There were two new Nature Valley chewy bars in the grocery store last week: Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate and Peanut as well as Almond and Dark Chocolate. The last breakfast snack (belVita Breakfast biscuits) I choose lacked protein, these Nature Valley bars with 10 grams of protein might redeem me.
The peanut butter dark chocolate naturally flavored bar was eaten quickly in the car, while drinking a latte. It was confusing: lots of peanut butter flavor, slightly sweet, very chewy with a lingering aftertaste. The fullness of the product seemed to be missing. My expectations were that the bar would be extremely nutty, very sweet and crunchy as well as chewy. After all, the bars appeared to be packed with nuts.
When I read the ingredient statement and nutritional panel, I realized the uniqueness of this Nature Valley bar. Protein was not obtained exclusively from nuts: the bars both contained soy protein isolate and whey protein concentrate for protein fortification. Chicory root extract is the first sweetening ingredient listed on the ingredient panel. I found out that my lab has a few jugs of chicory root extract in stock. We use it in natural projects as a sweetener. Filtered chicory root extract looks like corn syrup, but doesn’t taste as sweet. Besides sweetening properties, chicory roots contain high levels of inulin, a polysaccharide, which is a fiber source and probiotic. I already feel healthier. Chicory root extract has a slight bitter aftertaste, which verifies that it must be good for you.
The peanut, almond and dark chocolate bar was a great afternoon snack. There is a slightly coconut taste in this bar that I enjoy. I appreciate the protein chewy bars from Nature valley and hope that future line extensions contain dried fruits as well as nuts. I’d feel much healthier eating a bar with nuts and fruits, and not nuts and chocolate. Fruit might improve the fullness of the bar that seems to be lacking.