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The Bar Exam

Energy bars take a bite out of the snack biz.

Pity the much-derided snack. It's a guilty pleasure. It's a caloric nightmare. It's definitely, positively not good for you.

Or is it? Even as greasy potato chips and yummy cookies continue to line supermarket shelves, there's a movement underway to sell consumers on the concept of healthy snacking--via energy bars. "Manufacturers are marketing to a broader range of consumers," says Laurie Isenberg of Spence Information Services, a San Francisco marketing information company that tracks the natural-foods industry. "These bars are no longer just for athletes."

Busy, health-conscious people treat energy bars as nutritious meal replacements. And for those hoping to pump up their gray matter, there are such alleged brain-boosting bars as Think! and Intellect.

Is it premature to herald the demise of the potato chip? Definitely. Healthy snacks may be in vogue--but we'll never lose our appetites for indulgence.

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This article was originally published in the May 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Bar Exam.

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