I’ve had a not-so-illustrious history with so-called energy bars. In general, I find them to be over-priced, over-hyped, and bland. And the cynic in me notes that companies market the bars in a way that appeals to a specific demographic’s abhorrence of junk food when, in fact, despite the ingredients, the so-called energy bars are junk food in the end. Organic sugar is still sugar. And rolled oats is also an ingredient in the generic Dollar Store granola bars. Just sayin’
When out hiking, when I want junk food for salty snacks or a Snickers, I’ll purchase the food without the overhead of some marketing hype that plays well to people out to #CRUSH the #EPIC trail.
So, when Eat Your Coffee wrote to me about reviewing some energy bars, I thought, “Cripe. Here we go again.”
But I looked at their website. The company claims aren’t grandiose. They more or less make a claim: “We make caffeinated snacks with good ingredients. Something to tide you over in between meals. And we’ll give you a buzz, too.”
The bars tick off the nutritional checklist for any product marketed to the REI outdoor demographic (gluten-free, fair trade, non-GMO, organic this and organic that) as expected.
But I am not interested in those aspects when out hiking overall.
I just want to know
- Will I get enough calories?
- Will the bars be tasty?
- Are the bars reasonable in price?
At 170 to 190 calories per 1.6 oz bar, the bars have an acceptable calorie to weight ratio, are compact enough, and are shelf-stable for resupply purposes.
As for taste, well, they are a typical 21st-century energy bar. Meaning, they taste like every other energy bar with the rice syrup, rolled oats, and organic this and organic that ingredients. How people can say these type of bars are delicious, I don’t know or get it. Perhaps my palate is not as sophisticated, but I find most of these bars to be bland with a marginal difference in taste between the “flavors.” These bars are no different.
Price? Not too bad, or rather average. About $2 per bar. Twice the cost of a candy bar, but on par for bars of this type.
But there’s a wildcard: The bars have 80mg of caffeine to with the not-quite-200 calories.
As a bit of a caffeine fiend at times, I certainly appreciate this aspect.
On my New Mexico walk, I enjoyed the mid-afternoon pick-me-up. I received some calories and a caffeine buzz with no fuss. The dirt bagger option is to eat a Snickers for more calories and chase it with a caffeine pill, of course. But that option may not appeal to everyone.
Overall: The marketing spiel claims you can have a filling snack with caffeine. And it delivers.
I find the taste to be the typical bland energy bar taste, but if you buy some bars in bulk to save a little money, a caffeinated snack during the afternoon might be just what you need to get your distance goals in for the day. “Eat Your Coffee” also sells snack bites with 65mg of caffeine, 90 calories, and weigh .9 oz. The calorie to weight ratio is about the same as the snack bars, but the caffeine ratio is higher. Very important. 😉
Disclosure: Eat Your Coffee provided the bars and snack bites for my review at no cost to me.
I think I will stick w/ your dirt bag advice. BTW when I need caffeine I can just mix an el-cheap-o coffee stick to water and drink it down. Good write up on energy type bars. I can eat them, but I don’t care for them. Would have to be an emergency.