The U.S. military wanted a meal replacement bar to provide for troops on the move, but they weren't satisfied with any of the available bars on the market. So they did what any well-funded military would do: they made their own. And so the HOOAH bar was born.

Nutritional Information
Created early in the twenty-first century, the HOOAH! bar was designed to "improve the physical and mental performance of soldiers during sustained operations and under all climatic conditions." According to the military, this means a bar is needed that is reliable. Military nutritionists used complex carbohydrates, soy and whey protein, and specific vitamins to create the HOOAH bar. It is made with all-natural ingredients, 17 vitamins and minerals, and contains zero trans fat. The bar is available in two flavors, chocolate crisp and apple cinnamon. Each 65g bar contains 280 calories and 10g protein, and the chocolate flavor is slightly higher in fat (including saturated fat) and potassium than the apple cinnamon flavor, which in turn is higher in sodium and total carbohydrates. Neither bar contains a full daily complement of any nutritive vitamins or minerals - the most you can get per bar is 60% of your Vitamin E for the day, 50% of your folate, and 35% of your Vitamin C; all others are 25% of the USRDA or less.

Target Audience
Although originally only available to military personnel, the HOOAH! bar is now being sold online. The marketing material accompanying the home-based products mentions that it is suitable for athletes, overworked employees, and even tired parents. As of March 2005 the bars were only being sold in boxes of 15, at $30/box or $2/bar. (It is also available in the snack bars and gift shops of some DoD facilities, where it is sold for $1.75 each.) Families and friends of deployed troops can also get in on the HOOAH! action, even if they don't want the bars for themselves: HOOAH!'s Any Soldier program allows anyone to send a box of bars to a soldier of their choice, or to a randomly selected soldier. Boxes sold this way are $21.

About the Name
A cross-service product needs a cross-service name. If it were just a product of the Navy, they could call it a Navy Bar...but Marines might not appreciate that! One element that crosses all the services is the hooah (I work with many military members, and they all put the stress on the first syllable). As an expression of congratulations, joy, and encouragement, it's clear that HOOAH! was the right choice for a pick-me-up energy bar.

Wait a Minute...
So you've been reading this node and thinking "wow, the military sure put a lot of effort into designing and marketing this bar." That's right, they did, and all that effort costs a lot of money. This means that you, me, and all other Americans paid for the development and production of an energy bar. Nearly 20% of federal taxpayer money is earmarked for military and domestic security purposes - but not for the helmets and armored vehicles troops in Iraq have been asking for, but for the development of an energy bar.

Final Thoughts
I have yet to purchase a HOOAH! bar at work; I see them when I walk up to the register but I waffle over the purchase. Once I have tasted one for myself, I'll report on the texture and taste of the bar. And please don't think from the "wait a minute" paragraph that I resent the soldiers for using my taxes to pay for their energy bars - it's not the soldiers' decision. The problem is more endemic than that: the military has so much money they have to make up things to do with it. Like energy bars. But enjoy those bars, soldiers - they're being made, you might as well eat 'em.


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