Original PowerBar Founder Shifts Gears, Creates Organic Alternative for Health Conscious Customers

JAMBAR Founder Jennifer Maxewell and her husband Brian.


PowerBar is one of the most successful and influential energy bar companies in United States history, having been established in 1986. The company set trends in the American nutrition market, creating a whole new industry focused on portable, convenient nutrition for athletes, musicians and other busy people.

PowerBar was started by husband and wife team Brian and Jennifer Maxwell.

Now, nearly 40 years later, Jennifer Maxwell is taking things to even greater heights — with a renewed focus on healthy, organic and whole foods ingredients. Her new product is JAMBAR, an energy bar combining her love of sports, music and food science into a wholly unique product in the world of holistic health.

Jennifer’s Tragedy, Healing Journey and a ‘New-tritional’ Mission 

JAMBAR at a festival

Jennifer Maxwell (right) at a festival sharing JAMBAR with festival-goers.


Jennifer and her husband Brian spent years working on PowerBar together, and ultimately decided to move on from the company in 2000, selling it to Nestle.

Brian Maxwell suddenly passed away in 2004, leaving Jennifer with an incredibly challenging situation and a clear and present need to take time off to heal herself and raise her six children.

It was during this time that Maxwell began putting her trusty KitchenAid blender (the same one she used to create the iconic PowerBar) to work creating an entirely new energy bar recipe for a new generation focused on organic, pesticide-free living.

The result was JAMBAR, an organic ‘artisan’ energy bar with pure, whole food ingredients for a new generation of athletes, musicians and anyone who enjoys high quality organic nutrition in a convenient and delicious form.

Maxwell’s product is the result of countless hours of trial-and-error, hand-selecting organic, pure and nutritionally sound ingredients, and a passion for helping others.

The company’s products come in five different flavors and fifty percent of the proceeds are donated to organizations focused on music education and active living.

“JAMBAR is a creation with the purpose of combining my interests in sports and music and my experience as a food scientist to create an all-organic food bar that delivers more than just another product in the marketplace,” Maxwell says in the introductory JAMBAR video below.

“It delivers on a bigger purpose of giving back to communities through my passions of music and sports.”

Learn More on the JAMBAR website here

Purchase JAMBAR on Amazon.com

Jennifer’s Love for Sports, Nutrition Started Young 

Maxwell described her childhood in Bolinas, an oceanside community in the Bay Area of California, as “pretty unconventional” according to an interview with MARIN Magazine of Marin County, California.

“Mom was teaching in Tiburn (Calif.), so we commuted over the hill everyday. “I started running at a young age with my mom” Maxwell added.

Jennifer eventually ran her first marathon at age 13 in three hours and 25 minutes, a time she called ‘crazy.’

Later, she ran track and cross country at Tamalpais High School where her love for sports and nutrition continued. She met her husband Brian at UC-Berkeley while studying food science and nutrition, with a goal of learning ‘how to get the best out of (the human body) physiologically using food.”

PowerBar sprung up from grassroots business operations out of a small apartment as Jennifer and Brian began sharing their product with runners at events and eventually gained entry to a bike shop in Berkeley on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, two blocks from their place of residence.

Jennifer Maxwell called the PowerBar ‘legendary,’ adding that it ‘will always hold an important part of (her) heart and soul.”


JAMBAR’s Organic Origin Story 



The seeds of Maxwell’s latest energy bar creation were planted during a conversation with her daughter. She recalled telling her that she ‘didn’t like anything’ in the energy bar industry, saying that the bars on the market ‘weren’t bad,’ but they were not the kind she wanted to eat.

“I wanted more natural sweeteners — no brown rice syrup or tapioca syrup. And dates are too sweet. I wanted more whole foods, not just dried fruit, and I wanted to eat organic,” Maxwell said to MARIN in an interview with Christina Mueller.

The former PowerBar founder experimented with all manner of ingredients before settling on maple syrup, grape syrup and date syrup, eschewing oils and overly processed ‘non-food ingredients’ in favor of organic fruits and whole grains.

She chose to eschew brown rice protein because of the digestive difficulties it creates for many people. Finally, Maxwell had a recipe she felt comfortable bringing to market.

“After a couple years, I made some good progress,” she said. “I felt good about putting this on the market.

“My reputation was at stake — I wanted to feel great about it.”


My Personal Impressions of JAMBAR Organic Energy Bars

I recently had the opportunity to sample all five flavors of JAMBAR and came away thoroughly impressed. JAMBAR is simply put one of my absolute favorite new healthy organic food products I have tried in a long, long time.
The flavors are crisp and delicious, delighting the taste buds with freshness and a burst of flavor unlike anything else I’ve ever tried in the energy bar category. Jennifer Maxwell’s favorite flavor is Chocolate Cha Cha, which she describes as a ‘chocolate oatcake.’ It is also my personal favorite flavor.
My favorite flavors of JAMBAR in order are as follows (all ingredients listed are organic): 
3. JAMBAR Musical Mango – With Mango, Cashew Butter, and Date Juice
4. JAMBAR Jammin’ Jazzleberry – With Organic Blueberries, Blackberries and Raspberries

PowerBar, Brian Maxwell, and JAMBAR — A Journey of Health and Love For Community That Came Full Circle 

Jennifer Maxwell’s journey has taken her from college to wife- and motherhood to starting a new business without the support of her late husband.

She told MARIN that her love for her local community and the support it gave to her and Brian Maxwell were just part of the inspiration that have led to their success.

“Brian and I felt so supported by our community when we started,” Jennifer said. “We started from nothing. And the support we felt as we grew, not just from consumers but employees as well — we felt a lot of love around us. It must emanate from that.”

Thank you so much for reading, and special thanks to JAMBAR for providing samples for the purposes of writing this article! JAMBAR donates 50% of its profits to running, biking, music enrichment and other programs.

The company has also donated thousands of bars to Haiti through the ‘Sticking Up For Children’ foundation. 

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About Nick Meyer

Nick Meyer is a journalist who's been published in the Detroit Free Press, Dallas Morning News and several other outlets. He founded AltHealthWORKS in 2012 to showcase extraordinary stories of healing and the power of organic living, stories the mainstream media always seemed to miss. Check out Nick's Amazon best-seller 'Dirt Cheap Organic: 101 Tips For Going Organic on a Budget' by clicking here, as well as its sequel Dirt Cheap Weight Loss.