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Nature Valley Granola Bars ~ Choose Crunchy for Palm Oil Free

Nature Valley Granola Bars ~ Choose Crunchy for Palm Oil Free

There are a few Nature Valley Granola Bars I buy regularly because they do not contain palm oil. In addition to environmental concerns of deforestation and increasing demand, the reason I don’t buy any foods with palm oil is because they make my son sick. He has allergic reactions from them.

Being able to buy Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars has been wonderful for my family. They are available in many grocery stores as well as Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc.

Their CRUNCHY bars DO NOT list palm oil ingredients. However, all of the CHEWY granola bars from Nature Valley DO contain palm oil. Read labels before buying. 

Nature Valley Granola Bars

First, I’d like to thank Nature Valley for making some of their granola bars flavors palm oil free. It is incredible that such as large, mainstream company, owned by General Mills, does not use palm oil in some of their products. It is very rare and fantastic.

Note, they are not certified palm oil free. However, I am going off their ingredient list and the fact that for years my son has been able to eat two of their crunchy flavors without having allergic reactions or other signs of sickness.

It is very difficult to find palm oil free granola bars and other snack bars, nutrition bars, protein bars, etc. Companies use palm oil because it is cheap. It’s also a preservative, helping to extend the shelf-life. It helps create mouth feel.

In addition, it can help bind ingredients in bars together while enabling them to be chewy. That’s why, if you want a palm oil free granola bar, you need to choose a crunchy snack bar as well as read the ingredients before purchasing.

In addition to avoiding ingredients with “palm” in the name, such as Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, I also do not buy bars with Glycerin, Glycerine, Mono- & Diglycerides, Tocopherols, Mixed Tocopherols, or Vitamin E. Typically in granola bars, these ingredients are derived from palm oil and make my son sick.

I am also wary of products that say Natural Flavors. Per the FDA, palm oil is considered a Natural Flavor, not an Artificial Flavor. More on this below. I have not found them to be an issue in their crunchy bars.

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars Flavors

For years, I have been buying their Oats ‘N Honey in the green wrapper as well as their Oats ‘N Dark Chocolate. I believe them to be made without palm oil. 

Below are Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar flavors to consider if you are avoiding palm oil. Remember to read labels before purchasing as companies change ingredients.

Depending on the store you frequent, you will find different Nature Valley Granola Bars available. They have many flavors of crunchy bars but they won’t all be available at each store.  

I am listing the ingredients below which are as of this writing. Please note, companies change ingredients often. So far, we’ve been lucky Nature Valley hasn’t changed their ingredients. I’ve been buying them for years. Again, thank you, Nature Valley!

Apple Crisp Crunchy Granola Bars

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Dried Apples, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor.

Cinnamon Crunchy Granola Bars

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

Maple Brown Sugar Crunchy Granola Bars

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Brown Sugar Syrup, Maple Syrup, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor.

You can buy Maple Brown Sugar bars in a box on their own or as part of a Nature Valley Variety Pack which includes:

  • Oats ‘N Honey
  • Peanut Butter
  • Maple Brown Sugar

Oats ‘N Dark Chocolate Crunchy

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Dark Chocolate Pieces (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor, salt), Rice Flour, Honey, Cocoa, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

We have been buying these snack bars from Nature Valley for years. My son loves the Oats ‘N Dark Chocolate.

Nature Valley bar

Oats ‘N Honey is the most popular Nature Valley bar. It now has a recyclable wrapper you can take back to the store.

Oats ‘N Honey Crunchy

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Honey, Salt, Brown Sugar Syrup, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.

We have been buying Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey Crunchy Granola Bars for years. They are crumbly and delicious. These are what some people call the Nature Valley green bars because of their green wrappers.

Peanut Butter Crunchy

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Peanut Butter (peanuts, salt), Rice Flour, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

This flavor is also available as part of a Nature Valley Variety Pack:

  • Oats ‘N Honey
  • Oats ‘N Dark Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Crunchy

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Peanut Butter (peanuts, salt), Dark Chocolate Chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor, salt), Canola Oil, Roasted Peanuts, Rice Flour, Brown Sugar Syrup, Honey, Salt, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin.

