Alum Invents Allergy-Free Snack After Near-Death Experience

Alum Invents Allergy-Free Snack After Near-Death Experience

Like many who survive a near-death experience, Amos Bartlett ’14 found a calling after almost reaching his end. Bartlett was snowboarding on Mt. Baker in Washington state, a day he recalls as “the best snowboarding day I’ve ever seen.” He was having such a good time, he didn’t want to stop to eat.

Enter a granola bar. Bartlett knew he had to be cautious of this particular brand due to his peanut allergy, but he threw caution to the wind, hopped on the lift and bit into the bar. That’s when his throat started closing up. Panicked, he had to wait to get off the lift before rushing down the mountain to a supply of Benadryl in his car. Fortunately, he survived, and while back on the lift later in the day (yes, he got back on) he had the thought that someone should make a bar that plainly stated on the label “No Peanuts,” leaving no doubt in the consumer’s mind.

Amos Bartlett ’14

Amos Bartlett ’14

“What I realized is that my entire life I’ve had to flip over everything, it doesn’t matter what the food is,” says Bartlett, “And I wanted to make it easy and not have people need to flip the product over. I didn’t even know how to make a granola bar, but I decided I needed to do it myself.”

He started with the idea for the company while still a senior at College of Charleston. But then he had to figure out how to make a granola bar. While he’s always enjoyed cooking, Bartlett struggled to figure out how to get a granola bar to stick together without using any allergens. “It took me about two years to fully figure it out,” he recalls. “No one binds their bars the same way.”

Ultimately, it was his CofC education that helped him solve the problem. “If I hadn’t taken organic chemistry, I would have never figured out how to hold the bar together,” says Bartlett, who majored in marine biology.

Bartlett’s Know Allergies bars, available in both “No Gluten” and “No Peanut” varieties, can be found all around Charleston, including at alumni-owned Caviar & Bananas. Barlett hopes to get a national distributor soon, but in the meantime you can find his bars online on the Know Allergies website.