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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > 2011 Clif Bar assortment > Test Report by Andrew Henrichs

Clif Bar Energy Bars

Test Series by Andy Henrichs

April 19, 2011

Initial Report - 1-14-11

Long Term Report - 4-19-11

Biographical Information

Name:  Andy Henrichs
Age: 30
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  185 lb (83.9 kg)
Email address:  andyhenrichs(at)gmail(dot)com
City, State, Country:  Carbondale, Colorado, USA

Backpacking Background

   Most of my backpacking has been in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts in the southwestern US.  I have gone winter camping several times but I still prefer backpacking in the warmer months.  Most of my trips are 2-3 days, but I have taken several trips of 5-6 days.  In the summer of 2004, I was fortunate enough to have thru-hiked the 476 mile Colorado Trail over 35 days.  Recently, I have been leaning towards the lightweight side of the spectrum. 

 

Initial Report

 

Product Information

Manufacturer:  Clif Bar & Company (www.clifbar.com)

Year of Manufacture: 2011
MSRP: unknown
Manufacturers Stated Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Measured Weight (average): 2.6 oz (74 g)

 

the bars

The Clif Bar assortment

Product Description

According to the manufacturer, Clif Bar Energy Bars are "70% organic ingredients, high in protein, no trans fats, [and] all natural." It appears as though these energy bars come in 16 different flavors; I have 10 different flavors to test. Below are the flavors I will be testing along with nutritional information provided by the manufacturer for each flavor. All serving sizes are equal to one Bar, which is listed as 68 g (2.4 oz).

Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch

260 Calories
60 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 6 g 10%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 7%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 200 mg 8%
Potassium 260 mg 7%
Total Carb. 42 g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 21 g  
Other Carb. 16 g  
Protein 11 g 22%

Cool Mint Chocolate

250 Calories
50 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 140 mg 6%
Potassium 240 mg 7%
Total Carb. 43 g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 17 g  
Other Carb. 21 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Maple Nut

240 Calories
50 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Sat. Fat 1 g 4%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 220 mg 9%
Potassium 250 mg 7%
Total Carb. 42 g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 20 g  
Other Carb. 17 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut

240 Calories
45 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Sat. Fat 1 g 4%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 130 mg 5%
Potassium 310 mg 9%
Total Carb. 43 g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 3 g  
Sugars 20 g  
Other Carb. 18 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

White Chocolate
Macadamia Nut

240 Calories
60 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 7 g 11%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 160 mg 7%
Potassium 180 mg 5%
Total Carb. 41 g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16%
Insoluble Fiber 2 g  
Sugars 21 g  
Other Carb. 16 g  
Protein 9 g 18%

Apricot

230 Calories
30 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 3 g 5%
Sat. Fat 0.5 g 3%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 125 mg 5%
Potassium 310 mg 9%
Total Carb. 45 g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 21 g  
Other Carb. 19 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Banana Nut Bread

250 Calories
50 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 6 g 9%
Sat. Fat 1 g 6%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 130 mg 5%
Potassium 310 mg 9%
Total Carb. 43 g 14%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 21 g  
Other Carb. 19 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Carrot Cake

240 Calories
35 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 4 g 6%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 150 mg 6%
Potassium 250 mg 7%
Total Carb. 46 g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 21 g  
Other Carb. 20 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Chocolate Almond Fudge

250 Calories
45 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 140 mg 6%
Potassium 300 mg 9%
Total Carb. 44 g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 20 g  
Other Carb. 19 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Chocolate Brownie

240 Calories
40 Calories from Fat

Amount/Serving %DV
Total Fat 5 g 9%
Sat. Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholest. 0 mg 0%
Sodium 150 mg 6%
Potassium 340 mg 11%
Total Carb. 44 g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5 g 20%
Insoluble Fiber 4 g  
Sugars 22 g  
Other Carb. 18 g  
Protein 10 g 20%

Initial Impressions

I am very familiar with Clif Bar Energy Bars, but I generally stick with a few tried and true flavors, none of which are included in this test. This will be a good opportunity for me to expand my horizons a bit. While I'm not obsessive or a fanatic about nutrition details, I do try to eat a healthy mix of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Generally, I try to get 60% of my calories from carbohydrates. Based on the provided nutrition information, these Clif Bar Energy Bars provide approximately 70% of the calories from carbohydrates. I feel that this is well in the range that I look for. In theory, if I will be an a very long, energy-intensive outing, I would probably supplement them with a higher fat-content food for optimum performance. In reality, I just try to get calories from any available source.

I have only tried one of the test bars since their arrival - Apricot. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. It had a rather strong lemon taste initially, but that soon gave way to a standard apricot taste. It was nice to have an energy bar with a hint of fruit rather than just oats, chocolate, etc. It seemed to be a more natural sweetness than a chocolate bar might provide. I am looking forward to trying the other flavors and determining which I will enjoy and which I will not.

