Trailside Review: Gluten Free Goodness from EnduroBites & Skout

EnduroBites gluten free energy bars for athletesLooking for the next great energy bar? Or just one with fewer ingredients and potential allergens? Two recent additions -EnduroBites and Skout Natural- caught my eye and pleased my taste buds while keeping the legs spinning for long days on the trail and road. Both are gluten free and eschew some of the more common things people try to avoid, like dairy and soy, and they use all-natural (some organic) ingredients.

EnduroBites is the more unique of the two in that they’re made and shipped fresh, directly from the company’s Colorado Springs, CO, headquarters. They’re supposed to be put in the fridge once they arrive, something I failed to do for almost two weeks after receiving them due to travel and such. And since then, they’ve gone in and out of cold storage between rides and more travel, and they’ve held up just fine as far as I can tell. Repeat at your own risk.

They offer just two flavors, which are similar: Dark Chocolate Espresso and Fig & Dark Chocolate. Both are very good, with a moist, thick brownie consistency. The other unique thing is that each package is oversized and comes with four precut, 100 calorie “bites”. Hence the name. That makes portion management easy while giving you more for your money…

EnduroBites gluten free energy bars for athletes

EnduroBites gluten free energy bars for athletes

EnduroBites gluten free energy bars for athletes

Everyone I shared samples with really liked them, as did I. We took them to Asheville for an all-day ride and several local long rides and they (along with Osmo or similar to drink) kept us fueled. They’re one of the few bars that I’ve had that are actually satisfying (read: filling) without making me feel bloated or causing any stomach distress. The flavors are essentially the same save for the addition of coffee – pick your poison. I’d recommend either highly. The only downside is cost…they’re about $4.50 per bar with a bit of a discount for buying a 12-pack. On a dollar per calorie basis, that’s inline with other things like gels, though. And they’re about the freshest thing you can get short of making your own. EnduroBites.com

Skout Natural gluten free energy bars for athletes

Skout Organic Trail Bars add more flavor variety and use virtually all organic ingredients (sea salt and such being the exception). Pick from Cherry Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Blueberry Almond, Apple Cinnamon or Chocolate Coconut – none will disappoint. Flavors are good without being overpowering, something to consider since taste is heightened during activity. The rest of the credentials read like Whole Foods’ manifesto: Non-GMO, Kosher, no refined sugars or fillers, vegan, and naturally occurring ingredients.

Skout Natural gluten free energy bars for athletes

Consistency is, um, normal. Not as moist as EnduroBites, but not dry. Easy to chew and digest. Each bar is 170 calories and retails for $2.49 as singles or $11.99 for a 5-pack ($2.40/bar).

Skout-gluten-free-energy-bars03

Sample ingredient and nutritional profile from the Apple Cinnamon flavor.

The bars are just the right size to eat the whole thing at once, which is easy to do because they’re so delicious. The Skout bars didn’t keep the hunger pangs away for quite as long as the EnduroBites, but they did the trick to prevent bonking. And the ingredient list is top notch. Also recommending these highly. SkoutNatural.com

Comments

ve - 01/08/14 - 11:50am

“Gluten free”
“one with fewer ingredients and potential allergens?”
“Produced in a facility that processes soy, dairy, egg, wheat, peanuts, seeds, tree nuts”

That has a longer allergy warning list than any other energy bar I’ve had. There’s a reason why those are required to be listed as allergens and not gluten.

Eyal - 01/08/14 - 11:59am

People with Celiac can’t touch this stuff. You can’t call something GlutenFree unless you can certify its! http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Allergens/ucm362510.htm

Jib's Mom - 01/08/14 - 12:37pm

I’m over ‘Enduro.’

bk - 01/08/14 - 12:43pm

I tried these on MTB vacation in Frisco CO last summer, loved them! I ordered them (12 each) for my shop in SF and really only had one problem: while keeping them stored in the refrigerator the ‘Fig & Dark Chocolate” bars lost their sealing, meaning the adhesive used to close the packages, perhaps lost the adhesive properties on all but two bars causing the bars to become very firm and lose their moisture. The box of Dark Chocolate and Espresso, they’re all sealed and three months after order they’re still moist/delicious.
Give them a try, they’re great!

Sevo - 01/08/14 - 1:02pm

Hands down the best bar in the market. Had a chance to meet Brian who founded the company. The guy knows a ton about nutrition and has nailed it.

Only bar I use anymore. Taste is great. Easy on the stomach and love the 100 calorie at a time squares.

Doug - 01/08/14 - 1:48pm

Sounds good, but unfortunately I won’t be trying either. As someone with Celiac Disease and a high sensitivity to gluten both have red flags for potential gluten containing ingredients. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten sick from products labeled as “Gluten Free”. The Endurobites label lists five questionable ingredients: brown rice syrup, chocolate liquor, oat bran, vanilla rice flour, and vanilla extract. All five of these ingredients can include gluten, and it’s surprising how many companies source ingredients without knowing the process they go through before arriving at their facility. And both have a potential for cross-contamination with wheat within their own facilities.

However, they sound really good if you are looking for a gluten free option and aren’t gluten sensitive.

Brian - 01/08/14 - 8:59pm

Thanks for the review, Tyler and BikeRumor!

For those with questions on Enduro Bites Real Race Food’s allergen warning, we chose to be ultra conservative with listing potential allergens when starting out since we were working out of a new (to us) facility. All product tested was below detection limits for gluten (5ppm), however. We are now producing in a dedicated gluten-free facility and will be updating packaging with the next printing.

bk, I apologize for the wrappers not remaining sealed. We since upgraded our sealer to eliminate this issue and will be sending you a replacement carton.

dave - 01/08/14 - 10:09pm

@Eyal, this is actually a rule that was published in August. These products clearly have been on the shelves before that rule was published, and if you read the link you will note that the manufacturers have a year to comply. My guess is that these guys are small batch types who spent a fortune on the packaging and probably will have to go through the stock. It’s a good rule, and hopefully both these guys will move to facilities that aren’t producing gluten allergens.

I have yet to see any energy bar on the market NOT have these warnings. Gluten intolerance is not the same as Celiac, wheat allergy folks don’t always have Celiac and are perfectly fine consuming products like these. Like other allergens, varying degrees of sensitivities mean that for some folks you can’t even sit on a plane with peanuts being handed out vs. just not eating products with peanuts, etc etc etc. The FDA is catching up to both the needs of Celiac sufferers AND those who have wheat sensitivity or simply CHOOSE to avoid gluten (me, for example).

bk - 01/09/14 - 12:21am

Follow-up to my previous comment.

Brian remembered me from months back and sent me an e-mail this evening apologizing for the adhesive issue (he commented that the issue had been known & corrected) and to make things better he’s also sending out replacement bars! Moist and delicious Fig, awesome!

Sidenote: I had mistakenly sent an email to another ‘Brian’ in my contact list about the adhesive issue and never heard back. I was still okay with the slightly dry yet still tasty bars and had chalked it up to being a “lost email”. Good on you Brian for paying attention to your clients. Thanks again.

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