Monday, 16 September 2013

Fruit Bars Reviewed

IntroductionFruit BarsCereal BarsProtein Bars

Fruit-based bars are generally based on dates, often with apricots or raisins. Added bulk and texture usually comes from ground nuts or oats. This seems to be one of the fastest-growing sections of the market, and there are dozens of flavours available from a number of popular brands, with new ones being launched all the time.

Beond bars

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
361 - 38011.6 - 12.6%

Blueberry • Apple Cinnamon • Acai Berry • Raw Choc

Beond Bars are an organic blend of dried fruits and almonds. I particularly loved the Blueberry flavour, which tastes as fresh and juicy as if you'd just picked the fruit from a bush yourself. The whole range is raw, vegan, and gluten free. As well as full-sized (35g) bars, Beond have also just launched a range of mini bars, at just 15g and under 60 calories, which are truly bite-sized. This seems like a really neat option to have available, and presently this is the only brand to offer a mini snack size.

Bounce ball

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
428.68.9 - 11.1%

Fudgie Walnut • Cashew & Pecan • Spirulina & Ginseng
(plus three non-veggie flavours)

Three of the current range of Bounce Balls are suitable for vegetarians & vegans; the inclusion of whey protein in the other varieties means they can't guarantee they're veggie. Bounce balls are packed with nuts, rice, oats, and seeds, all stuck together with fruit. They have a great texture, and the (inevitably slightly squashed!) ball shape makes them stand out.

Braw bar

 Calories per 100g  Calories from Protein 
322 - 3326.9 - 8.5%

Strawberry • Apple & Pear
Cocoa & Orange • Blackcurrant

Braw bars come in four bright, fruity flavours. Each contains about 60% fruit and 23% oats, with the remainder made up mostly of rice starch, almonds, and flax seeds for extra nutritional benefit. All the bars are vegan and gluten free. These are a little drier than most of the fruit-based bars, but they taste really fresh.

Frank bar

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
333 - 35213.1 - 13.3%

Blueberry & Chocolate • Strawberry & Chocolate
Orange & Chocolate • Oat & Chocolate
Double Chocolate

With a thick chocolate topping, Frank Bars feel more like eating a chocolate bar than a healthy fruit snack - but the vegan chocolate is actually based on coconut, and they're surprisingly high in protein. The ingredients include almost 50% dried fruit, with about 10% oats (except the Oat & Chocolate flavour, which naturally has more). I really love these bars, especially the Strawberry flavour, although the fact that they feel so indulgent means I wouldn't want to eat them every day.

Nakd bar

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
415 - 4507.2 - 10.6%

Pecan Pie • Ginger Bread • Cashew Cookie
Berry Delight • Rhubarb & Custard • Caffé Mocha
Cocoa Delight • Cocoa Orange • Cocoa Mint

Nakd bars are comprised of approximately half fruit (mostly dates) and half nuts. The ingredient list is proudly minimalist, and contains only things you might have in your kitchen cupboards. The whole range is vegan, raw, and gluten free, and there are loads of flavours to choose from. I particularly love the subtle kick of ginger in the Ginger Bread bar, and the Pecan Pie bar is another favourite.

Bliss Bar

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
365 - 3904.1 - 8.8%

Berry Bliss • Bliss Bar • Raw Choc Brownie
Energy Bomb • Energy Bomb Banana

Pulsin' Bars are packed with raw cocoa, as well as dates, nuts, and rice. They have a very dense texture, and an unusual range of flavours, which makes them quite different to other bars on the market.

Raw bar

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
405 - 4335.5 - 8.9%

Apricot & Almond • Date & Brazil

Raw Bars are another date-based bar. I loved the large chunks of nuts, both for the texture and the burst of distinctive flavour in each mouthful. At the moment there are only two varieties in this range, but given the number of different Energy Balls (see below) available from the same company, I'd be surprised if this didn't increase soon.

Raw balls

Calories per 100gCalories from Protein
309 - 4645.2 - 13.5%

Hemp Protein Balls • Fruity Coconut Balls
Spirulina Orange Balls • Zesty Lemon & Chia Balls
 Blissed Chocada Truffles

These Raw Energy Balls look more like elegant truffles than like an energy snack, and in their smart presentation boxes I don't think they'd survive well out and about! The range consists of date-based balls, with various added ingredients including nuts, coconut, cocoa, chia, hemp, and spirulina. As well as looking quite unlike most energy bars, they're also the least consistent range in terms of nutritional profile - furthering my impression that taste (and style!) was prioritised over nutrition. Unsurprisingly, the Hemp Protein Balls are the one with comparatively higher protein (at 13.5% this was definitely an outlier, although still not quite high enough to break through into my protein bars category). I particularly liked the citrus varieties, especially the Zesty Lemon; even if they're not the most practical, they are very yummy.

IntroductionFruit BarsCereal BarsProtein Bars

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