There's some new paleo bars on the block using a common intriguing ingredient ... insect flour - high in protein and sustainable, it's very now. But which one would you buy again, if at all?! Let's find out ..
Over the last 12 months, using insects as a sustainable source of protein has become big and trendy news in the clean living world - crickets and mealworms being the current darlings of the paleo insect world. As a result, you can now buy whole roasted inescts, the flour and now, energy bars using the insect flour.
I've been lucky enough to get my hands on three of the front-running brands out there - Zoic Bar (Cacao Bar), Bodhi (Cacao & Date Bar) and Crobar (Cacao & Cricket Flour Bar). The insect flour only accounts for about 6-8% of each bar as the flours are quite dense and expensive - so really it's a minor ingredient but gets more of the limelight!
They have now been reviewed and dissected by my crack testing team (aka the people I share my office with!). Read on and find out which bar you'll want to have in the cupboard for a high fibre and high protein snack, ideal for an on-the-go post exercise recovery fuel option. Let me know in the comments if you've tried any and what you think of them :-)
Bodhi - great, professional looking packaging, with the right information in the right places - gives you confidence the product inside is of a good quality.
Crobar - pretty & professional packaging (and a massive step forward from their previous packaging). The leaves are a little 'girly' and fussy, not sure how well it appeals to men, versus say the Bodhi bar?
Zoic - basic & fairly flimsy packaging, makes you question the quality of the contents. I understand the packaging is being overhauled shortly which is good news. We're not sure making 'Edible insects' such a big part of the packaging on the front will work with a wider audience.
Bodhi - our least favourite. It has a fairly pleasant taste but it's not grabbing us and no one ingredient stands out.
Crobar - (Cacao & Cricket Flour Bar) our clear winner. The addition of cranberries and goji berries goives it a great fruit kick (although we noted it was slightly sour which for Paleo devotees would be fine but a wider audience might crave a more naturally 'sweeter' hit from e.g. apricots.
Zoic - a stronger taste than Bodhi, in a good way, most likely down to the high percentage of dates (44% of total bar)
Bodhi - we found it the driest of the bars, quite chalky but better than a lot of whey protein-based bars. It was also quite crumbly which made it a little messy to eat.
Crobar - we liked that the nuts hadn't been ground down, so it gave the bar a nice bite of texture and felt more substantial.
Zoic - fairly moist and no chalky after-taste.
Bodhi - we have to be honest, this bar didn't have the most pleasing smell, we found we had to eat it quick to not be put off by it.
Crobar - no smell
Zoic - this one was on a par with Bodhi, we didn't enjoy the smell from this bar either.
Bodhi - Almonds, Dates, Chicory Fibre, 'Cricket Flour`, Coconut Oil, Cacao, Chia Seed, Salt
Crobar - Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Sultanas, Dates, Cranberries, Chia Seeds, Cricket Flour, Cacao Powder, Goji Berries, Cacao Nibs, Cacao butter, Natural flavourings (Note: we're always dubious when packaging says 'natural flavourings'....)
Zoic - Dates, Cashew - anacardium occidnetale, Cacao, Mealworm flour, Coconut flour
Nutritional analysis (per 100g)
Conclusion - Bodhi offers probably the most favourable nutritional profile. Crobar offers the best variety of nutrition through the longer and more varied ingredient list.
Overall score (out of 10)
Bodhi - 6
Crobar - 8.5
Zoic - 7
And the 'winner' is .... CROBAR!
This is the one bar we would buy regardless of when/why we fancied one, whereas the other two we'd probably only buy as a post-exercise recovery snack as they currently stand. Crobar does have the advantage of being on the market longer than the other two, so we're very interested to see how Bodhi and Zoic evolve their recipes over time. All great additions to the Paleo and clean living world anyway and well worth a try - whilst in an ideal world everything we ate would be made from scratch, we live busy very busy lives and it's great to know there are some cleaner snack alternatives out there!
Remember, this is an impartial (non-sponsored) review, as my 9 year old tells me every time he doesn't like what I cook, 'we all have different tastebuds' ;-)
Have you tried any yet? Or does the insect flour put you off?