ERG! Fruit and Nut Bar

ERG! Energy Bars taste great, and you don't have to be a chemist to read the label. It's real food !

What's the big idea?

One evening Dennis stopped to pick up a couple of bananas for an early morning 50 mile group bike ride. On his way in he thought “I just can’t buy another _____ Bar.” Instead he bought some stuff and made some bars at home that night. When he gave them to riding pals, they’d say “You should make these and sell them.”
Eighteen months later we’ve discovered that ERG! Bars aren’t just an athlete’s bar, people love them with a cup of coffee too.
BTW: An “erg” is a scientific unit of power or work.
If you’re riding, hiking, skiing, or gonna do some work, you’ll need an ERG! Bar in your pocket.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

There are many “energy bars” on the market today. Have you ever tasted them? Read the labels? They taste like cardboard, look like plastic, have proprietary and unpronouncable ingredients plus preservatives for a longer shelf-life. Most have a fully-printed wrapper. What don’t they want you to see?

How are you different from that player?

People tell us that ERG! Bars taste great. They really like the clear packaging too, because they can actually see what they’re buying. ERG! Bars are made with real unprocessed food, with no preservatives or additives, and we do our best to use local sources for our ingredients, too.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

In our first eight months we have 50 enthusiastic dealers and established ERG! as a recognizable brand in western Michigan. In the first two months of 2013 we’ve developed relationships with two companies for state-wide distribution. You’ll soon be able to buy ERG! in your neighborhood.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

With no experience in the food manufacturing and distribution business, we we’ve come a long way. It’s been an interesting eighteen months developing recipes and techniques, networking with friends, potential sellers, mentors and customers. Continuing the ERG! journey is a dream within our reach.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

$5,000 will help us move to the next level with some new equipment, upgraded financial software, trademark registration, outright purchase of a larger quantity of some ingredients, promotional materials, and with training someone to help us meet increased production demands.

There have been 53 replies to this page

  1. Sue Kellogg

    These are great ~ My daughter and I LOVE the Pecan Date bar ~ Good Luck!

  2. Mikey Anderson

    Erg bars a delicious and wholesome energy source! Great fuel for a long ride and a perfect pick-me-up during the work day!

  3. Celia Wirth

    I am one of those non-athlete people that likes them with a cup of coffee.

  4. Cody Sovis

    Erg! Bars are simply the best energy bar I’ve ever used. From a cyclocross race, to state championship road races, to 100 milers, Erg! is the only thing in my pocket anymore. Knowing they are made with real food, by a real person, right in my hometown, just makes them something I am even more proud to share with friends.

  5. John Robert Williams

    Look, we all have to eat.  Food is our fuel.  We don’t run on chemicals. ERG is not another “me too” product.  It’s an inspired answer to the question of ‘what to eat’.  No matter when or where.  This great food product was lovingly conceived to be BETTER than other available “food”.  It hit’s all the right buttons….sourced and made locally, with natural ingredients, made with low overhead.  This may be the next “Chobani” Greek Yogurt.  It’s a can’t miss!  How many foods GIVE you a great feeling, just by eating it?  Thank you for ERG!

  6. Jorden Wakeley

    I never leave for a ride without an Erg! Bar in my jersey pocket. Easy to eat and absolutely delicious. Two thumbs up!

  7. Nancy Frankland Coffman

    These are not only DELICIOUS… they are nutritious.  My husband and I were on the road Thanksgiving Eve for 4 hours. We split an ERG BAR at about 2pm, instead of taking time to stop . When we got to family in Ann Arbor they asked us if we wanted anything to eat.  We did not ... we were good ‘til breakfast!  Erg bars and water, I could live on ‘em!!

  8. David Bean

    These are good “energy bars.” They are not sickly sweet like many of their competitors and seem to keep you pedaling longer before you’re craving more.

  9. Nichole Manning Warner

    I have had the pleasure of sharing work space with Dennis and Katy, and seeing Erg bars being made first-hand - this is the real deal! I am not an athlete, but these bars are fabulous and the perfect pick-me-up during a long work day or on a hike. And even my kids love them, which is the true testament to how delicious they really are. Go Dennis and Katy!!

