In 2016, California-based Clif Bar Baking Company opened a 275,000-square-foot bakery in Twin Falls where 210 employees now make Clif Bars - organic energy and nutrition bars used largely by outdoor adventurers and athletes. Company officials say the facility was constructed to feature a low carbon footprint.
“This is a manufacturing plant, but we call it our bakery,” says Dale Ducommun, general manager of Clif Bar Baking Company of Twin Falls. “We strive for zero waste, water conservation and energy efficiency, including many windows for natural lighting and a cool roof that reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Landscaping at the bakery is highlighted by habitats for bees and butterflies to help improve pollination in the area.
"And 100 percent of the electricity used for the bakery building comes from renewable sources," Ducommun says.
Energizing and Nutritious
Clif Bar originated in 1990 when owner and outdoor enthusiast Gary Erickson embarked on a 175-mile bicycle ride and packed six energy bars for the excursion. Only one energy bar was on the market at that time, and halfway through his ride, Erickson realized he couldn’t eat another unappetizing, sticky, hard-to-digest, non-nutritious bar.
“Gary knew he could make a better energy product that would fuel a person and taste good, so he came up with Clif Bars and began making them in his mother’s kitchen,” Ducommun says. “He eventually sold the bars at bicycling events and in specialty stores, and the product became a hit with cyclists and rock climbers. The company formally launched in 1992.”
Today, Clif Bars are sold in grocery stores, convenience stores and major retailers like Costco, Target, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.
“Anywhere you can buy food, you can pretty much buy Clif Bars,” Ducommun says. “In addition, we also make Clif Kid ZBars that are 100 percent organic and a good pick-me-up for children in their academic and sports endeavors. Clif Bars and Clif Kid ZBars are the products we make in Twin Falls.”
Why Twin Falls?
So why did Clif Bar choose Twin Falls for its bakery operation?
“Twin Falls is a perfect spot for us,” Ducommun says. “Within a 15-minute radius, you can kayak on the Snake River, ride great mountain bike trails, go on rock-climbing adventures, or enjoy several other outdoor activities. That’s what this company is all about.”
Ducommun points out that Twin Falls city and county leaders have welcomed and supported the company from the start, and the company makes an effort to reciprocate and give back to the community.
“For example, all of our employees work at least 20 hours a year for nonprofit or community organizations, and Clif Bar pays each employee for those 20 hours of work,” he says. “It might be cleaning local parks and public lands, repainting housing units, or dozens of other worthwhile projects. Also, we use area farms whenever possible to provide us with the organic ingredients – like oats – that are in our Clif Bars.”
Feels Like Home
Twin Falls City Manager Travis Rothweiler says Clif Bar Bakery fits all the ideals that Twin Falls looks for in a company.
“When they chose to build their bakery here, Clif Bar officials told us that Twin Falls feels like home,” Rothweiler says. “Having that company choose our community is really a win for us.”
Rothweiler says that besides providing quality jobs and contributing to the city’s tax base, the presence of Clif Bar could potentially help Twin Falls attract other innovative food and baking companies that embrace research and development.
“The ownership and management team at Clif Bar are really good people with philanthropic hearts, and they will challenge their company and our community to be the best they can be,” he says. “Those are obviously the kinds of companies we want in Twin Falls.”