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On the business fast track: Muslim entrepreneur markets energy bars for Ramadan

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 Child psychiatrist Imran Posner of Bala Cynwyd and a friend came up with the Ramadan Bar, a supplement for pious fasters. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Child psychiatrist Imran Posner of Bala Cynwyd and a friend came up with the Ramadan Bar, a supplement for pious fasters. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

As a Muslim and working professional, Montgomery County resident Imran Posner said keeping the Ramadan fast can be difficult.

During the monthlong festival, which begins Friday evening, observant Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. But thanks to daylight saving time and geographical variations in how the sun’s rays hit the earth, observant Muslims in the West generally have to fast about two hours longer than those in the East.

“Also, when you’re hungry you can be a little bit irritable or more short-tempered,” he said.

Posner admits getting “hangry” can be an issue for him as a child psychiatrist based in Bala Cynwyd. He  needs to keep his cool as he spends his days meeting with kids and their parents and making calls to insurance companies. 

So about five years ago, he and a friend, Farid Sanders who lives in Switzerland, set out to create a product that would supplement their predawn meal or suhoor and help them “last the fast.”

That’s now the tagline for their Ramadan Energy Bars.

The secret to these chocolate-flavored bars, which have the consistency of a fudgy rice crispy treat, is the uncooked cornstarch. It breaks down slowly in your stomach, keeping your blood sugar up longer — or as Posner and Sanders claim, for up to nine hours.

“We generally see it more as a supplement, so not that it would substitute for an entire meal,” Posner cautions. He eats his around 4:30 a.m. with some oatmeal and sliced bananas. 

Posner and Sanders sold about 10,000 boxes during Ramadan 2015, and 20,000 boxes last year, mostly online. This year, they’re aiming for 30,000.

With Islam being the fastest-growing world religion, Posner hopes one day his bars will be in grocery stores as part of special Ramadan displays.

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