Q&A with a Clif Nutrition Specialist, Jessica Chon

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 11.26.49 AM

CLIF is leading the way in healthy and balanced nutrition options for runners, and we asked one of their employees, Jessica Chon, a few questions about her job, Clif nutrition products, and their process.

What is your current role at Clif?
Nutrition Specialist


Clif employees and founder, Gary Erickson, go for an annual “Epiphany Ride”, commemorating the ride on which Gary first dreamed up a Clif Bar.

What does your day-to-day look like?
Everyday is different but usually involves some good food and exercise. At work, I make sure I’m caught up on the latest nutrition studies published, and then consult with our various teams (legal, R&D, brand, PR) on current projects. I focus on making sure everything we make has a solid nutrition purpose and that we are communicating this purpose accurately.

What is your favorite part about working for Clif?
That it feels like a relationship. Our morals and values are aligned on the same big picture goals and then the day to day is just like every other relationship – up/down, fast/slow, fun/frustrating, etc. We don’t have to check anything at the door. We can be 100% who we are at work. And exercise is encouraged. I love moving.

What is the process behind deciding what ingredients go into Clif products?
Sometimes it’s easy and obvious, other times it’s a struggle. All departments play a part until we can find the ingredients that: serve the correct nutrition purpose for the bar, are available as organic in the quantity we need, are safe and delicious for the shelf life of the product, and are in the direction the brand wants to go.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 11.22.24 AM

Scott Jurek, ultramarathoner, with Clif Organic Energy Food. Image courtesy of @clifbarcompany Instagram.

What led to the development of Clif’s Organic Energy Food?
A few things but mainly we knew that athletes are looking for more real food ingredients in their sports nutrition offerings, and they are interested in more savory foods, too. We were able to achieve the macronutrient profiles we were aiming for with ingredients like banana puree, or quinoa and sunflower butter. It was definitely exciting and a fresh new take on sports nutrition for us, and we hope everyone else out there likes it too.

clif_shot_bloksWe’ve heard there’s an interesting story behind Shot Bloks Energy Chews and the Fastpak design.
Well, we launched Bloks in a pouch and everyone loved the product but consumers gave us feedback that it was hard for them to access the Bloks when they were pushing their limits on a bike, run, etc. So, we took that feedback and got out our craft supplies to see if we could come up with packaging that would fit in a bike jersey and be easy to handle while ridding or running. Then we worked with our manufacturer to develop our custom package which stacks the bloks vertically so they are easy to slide out while moving. Consumers loved the change, so we never looked back.

What is your current personal favorite Clif nutrition product?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Peanut Toffee Buzz CLIF Bar. It’s not the most popular but I think it should be, and I never want to see it go away. We just came out with a new and exciting bar called Clif Nut Butter Filled Bar, and that has nut butter tucked inside of an energy bar… and it’s sooo good. This is more of my go-to for hiking, or a busy Saturday, or a long bike ride.

clif_nut_butter_barIs there anything new coming down the line that we can get excited about?
Our Clif Nut Butter Filled (mentioned above) is pretty new and exciting. Beyond that, we are always working on new products that excite me. Specifically, we have some new Bloks flavors that we are working on that I think will be a great new addition to our current flavors, and a fun way to mix it up.

Leave us with a quote that inspires you.
“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” Maya Angelou

Thanks, Jessica!

Related posts: