Granola bars from the 70s, 80s & 90s were delicious or healthy, but not both

Granola bars from the 70s, 80s and 90s

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Early granola was boring, but generally healthy. But granola bars? Not so much.

Granola seems so earthy and wholesome (yay, marketing!) that you’d maybe think it’s always been around in some form.

However, the original granola products — made simply with graham flour or rolled oats baked into sheets, and then crumbled into bits — weren’t even invented until the 1860s, and not really marketed until the 1890s. The ads back then said in large text, “Granola — A healthful food.”

Antique Granola ad from Sanitarium Food Co at Battle Creek - Early Kellogg's (1892)
Antique Granola ad from Sanitarium Food Co at Battle Creek, which later became Kellogg’s (1892)

Granola was a popular health food for many years, and was considered the first commercial cold cereal ever, but it mostly fell off the radar in the 20th century… at least until hippies brought it back into favor (again, as a relatively healthy food) in the early 1970s.

The next commercial iteration of granola was “all-natural,” but included nuts and raisins plus sugary syrup, of course, to help bind it all together and sweeten it up.

Granola in bar form was the next logical phase… and sales exploded.

Granola bar stocking stuffers (1985)

We should have known something as sweet as candy is probably not all that healthy…

Next to all the super sweet cold cereal options on grocery store shelves, how could health nuts and nutrition-conscious moms resist this convenient breakfast/snack alternative, promoted as the “natural” and “wholesome” choice? (Note, however, that the advertisements below carefully sidestep using the word “healthy.”)

This marketing angle was extremely successful (plus granola bars are delicious) — at least until nutrition labeling became required in the 90s, at which point savvy, if disappointed, consumers quickly learned that this purportedly healthful food was basically candy. 🙈 As if dipping them in chocolate wasn’t a big clue. – BB

Nature Valley Granola Bars were new in 1976

Introducing Nature Valley granola bars. 100% natural ingredients in a crunchy new shape.

New! For lunch boxes, after school, on the job… granola’s natural goodness in crisp, crunchy bars.

No preservatives. Your choice of Honey ‘n Oats, Coconut, and Cinnamon flavors.

Easy carrying, handy snacking. Each bar is a delicious, wholesome treat that costs less than most candy bars.

Nature Valley Granola Bars were new in 1976


Nature Valley peanut granola bars (1977)

Introducing a new fourth flavor. Peanut! At a nice little saving.

Chopped peanuts give this latest variety a pleasant difference in taste and a new kind of crunch. Still 100% natural though. No additives. No preservatives. 

ALSO SEE: Remember Carnation Breakfast Bars & Carnation Instant Breakfast?

Nature Valley peanut granola bars (1977)


Light and Crunchy Granola Snack from Nature Valley (1982)

Crunchy! Taste as good as they sound! Snack crunch. Snack-size. Great snack taste.

And 100% natural — no additives, no preservatives. Light & crunchy. Toasty light corn puffs crunchy with granola. Ideal for lunch boxes, after school, any time! Try Cinnamon, Oats & Honey, or Peanut Butter.

Light and Crunchy Granola Snack from Nature Valley (1982)


Granola and Fruit bars from Nature Valley (1983)

Real fruit makes soft granola great. 100% Natural, the Nature Valley way.

Granola & Fruit Bars have real fruit in every soft and chewy bite. Red Apple. Sun-ripened Raspberry. Luscious Date. Nature Valley products are 100% natural, with no additives or preservatives. Real fruit really does make soft granola great.

Granola and Fruit bars from Nature Valley (1983)


Quaker Chewy Granola Bars in 4 flavors (1983)

Has your mouth ever had to choose between granola bars and delicious? Well…no longer!

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars are so moist and chewy, so downright delicious your mouth may not believe they’re granola bars. Four exciting flavors, too — Raisin & Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Honey & Oats, and Chocolate Chip.

So put your eyes to work and find some Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. Then let your mouth have some fun!

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars in 4 flavors (1983)


Nature Valley Granola Bars (1983)

This granola bar is not too sweet. Taste how granola bars were meant to taste.

Not too sweet. Crunchy. And 100% natural. With no additives or preservatives. Some other granola bars use them. But you won’t find any in Nature Valley Granola Bars. Including delicious new Peanut Butter.

