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PROBAR “Sweet and Savory” Review

Yesterday, I had some old college buddies over to watch the UFC and in general to just enjoy the beautiful day (we hit the mid-70′s), good food, and good company. One of these guys I hadn’t seen in years! It was good to catch up. :)

My friend Scott made the black bean burger mix from the Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook. Rather than patties, we simply packed a loaf pan and reheated in the oven. It was enjoyed by all. I had mine wrapped in collard greens and topped with my obligatory homemade salsa.

The plan had been to get all our food prepped and beers in hand before settling down to cheer on our favorite fighters. Alas, we started off with a taste-testing of a new line of vegan food bars, and we were all surprisingly satiated after the experience, so we held off on lunch until mid-program. That’s probably exactly what the folks at PROBAR would like to hear, considering they’re billed as meal replacements.

So, what the heck am I talking about? Well, one of the perks of being a vegan blogger is you occasionally get free samples of books or food accompanied by a request to review, without restriction. Of course, when you’re a CRONie, such reviews are bound to screw up your restriction for a day. These certainly did that! But, we had fun. :)

The products in question: The new “Sweet and Savory” line of meal replacement bars from PROBAR, consisting of five flavors (the ones currently labeled as “NEW!” on their website). The about page claims their bars are organic, raw, and vegan. That may be true of most of the ingredients and/or their first offerings, but with pretzel sticks, roasted corn, etc. in these, they’re clearly not 100% raw.

The testers: Me (vegan), Scott (vegetarian), and the three Standard American Dieters, Chris, Andre, and Ksawery

Our methodology: Seeing as there were five of us total, everyone got to sample a fifth of each bar. We tried to refrain from influencing the others while we filled out the questionnaires. Once the gorging was complete, then we discussed our impressions.

Conclusions: Interestingly enough, the two vegans had the least favorable opinions of the bars, while the SAD-eaters raved! I’d guessed it would be the other way around.

We all thought the packaging was gorgeous, but the consensus ended there. The favorites were the Cocoa Pistachio and Kettle Corn (which tasted like a rice crispy treat to me). The Maple Pecan was right up there too. The Cherry Pretzel was too sweet and the Sesame Goji just <shrug>.

Personally, I found them all too salty. Looking at their other bars, however, the rest are low in sodium, so it’s apparently how they approached the savory part of the line’s name. I might well like the originals.

The texture didn’t vary much across the flavors. I was expecting and hoping for more crunch and chunkiness. Instead they were chewy. Not everyone minded that though, so if you’re a smooth peanut butter person… ;)

Finally, the price seemed a little high to everyone, but the winning flavors could probably command it.

Click below to view the completed questionnaires. Where a number is given it’s on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best. For the Expectations rows, the choices were Exceeded (Exc), Met, or Fell Short (FS) of flavor expectations based on the packaging. I hope you found this post interesting (it took me far too long to write  ).

>—– The Data —–<

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