Our Company's History
Most people value all natural foods and want more wholesome goodness in their lives. To help meet this growing demand, Adele Gronner began 'Joy of Cookies' (her 22nd job) in Northern California. It was 1982. She was just 22. Adele's no preservative approach to the 'All-American' cookie won many adherents and her wholesale business quickly grew to service the cities of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
A dozen years later, Adele created the fruit and juice flavored 'A Better Oatcake' answering the year-long requests of her cookie customers to provide them "a better oatcake." This energy bar was a revolutionary soy (tofu) and oat-based health bar – an attempt to craft a perfect food. These handy vegan 'meal' replacements were high in protein, high in fiber, low in fat and made without wheat, dairy, added oil or cholesterol. The 'hockey puck' shaped bar became the rage and were soon sold in over 1,000 retail locations in the western United States, including such chains as Whole Foods.
By 1999 Adele had incorporated, and 'A Better Oatcake' was renamed 'California Suncakes.' Sales expanded to the eastern seaboard with the introduction of individual unit packages to further extend shelf-life from the vacuum-packed seal previously used. Now her customers could have the best of both worlds -- a freshly baked taste with shelf-stability.
Local medical community members were quick to embrace the oat bars and began recommending them as 'smart nutrition' at a growing number of health clinics, including ones at Kaiser, California Pacific Medical Center, and Alta Bates.
Adele's passion to create extraordinary food continued to remain vital. In 2002 she not only had her first and only child, but released the 'Heart Thrive' energy oat bar. 'Heart Thrive' mimicked the recipe of the 'California Suncakes' but with added calcium (even more so than an 8-oz glass of milk) and each unit contained a double 2-oz heart shape bar -- attracting a new demographic. New flavors were added to the 'Heart Thrive' line as well. Both bars sat side-by-side on the counter-tops of stores, gyms, cafes, and campuses but with a different package design and brand name. Unique but the same.
Each product delivering up to a whopping 30% of daily protein needs and metabolizing slowly with low-glycemic ingredients, 'Heart Thrive' and 'California Suncakes' (now "The Healthy Energy Bar") provided balancing and sustainable fuel for hours --- ideal for diabetics. And with gluten at ten parts per million, many challenged with celiac disease enjoyed them as well without side effects. This is still the case.
And being great for your heart as their name implied, testimonials poured in. Not only from those in the medical field, but also from athletes, mothers & their young, workaholics, college bound kids, elderly folks, and travelers too couldn't leave home without their bars. Consumers had found a healthy and satisfying 'meal' replacement.
When pioneering "healthy" into her energy bars in the early 1990's, Adele did not know that her creations would not only be a sensation, but draw copycats to compete. She found over the years same shape bars, ingredients, package color & design, flavors, and even names were copied. This may have been flattering, but the competition became fierce. The energy bar market became saturated. This did not deter Adele from continuing to serve health conscious folks attracted to these vegan, gluten-free treats all while remaining on the leading edge of healthy. Nutritionally honest, sound and delicious, these bars had staying power. Fast forward 20 years..
With the surge of so called 'healthy' energy bars (mostly about 2-ounces) on store shelves, and with cost of goods and services and fuel skyrocketing, action was taken in order to keep a healthy and robust ship from sinking.
The 4-oz bars were the lowest priced per-ounce bars on the market for 3 decades. But recent years of serving consumers while the business was in dire straits, Adele was prompted and inspired to take the route of re-branding the 4-oz 'California Suncakes' and 'Heart Thrive' into a single 2-ounce heart-shaped bar along with an updated package design in order to remain in the game. It was a hard but necessary decision.
The re-brand called 'The Healthy Energy Bar' was due to launch in March 2020, but with the pandemic shutdowns it was far from climactic. In May when lock-downs began lifting and retailers (except those forced to close their businesses for good) began slowly ordering again, the Oakland kitchen again saw some action.
The re-branded oat bar (The Healthy Energy Bar) was well received among those small retailers that reopened and a new demographic was attracted to the updated package design. The company endured hard times and is grateful to have old and new customers opening their doors for some great bars to display and sell. Although no longer baking full-time, the company is eager to obtain more new cafes and retailers. Adele's small but diligent staff works hard to get this essential food to the mouths of the health-conscious and the health challenged... on time.
Pre-pandemic -- with the rise and hype of superfoods such as coconut and hemp, Adele went into action in 2017 making new bars ("CoffeeHouse Bar" and "Maxaroon") which appeal to existing and new consumers.
This old 40 year 'start-up' remains a small entity. Adele's take has always been no outsourcing, no warehousing, and no distributors. This business model helps to keep a controlled environment by keeping the contaminants out, and the goods good and fresh.
Today all of the products live under the umbrella that best describes the businesses passion - The Healthy Baking Company
The Healthy Baking Company remains on the leading edge of healthy by continuing to bake low-fat, low-glycemic, not-too-sweet, and healthfully addicting bars that are easy to pack, easy to digest, and easy to enjoy.
We are grateful to a loyal fan base. Share a bar with a friend and they'll be fast and loyal. Check out our heart-felt reviews from then and now!
You can shop conveniently online or find the bars at a variety of locations throughout the country, including cafes, college campuses, health food stores, and fitness centers. NOTE: during the pandemic several of these establishments became permanently closed. Met with some challenging times, 2022 showed a much needed recovery.
In 2023 we will celebrate 41 years. Thank you for 4 decades of support.