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Energy bars strengthen trans-atlantic rowers

Fonterra energy bars give strength to trans-atlantic rowing challenge

When trans-atlantic rowers Kevin Biggar and Scott Donaldson from the Holiday Shoppe Challenge take to the high seas in October they will be carrying a special cargo - more than 600 endurance energy bars specially produced by Fonterra for the challenge.

The energy bars use an energy source which is twice as "energy dense" as carbohydrates. This means athletes only need to consume a small amount to gain a high level of energy.

The bars also weigh less than conventional carbohydrate-based bars, a big plus if you are rowing them across the Atlantic Ocean.

The formula for the energy bar was first developed in the early 1990s by Otago University and Fonterra and the formula is now being refined at the Fonterra Research Centre in Palmerston North.

The endurance energy bars are not yet available commercially so Fonterra is undertaking a special manufacturing run for the campaign.

Fonterra Health and Nutritional Solutions marketing services manager Emily Small says the company plans to launch the product internationally next year.

"The formula will eventually become part of a stable of ingredient products that meet the requirements of a variety of users, including the elderly and young children who would also benefit from energy dense products," says Miss Small.

"We are continuing to refine the original formula to ensure it is up to date with the latest sports science and nutrition advances, and the trans-atlantic challenge provides us with the perfect opportunity to test the latest prototype and we are excited to be making an important contribution to the campaign."

A prototype was used by last year's trans-atlantic challengers and Holiday Shoppe Challenge team manager Rob Hamill believes the endurance energy bars are one of the key secrets to the success of the campaign.

"We need a fuel source that is light, quick and easy to eat, and that provides the energy levels we need for optimum performance. These bars meet all our needs and they far exceed anything else on the market.

"In our first trans-atlantic challenge, we didn't have anything like this. It was difficult to maintain our energy levels, we were burning more energy than we were consuming and we lost a great deal of weight. This meant we weren't performing at our best level," says Mr Hamill.

"During the last campaign we used the energy bar prototype and it made an enormous difference. One of the teams maintained weight, while one the female crew members actually gained weight. This is an ideal situation for endurance competition."

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