Long Term Report

Field Conditions

I have consumed these bars during a wide variety of activities and in a variety of locations. I have eaten them while backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and whitewater rafting. Most of the backcountry skiing trips have been in the Elk Mountains of western Colorado. Elevations on these trips ranged from 9000 ft (2700 m) to over 13000 ft (4000 m). I have gone on approximately 20 backcountry ski tours over the testing period, consuming approximately one bar per tour. The distance of these backcountry skiing trips ranged from 3 mi (4.8 km) to 13 mi (21 km). The mountain biking trip was on a local trail near Carbondale, Colorado; the elevation here is approximately 6200 ft (1900 m). The distance of this ride was approximately 20 mi (32 km) and I ate one Clif Bar on this ride. The hikes and whitewater rafting were both located in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The elevation at the put-in was approximately 3200 ft (980 m), while the elevation at the take-out was approximately 1200 ft (370 m). Hikes were generally 4 mi (6.4 km), and we averaged 15 mi (24 km) on the river per day for 18 days. This translated to a lot of rowing, and I supplemented my lunch with the Clif Bars until they were gone.

Field Observations and Summary

After working my way through all of the Clif Bars, I was pleasantly surprised with some and disappointed in others. Overall, they were always quite palatable, and there was never an instance in which I couldn't stomach one of the bars. After being eaten, the bars always seemed to sit well and never upset my stomach. They also seemed to provide energy for those long, grueling outings. The Clif Bars, supplemented with a balanced selection of other snacks, seemed to fill me up and keep me trekking along.

One of the most important aspects of energy bars is probably the taste. If they don't taste good I'm not likely to eat them, which leaves me fatigued and susceptible to injury. I'm more of a standard "chocolate/candy bar flavored bar" guy, so trying some of the other bars was a new experience for me. The Banana Nut flavor was quite good. It has a slightly sweet banana flavor combined with a nutty flavor. I'm always leery of banana flavored food items based on the sickly sweet banana candy I always hated growing up. Fortunately, this bar has a natural banana flavor that I enjoy. As I mentioned in my IR, the Apricot flavor has a fairly lemony taste that fades to a more typical apricot taste. It's not too sweet and is a nice change from chocolate-based energy bar flavors. The Carrot Cake flavor tastes quite a bit like carrot cake. I'm not a huge fan of carrot cake, but found this bar to be fairly tasty. I would definitely eat one again, but probably wouldn't seek it out based on my personal taste preferences. The Chocolate Brownie flavor was interesting. I expected it to be one of my favorites, but it had a slightly grainy texture. Something in it reminded me of eating shaved coconut, the texture of which never appealed to me much. The texture was very off-putting, and I would choose one of the other bars over this flavor.

The Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavor had a strong cinnamon flavor, presumably from the oatmeal component. I thought this bar was quite tasty and proved to be another good alternative to chocolate-based energy bar flavors. The Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch flavor is my favorite. It had a great peanut butter taste with a good number of chocolate chips thrown into the mix. No specific flavor in this bar was too overwhelming, and I never got sick of it. I also enjoyed the Cool Mint Chocolate flavor, but not as much as the Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch. It had a good chocolate flavor (unlike the Chocolate Brownie) and a mild mint flavor. I only enjoy mint in moderation, and this flavor fit the bill perfectly. The Maple Nut flavor featured a very moderate maple flavor. While it could have been overpowering, it was balanced well with the nutty flavors. The White Chocolate Macadamia Nut flavor was another interesting one. All of the flavors seemed to be relatively mild, with little distinction between them. As a result, I felt like it wasn't very special. I would eat this flavor again, but I would not seek it out. My second favorite was the Chocolate Almond Fudge flavor. This flavor has a great chocolate flavor (not grainy like the the Chocolate Brownie) combined with almond pieces. Again, it had a very well-balanced taste and was always very palatable.

This test definitely opened my eyes to the variety of Clif Bar energy bars available. I discovered several new favorites and determined which ones I don't enjoy as much. I was impressed with how well flavors were balanced among almost all of the bars tested. They rarely seemed overwhelming, and were always a welcome addition to my snack breaks. I will continue to eat Clif Bar energy bars during my outdoor activities, and now have confidence in a wider variety of flavors that I will enjoy.

Likes:
Balanced flavor
Well-rounded nutritional value
Never caused any stomach distress
Tasty!

Dislikes:
Unusual texture in the Chocolate Brownie flavor

Thank you to Clif Bar & Company and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these energy bars.



Read more reviews of Clif gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Henrichs

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Clif Bar > 2011 Clif Bar assortment > Test Report by Andrew Henrichs



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