  10. Nate Saltus

    These bars are delicious!  My current favorite flavor is Pecan Date but they’re all good.  I’ve brought them along on rides for sharing with friends and my buddy Matt loves the Cashew Raisin variety.  Thanks Dennis and Katy!

  11. John Sohacki

    Between cycling and skiing the Erg bars keep me going.  They taste great and keep me strong.  Thanks Dennis and Katy your bars are the best!

  12. Matt Baroli

    ERG Energy Bars have nailed it! Try one you will not be disappointed. Visit

  13. Kia Lam

    I would love to see these in cafes, bike shops, whole foods, and basically any snack store in San Francisco! Delicious and healthy.

  14. David L. Orr

    ERG is an excellent energy bar.

  15. Katy Bean-Larson

    Thanks for the great comments all! We truly appreciate your support!

  16. James Abfalter

    I took Erg bars on the trail in Hawaii.  What a great find for snacking on the trail.  Give em a try and see for yourself.

  17. Kimberly White Dittmar

    We LOVE these bars.  Ingredients are REAL food.  They are tasty and provide a nice boost.  We use them before or after cycling.  Also, we took them on our trip to FL in November.  Great plane snacks.

  18. Jenny White

    love these bars!

  19. Rick Plite

    Best tasting bar none!

  20. Hans Voss

    Erg bars are fabulous and they are made by good people.

  21. Vita Kennedy Morse

    LOVE ERG BARS!  The Einstein tandem runs on ERGs.  The folks who make them are pretty awesome too :)

  22. Carl Bean-Larson

    My favorite fuel, in the morning, on an adventure, or late in the afternoon at my desk. All of the flavors taste great, the packaging is minimal, and they are easy to open. They are made by great people, for the right reasons, and are helping build Michigan’s economy.

  23. Nichole Smith


    How many stores are you in thus far?

  24. Brian Beauchamp

    ERG! bars are the bomb~

  25. Rebecca Glotfelty

    Saved me on a long car ride…..easy to pack, great tasting and healthy!!  Skip the fast food and do something good for your body. 

  26. Mackenzie Woodring

    These bars are delicious!  Like eating a dessert, but an incredibly healthy dessert.  And, you are actually eating enough calories for the long haul, unlike other bars on the market.  The variety of options are great and (like mentioned) you can see the ingredients…see what you’re about to purchase!  It is NOT one of those “rice puff filled bars” or a “blended until the ingredients are unrecognizable kind of bar”.  It’s real food!  Yeah!

  27. Gay Lynn Hedges

    Fresh and healthy with the “special touch of a homemade taste” that truly ranks them above all other bars.
    Perfect snack ~ Any time! Pefect local Michigan treat to send your out-of-state friends too.
    Lets all support Dennis and Katy from our local communities.
    Wishing you the best of luck! Congratulations on a job well done.
    Gay Lynn Hedges ~ Petoskey, Michigan

  28. Lauri Brockmiller

    I love ERG bars!  I run down to Cuppa Joe a couple times a week for an ERG bar.  Great snack or meal replacement…perfect for the jersey pocket on a long ride too.  I love the all natural ingredients and tasty variety of flavors.

  29. Dennis Bean-Larson


    Our dealers have been SO great. 95% were developed on a one-by-one, cold call basis when we’d simply walk in and introduce ourselves. They vary from coffee shops to bike shops to local mom and pop grocery stores. It’s not easy for any store to deal with a one-product company like us, and we appreciate their support and enthusiasm.
    We came into this with zero knowledge about food distribution systems and price margins. Many, like Joey Burda at the Leland Merchantile and Derick at Oryana Coop took time out of their busy days to explain how margins are calculated or suggested distributors that would be a good fit for us.
    The 50 or so relationships that we’e developed over the last 8 months are pretty special, and we thank every one.

  30. Dave Durbin

    An energy bar that does what it’s supposed to do and tastes great too.  Thanks ERG! Bar!

  31. Libby Tomlinson

    I love that ERG! Bars are all-natural and local ingredients.  I can feel good about putting quality food into my body, whether I’m working out or just on the go.  Tasty and delicious product!