Pecan Crunch Crunchy 

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Pecan Pieces, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor.

Roasted Almond Crunchy

Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Almond Pieces, Rice Flour, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.

You will see a big difference in the number of ingredients in Nature Valley’s Crunchy versus Chewy Granola Bars. Their chewy bars have more ingredients.

Common Palm Oil Derivatives in Granola and Snack Bars

There are hundreds of names for palm oil derivatives. Most do not include “palm” in the name. Here are some ways palm oil can hide in granola bars and other types of snack bars. 

Natural Flavors Can Contain Palm Oil

Please note: Natural Flavor and Natural Flavors can include palm oil. Palm oil is considered a natural ingredient, not an artificial flavor. I am always wary of buying foods with Natural Flavors.

I look at what the product is, and if it’s something that typically contains palm oil. Many snack bars, especially if they are chewy or soft, use Natural Flavors that are derived from palm oil.

I look at the ways the company uses palm oil in any of their products. I’ve been doing this for years, and am “on” to certain companies and their practices, etc. I also see if they use other palm oil derivatives such as Glycerin. Glycerin and Glycerine in granola bars are most always made from palm oil. In my experience, Tocopherols and Mixed Tocopherols are as well.

Glycerin and Glycerine are Derived from Palm Oil

Glycerin, Glycerine, and Vegetable Glycerin are common ingredients in granola bars but not common in granola bars from Nature Valley.

These ingredients are often in chewy granola bars and are most always derived from palm oil. In every instance when I asked a company what their Glycerin, Vegetable Glycerin, or Glycerine was sourced from in their snack bars, they said it was from palm oil. 

I never buy granola bars or any bars with Vegetable Glycerin, Glycerin, or Glycerine ingredients. They are most often in chewy granola bars.

Mono- & Diglycerides are Made from Palm Oil

You’ll find Mono- & Diglycerides in many granola bars with a coating or with cheaper chocolate such as chocolate-flavored.

Nature Valley Granola Bars don’t typically contain Mono & Diglycerides as of this writing. However, they are common in other granola and snack bars in other brands.

Tocopherols or Tocopherols/Vitamin E are Often Derived from Palm Oil

My son got so sick from eating a granola cereal with Tocopherols, I will never ever buy granola, cereal, snack bars, or anything with them again. They are often made from palm oil. If I see Tocopherols, Mixed Tocopherols or Vitamin E on a label for bars or any foods, I do not buy them.

Nature Valley’s Chewy Granola Bars contain Tocopherols. I have noted below with an asterisk that I am not sure if they are derived from palm oil. However, companies usually list the source of it as in Tocopherols (Rosemary) if it is not from palm oil. 

Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bars Flavors 

While this site focuses on palm oil free products, it’s important to see which Nature Valley granola bars contain it so you can better know what to watch out for. Look for the palm oil ingredients in bold letters.

All of their Sweet & Salty Nut Chewy Granola Bars and their Fruit & Nut Chewy Granola Bars contain palm oil.

Sweet & Salty Nut Chewy Granola Bars

  • Almond
  • Cashew
  • Peanut
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut & Almond
  • Roasted Mix Nut
  • Sweet & Salty Granola Variety Pack 
    • 12 Dark Chocolate Peanut & Almond
    • 12 Peanut

Almond Chewy Ingredients

Almonds, Corn Syrup, Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Rice Flour, Palm Kernel Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Honey Roasted Almond Butter (Almonds, Honey, Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Mixed Tocopherols), Fructose, Whey, Canola Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Corn Starch, Barley Malt Extract, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added To Retain Freshness.

Cashew Chewy Ingredients

Whole Grain Oats, Corn Syrup, Cashews Roasted In Safflower Oil, Sugar, Rice Flour, Palm Kernel Oil, Fructose, Tapioca Syrup, Vegetable Glycerin, Cashew Butter (Cashew Nuts, Safflower Oil), Canola Oil, Whey, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Corn Starch, Barley Malt Extract, Honey Roasted Almond Butter (Almonds, Honey, Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Mixed Tocopherols), Peanut Flour, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added To Retain Freshness.

