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February 26, 2018

RXBARs: Simple Ingredients, Simply Incomplete Ingredients List

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:23 am

Our friends at TruthinAdvertising.org discovered an interesting fine print issue that we want to share with you.

There are many “health” bars on the market that frankly look like glorified candy bars except they are made with healthier ingredients. On such product is called RXBAR:


They came up with a brilliant marketing gimmick to put a big and bold ingredients list on the front of each package to convey its contents. Their slogan is, “We tell you what’s on the inside on the outside.”

Shoppers may well grab this bar or one of the other varieties thinking that the four or five ingredients shown are the sum total of the contents.


The ingredients panel on the back of the package lists all the ingredients in the actual order of predominance:

Dates, Peanuts, Egg Whites, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt.

While the number of missing ingredients was minor for this flavor, the other bars that the company sells can have up to nine total ingredients while only four are shown on the front.

rxbar varieties

Even their television ad seems to acknowledge that prospective purchasers could be misled by the ingredients list on the face of the package because they inconspicuously make the following disclosure at the end of the commercial:



A company spokesperson told TruthinAdvertising:

“We do not claim that the front of the packaging represents all ingredients in the product.”

What do you think? Are the RXBAR packages potentially misleading?

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  1. What a deceptive practice!

    The way that the ingredient list is formatted on the front of the package makes it look like the list is complete.

    Shoppers could well believe that egg whites and peanuts are the predominant ingredients when, in fact, the dates are. How misleading.

    Comment by HMC — February 26, 2018 @ 7:47 am
  2. Just another dishonest gimmick! A lot of people will see the ingredient list on the front & assume that it’s complete, and look no farther. No B.S.? THAT’S B.S.!

    Comment by Sunny H — February 26, 2018 @ 8:37 am
  3. Yes, but it’s still up to the consumer to read the whole thing. I consider labels to be much like contracts — must read the whole thing if you expect any protection.

    Comment by BobF — February 26, 2018 @ 8:39 am
  4. I have no problem with RX because they don’t have garbage ingredients like Canola oil, Soy Lecithin, Aspartame, Ace-K, etc. Finding a good bar without tons of garbage is near impossible. I’m not a fan of all their flavors or the price, but they are on par with other bars. If I’m spending money, it’s not on fillers and toxic ingredients.

    Comment by Mitch — February 26, 2018 @ 9:20 am
  5. I think that the label is misleading because many people would assume the ingredients are listed in order of volume or mass percentage of the final product and that there are not other ingredients in the package.

    However, because the additional ingredients seem to be there only for additional flavor, I think this advertising is relatively decent compared to other label offenses.

    Comment by Wayne — February 26, 2018 @ 12:04 pm
  6. Virtually all manufacturers of packaged foods look for and exploit loopholes in FDA regulations. One such loophole is the fact that the only place a manufacturer has to list all the ingredients in proper descending order, is in the official FDA mandated nutrition panel usually found somewhere on the sides (or back) of the packaging material. There are apparently no rules governing what is said on the front of the package, except that it is not supposed to be a complete falsehood. But the FDA seems to have no problem with white lies and misleading information. So many manufacturers use the front of the package to display just those ingredients they assume you will like and will motivate you to purchase the product. As always, CONSUMER BEWARE!

    Comment by Paul Gilbert — February 26, 2018 @ 3:13 pm
  7. Well while I can see the smooth or “deceptive” marketing strategy that people could come across and assume anything they want. BUT, it does NOT say this is “ALL” the ingredients listed right here on the front of the bar…I think it’s pretty smart, and anyone who has been alive and living in 2018 knows it’s a REQUIREMENT -if not a: law to list all actual ingredients on the packaging, which they did! And in there marketing, they simply point out all the best ingredients big bold and first front row as soon as you see it. It’s not like the other ones are harmful or anything…. -That would be (a whole) different (story).

    Comment by Ashley — February 28, 2018 @ 8:59 am
  8. I can’t believe that this practice could be justified. It is intentionally deceptive and on that count alone it is unethical. Listing the ingredients and their amounts followed by “No BS” misleads you into thinking they’re giving you the whole story, when they’re not.

    Also, what if someone did assume that those were the only ingredients and didn’t bother to look at the back label only to find out too late that they were allergic to one of them? In this kind of case you can’t just blame the consumer for assuming what the company obviously wanted them to assume….

    Comment by Renee — March 6, 2018 @ 12:30 am
  9. Why should the burden be on the consumer? That’s just silly. I’ll never get why rank and file Americans almost always choose to side with businesses over individuals. You are asking each of us to individually pit our distracted brains against that of a business. That’s not a fair fight.

    >Yes, but it’s still up to the consumer to read the whole thing. I consider labels to be much like contracts — must read the whole thing if you expect any protection.

    Yikes…imagine going into a grocery store and having to read through tens of contracts just to buy food for your family. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Comment by Tundey Akinsanya — March 8, 2018 @ 1:15 pm

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