Last Update: October 31, 2023
Some of the best products come about from one simple question: Why doesn’t that exist? That’s exactly how the founders of Quantum Energy Squares developed their caffeine-fueled energy bars.
“I was looking for a healthy source of energy,” says co-founder Leah Marquez. “Whenever I worked out or had a busy day ahead, I drank an energy drink, despite hating the unnatural taste and questionable ingredients. There simply wasn’t any other option.” Marquez remembers having to contend with energy drinks that provided that instant energy spike, but also led to an inevitable crash.
At the same time, her co-founder, Dan Medvene, was having a similar dilemma; he leads an active lifestyle and was looking for an alternative to unhealthy snack bars filled with simple carbs and artificial sweeteners masquerading as “energy” bars. “We thought, Isn’t it weird that we keep hearing about superfoods and eating clean, but there isn’t anything healthy out there that would give us energy and not leave us feeling jittery or lead to an energy crash? Why don’t we just make it?” Marquez remembers. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
When talking about the other types of bars on the market, Marquez is quick to mention that the industry hasn’t changed much in more than 30 years. Even with the addition of the occasional adaptogen or other functional ingredients, many bars on the market today still deliver energy primarily from what she describes as “simple carbs.” While Marquez knew she and Medvene wanted their bars to contain only wholesome, beneficial ingredients, that was the obvious part; they also wanted to offer a slow-release source of caffeine.
“If you have a cup of coffee or an energy drink by itself with nothing in your stomach, you’ll spike and you’ll crash,” Marquez explains. “But if you have that same cup of coffee with a nutritious omelet, you’ll have a completely different experience in your body.” So she and Medvene set out to create a bar that was, essentially, the equivalent of having a nutritious snack combined with about the same amount of caffeine that’s in a cup of coffee.
First, Marquez worked with a dietician to flesh out what the perfect energy bar would look like on paper: How much protein should it contain? How many carbs? How much fat? What would be the right macronutrient balance?
For the caffeine component, the two decided they should use organic green coffee for a really pure, natural caffeine supply. “It’s also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits,” Marquez explains. Next, they decided their bars would need to be plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free and grain-free to support as many dietary restrictions as possible, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. “We were uncompromising, focusing on using healthy ingredients that everybody knows and understands,” says Marquez. “No bad stuff, no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.”
After the dietician came a food scientist, who helped the team meet their nutritional and energy requirements and work out a formula for the perfect energy bar. They carefully selected nutrient-dense fruits, nuts, and seeds to add the necessary fats and macronutrients in balance with the caffeine, and from there, it just came down to taste.
In order to make it taste good — actually taste good, not just curb hunger — Marquez and Medvene took a unique route: instead of working with the typical research and development team to help formulate the bars, they enlisted a pastry chef. “We created over 200 iterations until the flavors, consistency and texture was better than anything in stores,” Marquez remembers. “We had a truly functional energy bar, but we knew it had to taste good to succeed.” They gave samples of early versions of Quantum Energy Squares to friends and family to taste test, and they even did blind taste tests at local grocery stores to see if they could beat the taste of the leading snack bars and protein bars. “We just kept going until we beat them all consistently,” says Marquez.
So, what was that perfect macronutrient formula the team landed on? Here’s what it looks like:
● 35-42% energy (kcal) from carbohydrates
● 18-20% energy from protein
● 40-50% energy from fat
● 4 grams of dietary fiber
To get there, they use real, whole foods for a very specific purpose: to work as a buffer against the caffeine, preventing the jittery crash you may experience from coffee or energy drinks. “This was based on the natural way our bodies absorb caffeine more gradually when accompanied by a meal, like having coffee with breakfast or lunch),” Marquez says. “We actually formulated the bar so that it slows down the absorption of the caffeine with the protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and the MCT oil.”
By combining organic green coffee with fruits, nuts and seeds, the bars provide steady, long-lasting energy that also curbs hunger between meals. Unlike the sugary additives and fillers in many other bars, Quantum Energy Squares contain natural sources of plant-based protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals from:
● Pea protein
● Pumpkin seeds
● Chia seeds
● Organic Dark chocolate
● MCT oil from Coconut
The result is a slow release of energy from caffeine in the form of a snack that doesn’t spike or make you feel jittery, anxious, or with that all-too-familiar crash. “Our bars were really developed for that healthy, midday pick-me-up,” Marquez says.
Quantum Energy Squares Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
Organic chocolate with crunchy peanut butter combine into your favorite sweet protein-packed energy treat (without the guilt).
Quantum Energy Squares Salted Peanut Butter Crunch
For the peanut butter lovers, this bar offers a crunchy texture with real peanuts and sea salt.
Quantum Energy Squares Dark Chocolate Pink Himalayan Salt
Equal parts sweet and salty, these bars balance the caffeine from green coffee with nuts, seeds, and organic chocolate.
Quantum Energy Squares Caramel Almond Sea Salt
The gooey sweetness of caramel, made with only wholesome, natural ingredients.
Quantum Energy Squares Banana Nut Butter Crunch
Like your favorite banana and peanut butter snack, in the form of a naturally caffeinated bar.
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