Peanut Chewy Ingredients

Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup, Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Rice Flour, Palm Kernel Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Whey, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Salt), Fructose, Canola Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Peanut Flour, Corn Starch, Barley Malt Extract, Honey Roasted Almond Butter (Almonds, Honey, Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Mixed Tocopherols), Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols)* Added To Retain Freshness.

Dark Chocolate Peanut & Almond Chewy Ingredients

Dark Chocolate Peanut & Almond is described as: Dipped in chocolate flavored coating.

Note: When you see Chocolate Flavored, know it likely contains palm oil. “Flavored” is different than a product described as chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate. Although in this case, they are using more “real” ingredients in their Dark Chocolate Chunks.

Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Whole Grain Oats, Dark Chocolate Chunks (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Rice Flour, Palm Kernel Oil, Almonds, Fructose, Cocoa, Vegetable Glycerin, Canola Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Corn Starch, Barley Malt Extract, Milk, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols*) Added To Retain Freshness.

Roasted Mix Nut Chewy Ingredients

Whole Grain Oats, Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Rice Flour, Fructose, Cashews Roasted in Safflower Oil, Almonds, Vegetable Glycerin, Tapioca Syrup, Whey, Canola Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Corn Starch, Peanut Flour, Honey Roasted Almond Butter (almonds, honey, maltodextrin, palm oil, mixed tocopherols), Barley Malt Extract, Cashew Butter (cashew nuts, safflower oil), Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols*) Added to Retain Freshness.

Fruit & Nut Chewy Granola Bars Chewy Granola Bars

  • Cranberry Pomegranate
  • Dark Chocolate Cherry  
  • Trail Mix

Please note, unlike Nature Valley’s Sweet & Salty Nut Chewy bars, none of these Fruit & Nut Chewy products listed contain Palm Oil listed separately in the ingredients. It is my best estimate the Vegetable Glycerin and/or Mixed Tocopherols contain palm oil.

For my son, I would not chance buying them. For people who avoid palm oil because of the environment, these bars contain less palm oil overall than many of their other snack bars.

Cranberry Pomegranate Ingredients

Whole Grain Oats, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Rice Flour, Almonds, Dried Cranberries, Fructose, Vegetable Glycerin, Canola Oil, Corn Starch, Dried Pomegranate, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols*) Added to Retain Freshness.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ingredients

Whole Grain Oats, Corn Syrup, Semisweet Chocolate Chunks (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor), Sugar, Almonds, Rice Flour, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Cranberries, Canola Oil, Fructose, Dried Cherries, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Baking soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols*) Added to Retain Freshness.

Trail Mix Chewy Ingredients

Whole Grain Oats, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Almonds, Cranberries, Roasted Peanuts, Raisins, Rice Flour, Vegetable Glycerin, Canola Oil, Fructose, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols*) Added To Retain Freshness.

Other Nature Valley Snack Bars

Please note, in addition to granola bars, Nature Valley makes Protein Chewy Bars, Protein Crunch Bars, Crispy Creamy Wafer Bars, Biscuits, Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares, Mini Sandwiches, Soft-Baked Muffin Bars, Packed Sustained Energy Bar. There may be more. These are what I saw at my local grocery stores.

I can tell you just by knowing what types of products these are that all of them, in all flavors, contain palm oil and palm oil derivatives. Again, I only buy the two types of Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars above. As I mentioned, there are an additional Crunchy bars that do not list palm oil ingredients. (With the exception of Natural Flavors which may or may not contain them.) 

are granola bar wrappers recyclable

Some Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars have recyclable wrappers.

Nature Valley Wrapper Recycling

In 2021, Nature Valley Granola Bars is transitioning to recyclable plastic wrapping and packaging for their granola bars. This is an environmentally-friendly effort which is proactive and positive.

Their website (in November 2021 when I’m writing this) says: Crunchy bar wrappers are now store drop-off recyclable. This marks our first step towards fully recyclable packaging by 2025.

