Clif Bar

Clif Bar
Clif Bar & Co.
Type Private
Founded 1992
Headquarters Emeryville, California, United States
Key people Gary Erickson, Kit Crawford (Co-Owners and Co-CEOs), Kevin Cleary (President and COO), Michelle Ferguson (Executive Vice President of Marketing)
Products Energy Bars and Snacks

Clif Bar & Company is an American company that produces organic foods and drinks marketed towards active people. Their flagship product, CLIF BAR, was created in 1992 by owner Gary Erickson. The company's headquarters are in Emeryville, California.


Company history

Gary Erickson is the founder and CEO of Clif Bar & Company. In 1986, he opened a small bakery named Kali’s Sweets & Savories, which primarily sold calzones.[1] In 1990, Erickson went on a day-long, 175 mile bike ride, bringing water and a variety of energy bars.[2] Partway through the ride, Erickson decided that he could make a better energy bar. Erickson now refers to this moment as "the Epiphany." Two years later, after much experimentation in his mother's kitchen, Erickson settled on a recipe for what would become the CLIF BAR.[3] The bar went through several name iterations — including Forza, Torque, and Gary's Bar — before settling on CLIF BAR, named after Gary's father Clifford.[4] The packaging image of a rock climber was developed by Doug Gilmore on a napkin over dinner in San Francisco.[4] Erickson debuted CLIF BAR at a bicycle show in September 1991, with Double Chocolate, Apricot, and Date Oatmeal as the original three flavors.[5]

In its first year, sales of Clif Bar exceeded $700,000, fueled primarily by strong sales in bike shops and the growth of the healthy and natural foods movement.[1] Sales doubled each year, and by 1997, revenue surpassed $20 million.[6] As a result of their exponential growth, Clif Bar & Company was included in Inc.’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies List from 1997-2000, the only energy bar company besides Balance Bar (No. 14 in the 1998 list) to receive mention.[7][8] In 1997, the company name was officially changed from Kali's SportNaturals to Clif Bar & Company.[9]

Clif Bar & Company was ranked the No. 1 brand in the Forbes "Breakaway Brands" survey, conducted by Landor Associates using Young & Rubicam’s BrandAsset Valuator database measuring brand momentum from 2006 to 2009.[10]

In March 1999, Clif Bar introduced LUNA Bar, which was specifically marketed towards women. In April 2000, Erickson turned down a $120 million offer from Quaker Oats to buy his company.[11] Gary Erickson and his wife Kit Crawford currently run the company as co-owners and co-CEOs.


A white chocolate macadamia nut CLIF BAR

The original CLIF BAR is targeted at athletes and active people with a second line, LUNA Bars, serving a female audience. CLIF BARs themselves have a subtle packaging color, stressing earth tones, and are packaged in foil-lined plastic wrappers.[12] Each flavor has a particular accent color - Carrot Cake, for instance, is orange, while Oatmeal Raisin Walnut is green, and Chocolate Brownie is brown. CLIF BARS do not contain ingredients sourced from GMOs, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.[13] CLIF BARS are also certified kosher and free of animal products.

CLIF BAR flavors

  • Apricot
  • Banana Nut Bread
  • Black Cherry Almond
  • Blueberry Crisp
  • Carrot Cake
  • Chocolate Almond Fudge
  • Chocolate Brownie
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch
  • Cool Mint Chocolate
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
  • Peanut Toffee Buzz
  • Maple Nut
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
  • Coconut Chocolate Chip

Clif Bar & Company uses organic ingredients in all their products. CLIF BAR, LUNA, CLIF MOJO and CLIF CRUNCH are made with 70% organic ingredients.[14] CLIF SHOT, CLIF SHOT BLOKS, and CLIF SHOT Electrolyte Replacement Drink contain 90% organic ingredients or more.[15]

Environmental sustainability

In 2001, Clif Bar transitioned to organic ingredients, eliminated shrink-wrap (which saved 90,000 pounds of plastic and $400,000 annually), and invested in wind energy to offset fossil fuel usage.[16][17]