  32. Katy Bean-Larson

    Dave Durbin, thanks bringing Start Garden to my attention! Didn’t we talk a bit about it before Christmas—-or did I see a FB post by you about it? Anyway, the preponderance of opinion has been that we should be doing this. Thanks all. I’m off to deliver a box of Apricot P’Butter ERGs, and Choco-Cherry ERGs to the Village General Store. This will be their third box.

  33. Steve Nance

    ERG Bars have been a hit at Oryana Natural Foods.  The new labels and packaging moved ERG up a peg or two.  A great local product!

  34. Susan Garber Vigland

    As I was packing my post race bag for the Birkie last Saturday, I thought to myself, what food will I be craving after 50k of xc skiing? What did I pack - an ERG bar. I busted it open after I finished and couldn’t have been happier with my choice. They taste great, have wholesome ingredients and are so satisfying. Only mistake - I should have packed two!

  35. Sandi Postma Daley

    Cuppa Joe loves ERG bars!

  36. Heather Fortin

    Share everyone!!!!!  These bars deserve a boost….with a boost more people will get to enjoy them:)

  37. Maureen Voss

    love these bars.  So delicious, nutritious and real whole food and that is all.  No additives.

  38. Bill Palladino

    I have a closet full of energy bars of all sorts.  Funny thing is there are no ERG bars in that closet.  And that’s because I eat them… all the time… not just when I’m out on a ride.  All those other bars have space age packaging, and been developed in some sterile lab for nutritional perfection, and frankly they taste like it. The ERG Bar is definitely my unit of measure when it comes to sensible, healthy, and delicious performance food.

  39. Pamela Smithbell

    Finally. A bar that isn’t a candy bar, tastes good, doesn’t require a mortgage to pay for, and has real ingredients. AND it is locally produced. Bingo!

  40. John OHearn

    Dennis , good luck with your ERG Bars on StartGarden. Funny, I actually posted my company RaceDingo on their site today as well. Same type of clients, totally different product.

  41. Dennis Hamel

    Great Product. Tastes great and none of the artificial ingredients you find elsewhere.

  42. Tracy Halasinski

    I love ERG bars.  Best bar I’ve ever had.  And, in a true testament to their deliciousness, I have not gotten tired of eating them, which I can’t say for any other product I’ve tried.

  43. Bob Schutter

    I have tried these bars and they are fantastic!

  44. Jacob Michael Ellis

    I am glad that ERG bars are becoming more available, I will not have to settle for anything but the best energy bar when I need fuel.

  45. Kimberly Evers

    Seems like a great idea - and would be in high demand out in Northern California!

  46. John McClintock

    I am a long-distance biker and hiker who finds the ERG bars better than competing bars. Not only are they substantially larger than competing bars, they taste better, too.

  47. Kathy Jerore

    Hope you get your funding. We need these on the east side of the state too.  Good Luck!

  48. Katy Bean-Larson

    Kathy, very soon we will have a distributor in the Detroit area. AND, you can buy them online at Be sure to sign up for our customer newsletter too!

  49. Dennis Bean-Larson


    People have been asking how many bars we’ve made. We’ve made 16,000 bars since last April, with a bit over 1,500 going for samples, to athletes that we support, ....and we’ve eaten a few ourselves! Every single one of these bars have been made and packed by hand.  Katy and I have done the majority of them and we’ve had some help from Andrea K. over the last 2 months.

  50. Stephen Alkire

    These bars are great, they taste so much better than the competition.  it’s nice to have all natural ingredients that you can see and taste.  I keep them in my desk at work for breakfast and snacks.  They are well worth the current price and with the help of this project maybe Dennis and Katy can realize some economies from greater volume.  Best of luck to you both.

  51. Neil Smith

    I’m sitting at Brew, talking to Dennis and eating my first ERG bar. It is delicious.

  52. David Capron

    I am a chemistry teacher and can read the label and love the ERG bars, all the flavors.  They are great for backpacking, bike rides and just around for a quick tasty snack.  Thanks for a great idea

  53. Kevin Daum

    I’ve had these at some bike races in Michigan and love them. I wish they were available at my local health food store.

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This idea was funded by Start Garden staff endorsement on March 14, 2013.