You will know you have one of these recyclable wrappers because it will say so in the upper right hand corner of the granola bar. It says: Store Drop-Off Recyclable 

This means you can take these wrappers to stores that accept plastic bags for recycling. These are retail stores, such as grocery stores and stores like Target, Walmart, etc., which use plastic bags when bagging groceries and other items for their customers.

Most local recycling programs do not pick up plastic bags and plastic wraps curbside outside of people’s homes. You have to bring the bags back to the store for recycling. You can now also bring specially-marked Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar wrappers for recycling as well.

Look for participating drop-off locations for recycling wherever you get plastic bags at the checkout.

Nature Valley Granola Bars Nutrition & FAQ’s

Regarding nutrition, I like this brand of bars because their granola bars use less ingredients overall than competing brands. They also seem to use less palm oil overall in their products that contain it.

Why are Nature Valley Bars so messy?

I laughed when I saw this is a popular question. My answer is that it’s because they don’t contain palm oil which helps hold ingredients together. They purposely want them crumbly to mimic granola cereal which has some chunks as well as crumbs. They also encourage you to take snack time outdoors in nature.

Where are Nature Valley Bars made?

Nature Valley Granola Bars are made in the United States. According to a Business Insider article in 2017, they are the most popular granola bar in America.

Who owns Nature Valley?

General Mills owns Nature Valley.

Where to buy Nature Valley Granola Bars?

You can buy Nature Valley Granola Bars at Walmart, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, Jewel, Albertson’s, Kroger, Fry’s, Sprouts, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food, Amazon, Dollar Tree, and more stores. You may find them at BJs, Sam’s Club, Costco and Big Lots.

How to make Nature Valley Granola Bars?

You can find copycat recipes online. Many of the recipes use coconut oil. I make a homemade granola recipe but haven’t ever made the bars. 

Nutritious, Healthy Foods

It is very personal to me to ensure my son remains safe and healthy. I created this website to educate people about palm oil in foods and other products from all I was learned when trying to find foods my son could stay healthy eating.

I am not a food scientist nor do I have any degrees or work experience that makes me an expert except for trying to keep my son healthy and palm oil free for the last 4 years. This is when we finally figured out it was palm oil that had been making him sick.

We live in the United States where processed foods, eating on-the-go, and snacks are common. I try to give my family nutritious foods and healthier processed foods. Like all parents who have children with allergies, I worry daily about keeping my son healthy and safe. I am grateful he can have these crunchy granola bars from Nature Valley.

Thank You, Nature Valley!

Again, I want to thank General Mills’ brand, Nature Valley, for making their crunchy granola bars without Palm Oil, Glycerin, and Tocopherols.  You can bet their competitors, such as Quaker and Kellogg’s, do not make their granola bars palm oil free.

Overall, I am happy with the Nature Valley granola bar flavors my son can have. We have been buying them for years. I really hope they keep the ingredients the same so we can continue to buy them for many more years to come.

Their Crunchy bars taste great, come in delicious flavors, and are easy to back in my son’s school lunch bag. They travel well for road trips as well as for campouts, etc. My family enjoys eating them for a quick breakfast or as a snack at home as well. They come in 2-bar pouches which are filling and satisfying.

It’s also great they are changing over to recyclable wrappers. You can recycle the boxes at home as well.

The very best thing you can do is read ingredients. You will find with Nature Valley, they use fewer ingredients and oftentimes more “real ingredients” than competing granola bar brands. Nature Valley’s bars actually taste like granola instead of chemically-laden and sugar-loaded bars from other brands.

Disclaimers

*Please note, I do not know what the source of Vitamin E / Tocopherols / Mixed Tocopherols in Nature Valley Granola Bars. It is difficult to know when a copy doesn’t list the source after it in parenthesis. In my experience, a company will often list it when it is not derived from palm oil as in Tocopherols (sunflower) but not when it’s made from palm oil.  

Also note, these are not guaranteed palm oil free because they are not certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance or the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP). Please do your own due diligence. 

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