Clif Bar has also instituted a number of policies intended to make a more green-friendly business. In 2006, they announced their "Cool Commute" program, which gives employees $6,500 (taxed) to switch to bio-diesel or high-mileage hybrid cars to reduce their fuel consumption.[2][18] As a bio-diesel incentive program, "Cool Commute" was the first of its type nationwide and drew praise from Al Gore for helping to aid the fight against global warming.[19] In 2008, the company added a bike incentive to the Cool Commute Program providing employees up to $500 to purchase a commuter bike or to make commute friendly retrofits to an existing bike. Additionally in 2008, the company launched the Cool Home Program which provides employees up to $1,000 annually to make eco-improvement to their homes such as insulation, solar panel installation, new windows, etc.[20] In April 2009, Clif Bar joined BICEP, a coalition of 18 companies (which includes Nike, eBay and The North Face) with the goal of passing progressive climate and energy legislation.[21] In 2010 Clif Bar committed $500,000 to promote organic seed research and conserve crop genetic diversity.[22]

Sponsorships and programs

Clif Bar sponsors more than 1,700 professional and amateur athletes, including professional cycling team Garmin-Cervélo (formerly Garmin-Slipstream), LUNA CHIX Pro Team, pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones and world champion triathlete Chris McCormack.[23]

Meet the Moment

In 2011, CLIF BAR’s Meet the Moment campaign encouraged adventurers to share photos and stories online of their favorite athletic adventure moments. Each time participants uploaded a new moment to the Meet the Moment website, they became eligible to win future adventures, such as trekking the Amazon or chasing the Tour de France. Also, for each moment uploaded, CLIF BAR donated $5 to one of five charities: Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Leave No Trace, Surfrider Foundation or Winter Wildlands Alliance. [24] Meet the Moment culminated on October 1, 2011, with a nationwide day of action dedicated to numerous preservation efforts including Leave No Trace and Surfrider Foundation. Individuals participated from around the country by taking on preservation activities in their own communities. Volunteers then logged on to post their day of action volunteer photos to the CLIF BAR Facebook page. The effort brought together more than 1,200 people who contributed more than 4,500 volunteer hours to cleaning up and preserving popular outdoor recreation areas.[25]

2 Mile Challenge

CLIF BAR 2 Mile Challenge is a nationwide campaign encouraging people to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by using their human energy to ride a bike instead of driving a car for trips two miles or less. Rising gas prices make the cause even more appealing, providing additional incentive to leave the car at home and ride a bike.[26] Through an interactive website,, the CLIF BAR 2 Mile Challenge enables participants to become part of an online community. Participants join one of three teams, each representing a national nonprofit group that promotes bike advocacy or fights climate change. Individuals then earn points for themselves and their teams based on riding their bikes, logging their miles, challenging friends and sharing their progress through social media. CLIF BAR will donate $100,000 to nonprofits during the 2011 2 Mile Challenge. The three national nonprofits will divide $80,000: Alliance for Biking and Walking, Safe Routes to School Partnership and Their teams’ total points at the end of the Challenge will determine the fund allocation. The nonprofit team with the most points will earn a $35,000 grant; second place will receive $25,000 and third place $20,000.[27][28]

Company culture

In June 2010, Clif Bar initiated the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), which gave 20% ownership of the company to its 200+ employees, with Crawford and Erickson retaining the other 80%.[29][30] With regards to this, Erickson stated "by retaining private, employee ownership we will continue to have the freedom and flexibility to build a sustainable business with long-term focus for future generations."[31]

The company facilities include a gym, rock climbing wall, yoga room, and massage rooms. Employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work, get two and a half hours of paid exercise each week, and have access to free personal training.[26][32] Clif Bar & Company was named among Outside magazine's Best Places to Work in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.[33][34][35]

Community outreach

One of Clif Bar's company aims is improving the community. In 2001, they implemented "Project 2080", which had an initial goal of donating a collective 2,080 employee volunteer hours to community service (the number of hours worked by a full-time employee in a year).[36] As the company has grown, so too has the annual target for community service hours; in 2010, Clif employees donated 5,290 hours.[37] As an extension of "Project 2080," Clif Bar initiated "In Good Company" in 2008. The program organizes employees across several companies to assist in community development in several at need communities such as New Orleans, East Oakland, and the Hopi Reservation in Arizona.[38]

Other products

In addition to CLIF Bars and LUNA Bars, Clif Bar & Company produces products such as:

