PowerBar is an interesting company in that their offerings overseas are so much broader, covering all the normal sports nutrition bases we know them for in the States, plus having a complete supplement line of specialty amino acids, vitamins, energy boosters, liquid sports pouch drinks, etc.
While we aren’t seeing any of that over here yet, we are at least seeing them step up their game nutritionally on some of their more popular items. The Harvest bars are now gluten free, opening them up to a much broader base of athletes looking to remove as many irritants as possible in the quest for optimum performance. Some of their other products are now lower in sugar, too, and they’ve got some real fruit gels!
Ready to get your snack on? Bite into the rest of the roundup below…
The PowerBar ProteinPlus bars also go gluten free, and they drop the sugar to just a couple grams per bar. The reduced sugar flavors include Chocolate Peanut Butter and Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake.
The PowerBar Simple Fruit energy food is a new, much more natural “gel” that still provides electrolytes and carbs. Made from fruit puree and juice, maltodextrin, dextrose, sea salt and vitamin C, they come in three flavors – Apple Mixed Berry, Apple Pear Raspberry, and Apple Orange Lemon. That last one gets 50mg caffeine from green tea extract. All of the new products should be out by year’s end.
Another big name in sports food and drink is Gatorade, though the “food” side of their business has had some ups and mostly downs over the years (Gatorade Gum, anyone?). Whether these new Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews stand the test of time is anyone’s guess, but I will say that they’re the softest, easiest to chew options on the market. For anyone with braces or who don’t like how sticky and chewy some competing options are, these just about melt in your mouth they’re so soft.
They add a few B vitamins to an otherwise sugary mix of ingredients and a decent hit of sodium.
On the more boutique end of the table was K’ul and their dark chocolate energy bites. Not only were they delicious, but the ingredient profile was top notch:
Bean to bar small batch chocolate combined with nuts, seeds and dried fruits plus a few other superfood ingredients provide a little energy boost and, just as importantly, variety to your on-bike diet. Click to enlarge to see the full content list for each of their three flavors.
Wcup started their push into North America at Sea Otter earlier this year with a massive array of drinks, bars, gels, chews, recovery shakes and…cakes! Yep, that Sports Cake is real, and it’s like sticking a coffee cake in your jersey pocket. I sampled heavily at their booth and could see taking these on many a long ride. If you really want variety, their Sports Nougat is pretty much unlike anything else. It’s what you’d expect, it’s just that we haven’t seen any other sport-oriented nougat products.
The Belgian company also added their O.R.S. (Oral Rehydration Sales) drink mix that’s a low carb/sugar rehydration drink with an insane amount of electrolytes. Ready to pucker up? Each 24g serving supplies:
- 4,300mg sodium
- 800mg potassium
- 242mg magnesium
- 13.6g carbs (10.9g sugar)
It only comes in Orange flavor. They recommend using it before working out to maintain hydration levels or alternating between it and regular sports drinks on the bike. Retail is $30 for a 480g canister. Hit the link up above for their main website, or hit up the U.S. website to see what’s on sale here.
Taking a different tack is OSMO. They still make their regular sports hydration drink, which we love, and the kid’s version, but their big push is now on women’s versions. They tweaked their pre- and post-ride formulas a while back to cater to a female’s biology, and now they’ve added a couple new flavors and updated the packaging.
The recovery drink now comes in Honey & Spice and White Mocha:
Women’s PreLoad Hydration comes in a Pineapple Margarita flavor, and the kids sports drink is called Radberry.
Rip van Wafels gave us a taste of their two new flavors: Honey & Oats and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt. They’re positioning these as much as anytime snacks as they are sports nutrition, and I’ve found they work just fine in both situations. As far as differentiating themselves from the other big sports waffle brand, they say theirs are non-GMO and use chickpea flour instead of soy, which makes the waffle just a bit crisper, and a bit of oat flour adds a little extra nutrition. They’re low gluten, but not free of it. The boxes are newly available 5-packs, and they’re working on a Coconut flavor that’ll have real coconut shavings inside.
If all that sweetness has you hankerin’ for something meaty and salty, Colorado’s Sweetwood Cattle Co. has a wide array of natural U.S. beef jerky, sticks and bars. They’re naturally flavored and nitrate free, and they were delicious.
The Bully bar is shaped like an energy bar, giving you a denser chunk of protein that’s easy to chomp into and fits in your jersey pocket. The Fatty is a meat stick that’s the same idea, just thinner. Flavors include classic, teriyaki, hot, peppered and jalapeño.
Last up is perhaps the most unique. XrCEL sports drink takes a beverage’s portability and ease of consumption and gives it a “filling” formula to produce sustained energy. It does this by packaging glucose molecules into a gel that moves quickly out of your stomach and into your digestive tract. There, the micro gels release glucose at a rate dependent on your body temp. Get hotter from more intense exercise and the fuel is released more quickly, all right at the site where it can be quickly absorbed and put to immediate use.
Three flavors are available – Orange, Peach Tea and Blackberry. A 4.75oz bottle of the extended release sports drink is available in 3-packs ($11.99) and 6-packs ($22.99). Or a 12-pack for $39.99.