So next time you want something natural and not too sweet say, ‘Give me that crunchy taste.’

Nature Valley Granola Bars (1983)


Granola Dipps by Quaker Oats (1984)

Granola has taken the big Dipp.

New! Granola Dipps from Quaker. The goodness of chewy moist granola dipped into real milk chocolate. Dip into ’em!

1984 Granola Dipps - vintage food snacks


Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bars (1984)

Finally, a granola bar this moist, this chewy, and 100% natural, too!

It’s a chewy breakthrough! Chewy Granola Bars made the Nature Valley” way — 100% natural! No additives. No preservatives. Just delicious, wholesome ingredients in four family-pleasing choices.

Chewy Chocolate Chip with real chocolate chips. Chewy Raisin with big, plump raisins. Chewy Apple made with bits of real apple. And chewy Peanut Butter with real peanut butter you can see.

See for yourself. Nature Valley is a Chewy Granola Bar that’s moist, chewy and 100% natural. 100% natural… not all chewy granola bars are.

DON’T MISS: Cool 80s cereal: Pac-Man, Strawberry Shortcake & so many more you probably forgot!

Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bars (1984)


Cherry Granola and Fruit Bars (1984)

Cherry: The newest pick from Granola and Fruit bars.

Now Granola and Fruit Bars come in delicious cherry. With sweet, ripe cherries in every soft, chewy bite.

Try Granola and Fruit Bars in your other favorites, too: raspberry, red apple, and luscious date. You’ll find that real fruit really does make soft granola great.

MORE: Del Monte Yogurt Cups were awesome snacks for 80s kids

Cherry Granola and Fruit Bars (1984)


Granola Clusters bars: Granola’s answer to candy (1984)

Nature Valley takes soft, chewy nougat, creamy caramel; toasty, honey-mixed granola and everything from chocolate chips to raisins and almonds to make you a sweet and natural snack.

100% natural, in fact, with no additives or preservatives. Try delicious new Apple-Cinnamon. Sweet and 100% natural. Granola Clusters: It’s your answer to candy. 

SEE MORE: 80s candy: See 35 most excellent retro favorites, including chocolate & fruity sweets

Nature Valley Granola Clusters bars (1984)

 

 


Dandy Bar chocolate-covered granola bars (1985)

Real milk chocolate, creamy caramel, and moist chewy granola…

…a heart of golden chewy granola with chocolate chips. It took Nature Valley to make granola dandy… to create the best-fasting granola bar we’ve ever made. And we did it in four dandy flavors. — Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Almond, Peanut Butter, and Milk Chocolate Dandy.

Dandy Bar chocolate-covered granola bars (1985)


Granola Dipps bar flavors from Quaker (1985)

New! Rocky Road, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Caramel Nut Granola Dipp bars!

Now you can dip, dip, dip into three new chewy wholesome granola bars dipped in real milk chocolate.

Granola Dipps bar flavors from Quaker (1985)


IncrediBites bite-size granola sandwiches – Snacks from Betty Crocker (1992)

New Incredibites! The incredibly delicious granola snack that gives snacking a good name. In tasty vanilla creme, rich chocolate, and creamy peanut butter flavors.

ALSO SEE: These 1980s fruit snacks came in a ton of shapes, flavors & colors

IncrediBites bite-size granola sandwiches - Snacks from Betty Crocker (1992)


Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 90s-style (1992)

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 90s-style (1992)


Low-Fat Kudos Granola Bars (1994)

While many granola bars have no flavor, Kudos has two new ones.

If the mere mention of tofu, alfalfa, and bran excites you, then you probably love ordinary granola bars. For the rest of us, there’s Kudos.

With a variety of great-tasting flavors like chocolate chip, peanut butter, and fudge. And now there are two new fruit flavors. Delicious strawberry and blueberry. Which are low in fat.

We’re sure you’ll like the new taste. Then again, you’ll probably also like the fact that they have taste.

SEE MORE! Remember old-school packaged cookies, like Hydrox, Almost Home, Chip-a-Roos & others?

Low-Fat Kudos Granola Bars (1994)

ANOTHER POPULAR SNACK: Vintage pudding cups were smooth, spoonable snacks we loved, starting back in the 70s

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