Emeryville, CA—At mile 120 of a 175-mile bike ride in 1990, Clif Bar & Company founder, co-owner and co-CEO Gary Erickson came up with the idea for CLIF Bar. A short time later, he baked the first bar in his mother’s kitchen, and the rest is company history. 2012 marks the company’s 20-year anniversary, and it is marking the occasion with new product launches and events throughout the year for customers and retailers.

“If you had told me then where we would be today, I don’t think that I would have believed you! It is amazing what a single moment of inspiration can develop into,” Erickson says. He attributes the success to the company’s commitment to its product line of sports nutrition foods and healthy snacks made from nutritious and organic ingredients. “We are able to create these foods for consumers thanks to Clif Bar’s community of talented, passionate, and hardworking people,” he says.

Encouraging young companies to identify the values that are important to them as a foundation for doing business, co-owner and co-CEO Kit Crawford describes the values that have driven their own success story. She states, “At Clif Bar & Company, we have a unique business model with five equally weighted bottom lines which we call our ‘Aspirations’—Sustaining our Brands, our Business, our People, our Community and the Planet. These aspirations reflect our personal values and they give us the freedom to explore opportunities from a variety of different perspectives.”

In May, the 20th anniversary will be marked with the launch of GARY’s PANFORTE, a limited-edition CLIF Bar made with fruits, nuts and spices, said to be inspired by Erickson’s early cycling experiences in the Passo di Gàvia in Northern Italy. Twenty-three ingredients make up the bar including pears, figs, pistachios and cloves, many of which are present in the traditional Italian panforte recipe.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2012