Make us your home page
Instagram

Taste test: New sweet and salty snack bars

Snack bars come in handy for many things. We use them for a quick pick-me-up, in school lunches, on car trips, on hiking outings and before participating in sporting events. They can also be a way to stay on a healthy diet as an alternative option to sweets or chips. In fact, dieters might be the inspiration for so many snackmakers, because they tend to roll out new bars at the beginning of the year when many of us are trying to shed the holiday pounds. This week our judges sampled four of the newest bars aimed at those of us who like sweet and salty combinations.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductSpecial K

Protein Trail Mix Fruit & Nut Bar
Init Dark Chocolate Cherry & Cashews Bar Life Choice Simply Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bar Clif Organic Salted Caramel Nut Bar
Judges'

comments
This bar is loaded with nuts and fruits. The appearance was alluring and judges were not disappointed in the taste. "I would stash a few of these in my purse for emergencies," said one panelist. "The nut flavor is prominent and that's a good thing!" Another said the bar reminded her of a candy bar. "I love the crunch," she added. A judge who usually doesn't like chocolate said he appreciated the depth of the flavor in this bar because "the chocolate is not too sweet." Another said the layer was "a great platform of chocolate." He said: "It's got a really good chew and looks healthy." One taster said this bar "looked very similar to National Geographic TV because it's got earth layers." He said he appreciated the chewy and salty blend with an added "some sort of sweet." Another described the bar as "chocolate-covered cherries in a protein bar." He liked the combination but wanted more nutty flavor. Two of our judges said the bar was too "orderly" looking, like it came off of a machine. All four said the cherry and chocolate tastes were dominant.While the peanut butter in this bar was pretty subtle, panelists enjoyed the overall flavor. Three said it tasted more like a candy bar than a healthy snack. "It's homemade looking and yummy and chewy," said one judge. "It's a very satisfying nosh." Another said: "It's very tasty and would be great for a walk in the park or a stroll along the beach." The trail mix look of this bar gave a couple of panelists the impression it was a healthy option, but they agreed it was more of a sweet treat. "I would eat this on special occasions," said one judge. "It tastes and looks like it is held together with marshmallows," said another panelist. "It's very sticky, very chewy and utterly irresistible." One judge said the bar covered all of the latest snack trends. "It's organic, it's got salted caramel, it's non-genetically modified and gluten free," she said. "But the taste is pretty good and the salted caramel is prominent, which is a promise kept."
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.98 for a 6.15-ounce box of five 1.23-ounce bars from Walmart.$3.98 for a 5.6-ounce box of four 1.41-ounce bars from Walmart.$3.88 for a 7-ounce box of five 1.41-ounce bars from Walmart.$4.98 for a 5.64-ounce box of four 1.41-ounce bars from Walmart.


Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director at Studio@620; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving size1 bar1 bar1 bar1 bar
Calories160180200200
Fat/Fiber6g / 4g10g / 3g12g / 3g13g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium10g / 160mg12g / 70mg10g / 40mg9g / 180mg
Carbs/Protein17g / 8g22g / 4g18g / 8g18g / 8g

Taste test: New sweet and salty snack bars 02/13/17 [Last modified: Friday, February 10, 2017 4:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  2. At 'American Idol' auditions in Orlando, there are life lessons in line

    Music & Concerts

    LAKE BUENA VISTA — From her spot across the lawn, Sasha Orihuela studies her son.

    Jeremy Joshua Dorsey reacts after past American Idol contestants walk by ahead of his audition at the Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017. 

Hundreds of people showed up for the first auditions for ABC's reboot of 'American Idol'. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  3. Beach Drive mural is a first for St. Pete's swanky waterfront street

    Blogs

    Mural mania in St. Petersburg is spreading east.

    This mural in progress is on the side of the Smith & Associates building on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg.
  4. Is that it? Hardly. Katrina of the Waves still walking on sunshine

    Blogs

    Appearing on both Retro Futura and The '80s Cruise is Katrina Leskanich, who we know better as Katrina of Katrina & the Waves. When thinking about Katrina & the Waves hopefully …

  5. Enjoy the felines, ancient ruins at Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome

    Travel

    ROME

    We had to be in the right spot. The GPS said so.

    The Area Sacra at Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome is the site of ancient ruins and the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. More than 140 cats call this area home. Some live in the indoor shelter.