After eating my way through a glut of coconut-flavored nutrition bars for the August issue of Competitor, it was a nice surprise to receive a variety pack of gluten-free, preservative-free (and coconut-free!) Perfect Foods bars from a family owned and operated small business right here in San Diego. Interestingly, the shipment came with an ice pack and styrofoam insulation around the box of bars, accompanied by a smiley face-adorned handwritten note with instructions to store the bars in the freezer or keep them cool in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage. The company’s feel-good story mimics a Brady Bunch episode: Bud Keith and his wife mixed Bud’s whole food supplements with organic peanut butter and honey and the kids started the company that brought the product to the masses.
Here’s how the bars stacked up according to a small sample of active individuals:
Kitchen MacGyver: “These make a great post workout or long run recovery mini meal because they’re not only calorically dense and packed with wholesome nutrition like potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and, of course, protein and carbs, but also because they’re pretty oily and require refrigeration—they’d melt if you took them on a run or ride. The predominant taste is either peanut or almond butter and, depending on the flavor, a hint of dried fruit or carob. I could taste a touch of celery and this reminded me of one of my favorite childhood snacks: ants on a log.”
Sam, KM’s hubby: “I like energy bars because they’re something you can take on the go, throw in a backpack, etc. You can’t do that with these.”
Erin, senior editor for Competitor: “Pluses: Enjoyed mine slightly cold. Liked that it had to be refrigerated because it made me feel like I was eating real food instead of a processed bar. Filled me up and kept me satiated for at least four hours. Minuses: Greasy and bland. Ultimately, if I’m going to eat 305 calories with 19 grams of fat, I’d opt for peanut butter or almond butter right out of the jar—cheaper and has about the same nutritional makeup. If I’m going to eat my calories in the form of a bar, it had better taste awesome.”
Cielestia, associate editor for Competitor: “The almond butter flavor literally tasted like I was eating almond butter. The taste was mildly sweet thanks to the hint of honey and the texture was really creamy. I had mine at room temperature so it lost its shape pretty fast; I’m guessing it’s because it didn’t have any egg products? It would’ve probably tasted better if I’d kept it in the fridge before eating it. Like most protein products, these taste good at first. The nutrition is there but the taste may be lacking for those who don’t enjoy almond butter.”
Linzay, copy editor for Competitor: “It was yummy and delicious and oh so good! It tasted like I was spooning crunchy peanut butter right out of the jar. If you let it melt for just a few minutes it is creamy and good just like peanut butter and is less like a protein bar. My only con is that it is pretty high in fat and calories so I think it would be best after a really big workout. Or I’d eat half after a run and then the other half after my run the next day.”