  • CLIF SHOT Energy Gel
  • CLIF SHOT BLOKS - organic energy chews
  • CLIF SHOT ROKS - protein bites
  • CLIF SHOT Electrolyte Replacement Drink - electrolyte hydration sports drink system
  • CLIF MOJO - sweet and salty trail mix bar
  • CLIF Builder's - The Protein Bar That "Works As Hard As You Do"
  • CLIF Kid Zbar - Baked Whole Grain Energy Bar
  • CLIF Kid Zbar Crispy - Whole Grain Rice Crispy Bar
  • CLIF KID Zfruit - Real Fruit Rope
  • CLIF CRUNCH – granola bar
  • LUNA Protein - gluten free snack that helps women more easily fit protein into their diet

In 2004, Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford debuted the Clif Family Winery & Farm, a new business venture, with the goal of producing sustainable wines.[39]


  1. ^ a b Dahl, Darren Clif Bar: How a Husband-Wife Team Built a $235 Million Empire ‘’AOL Small Business’’.
  2. ^ a b Hosni, Nadia Triple Bottom Line: Clif Bar & Company Tonic. July 7, 2010
  3. ^ Who We Are
  4. ^ a b Erickson, Gary and Lois Lorentzen. Raising the Bar: The Story of Clif Bar. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass. 2004.
  5. ^ Chewing the fat with Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford of Clif Family Winery Winehiker Witiculture. May 1, 2008.
  6. ^ From Out of the Gym, Into the Grocery Store The New York Times. November 22, 1997.
  7. ^ Clif Bar Inc. Again Makes Prestigious Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies Business Wire. October 21, 1999.
  8. ^ Honors and Awards Clif Bar & Company.
  9. ^ Clif Bar & Company: Company Overview Bloomberg Business.
  10. ^ Breakaway Brands Offer Simple Pleasures Forbes. Oct. 8, 2010.
  11. ^ A Company Fueled by Athlete's Sweat The Wall Street Journal. March 24, 2010.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Top Cycling Nutritionist Relies on Proprietary Recipes and CLIF BARs to Keep Riders Nourished Throughout Tour de France News Blaze. July 14, 2009.
  14. ^ Food Facts
  15. ^ Clif Bar & Company Unveils CLIF Quench™ Sport Drink March 9, 2009.
  16. ^ The Eco-Advantage: The Pioneers Inc. Magazine. November 1, 2006.
  17. ^ Jennifer Barret (October 4, 2004), Quick Read, Newsweek, 
  18. ^ Triple Bottom Line: Clif Bar and Company Fast Company. July 7, 2010.
  19. ^ Al Gore congratulates Clif Bar on its biodiesel efforts Biodiesel Magazine. February 2007.
  20. ^ Sustainability Benefits Program
  21. ^ Aspen Skiing, Clif Bar, and Seventh Generation Strengthen BICEP Climate Coalition Climate Biz. April 16, 2009.
  22. ^ Got Organic Seeds? Clif Bar Family Puts Money Where Mouth Is Raw Sangha. April 10, 2010.
  23. ^ Athlete and Event Support
  24. ^ Clif Bar 'Meet the Moment' Travel Sweepstakes USA Today. May 25, 2011.
  25. ^ Clif Bar Engages Customers in Day of Action Sustainable Life. Oct. 6, 2011.
  26. ^ a b Roth, Matthew Bay Area’s Clif Bar Encourages Biking and Walking with 2-Mile Challenge SF Streets Blog. May 12, 2010.
  27. ^ Take the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge, and Get There By Bike! Planet Green. June 30, 2010.
  28. ^ CLIF BAR Kicks-Off 5th Annual 2 Mile Challenge Clif Bar Press Releases. May 12, 2011.
  29. ^ Clif Bar sells 20% stake to workers San Francisco Business Times. June 29, 2010.
  30. ^ How Clif Bar is Saving Retirement through CSR Triple Pundit. July 9, 2010.
  31. ^ Clif Bar & Company Becomes 20 Percent Employee Owned Clif Blog. June 29, 2010.
  32. ^ Madden, Kaitlin It’s Take Your Dog to Work Day June 25, 2010.
  33. ^ Best Places to Work: Clif Bar and Company Outside Magazine. May 2010.
  34. ^ Best Places to Work Outside Magazine. May 2009.
  35. ^ The 50 Best Places to Work in America Outside Magazine. April 6, 2010
  36. ^ Giving Back is a Key Ingredient Clif Blog.
  37. ^ Project 2080
  38. ^ In Good Company Timberland Earth Keepers. October 31, 2008.
  39. ^ Ted Loos (May 7, 2008), Clif Hanger, ARTINFO,, retrieved 2008-05-14 

External links

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