palm oil, however, the Power Crunch site does not list what type it uses, leaving the imagination to assume the worst case scenario. Many of the other products listed in the ingredients, such as enriched flour, sugar, and canola oil are generally unsustainable and unhealthy products. On a good note, however, the product’s use of stevia leaf extract provides a relatively sustainable alternative to sugar because of its natural sweet flavor and lower inputs of resources to grow.
After doing some in-depth digging, I unfortunately could not find any information on how this product is made. Most likely, however, it is created in a factory setting where high inputs of resources and energy are required. Although the manufacturing company is headquartered in California, the products being made in Canada cause high levels of transportation for shipping these products across America, the main consumer base for this bar. The high travel distance means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, an unsustainable method of transporting products. Sourcing to more local producers would be a more sustainable alternative for this company and would significantly cut back on the transportation costs and environmental consequences that result because of it.
There is relatively little information on who makes this product. Besides it being written that it is a product of Canada, the only other information about the manufacturing of the product is that it is made by BioNutritional Research Group, Inc, a company that was founded by Kevin Lawrence, the product creator of Power Crunch.
Power Crunch does include a blog post where they outline the work that they do alongside community programs. Specifically, they partner with the Boys and Girls Club of America and on their website, they include information that they have donated computers and other pieces of technology to the organization to support their efforts for virtual learning. In addition, they provide regular support to various chapters in the form of clothing and food donations. Their work with this organizations highlights their commitment to social awareness and should not go unnoticed.
However, while the companies partnerships with nonprofits provides a good backing to the administrations’ personal ethics, the fact that there is little transparency about who makes their products should not be overlooked. The lack of information leaves much to the consumers’ imagination of who is making this product, and inevitably, the questions regarding their working conditions, their salaries, and their overall treatment arise. I urge Power Crunch to be more transparent with their manufacturing process and their workers and make this information more available to consumers.