It has long struck me that Energy Bars are basically just trail mix in wrappers……..with a glucose syrup twist.
That being the case, whilst pottering around on Amazon the other morning, I thought I’d do a little bang-for-my-hiker-buck comparison.
In preparation for an upcoming series of hikes, I bought 8 lbs (3.63 kg) worth of mixed nuts and raisins.
It cost me a touch over $30. Throw in an extra couple of bucks for some Ziploc baggies and we’ll call it $32.
If I would have purchased the equivalent weight in energy bars, this is roughly what it would have set me back:
- Clif Bars – $47.70 ($0.90 per bar / 53.3 bars total)
- Power Bars – $68.74 ($1.23 per bar / 55.9 bars total)
- Lara Bars – $75.95 ($0.95 per bar / 80 bars total)
- Pro Bars – $81.07 ($1.90 per bar / 42.67 bars total)
- Kind Bars – $91.20 ($1.14 per bar / 80 bars total)
(Note: The above-listed prices were the best value I could find on Amazon as of a few days ago).
Whilst I’ll never be mistaken for Mickey the Maths Wiz, this seems like quite a big price difference for items that are basically the same thing. The DIY trail mix combo worked out to be around three times cheaper than Kind Bars, and significantly less expensive than all the other wrapper covered products as well.
Now I’m sure Energy Bar companies could come up with all sorts of statistics showing how their products outperform old fashioned trail mix in any number of ways. But the fact is, I’ve eaten truckloads of both over the decades, and I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any significant difference in regards to performance levels out in the backcountry. And unless I’m missing something (and it wouldn’t be the first time), I don’t think Energy Bars offer any great advantage on the calorie or nutritional fronts either. Indeed, I think the opposite may often be the case.
Alright, alright……….time to address the elephant in the culinary room……….what about taste?……..come on, man, you can’t tell me you enjoy the taste of trail mix as much as the above listed bars?
Actually I can. Don’t get me wrong, I invariably also take some Energy Bars on my hiking trips as well; including all of the items listed above. But I can’t say that I necessarily enjoy them anymore than the trail mix I also bring along.
So there it is. My completely non-scientific, subjective “six cents” on Energy Bars (i.e. two cents in Trail Mix terms) 😉 .