When we review energy bars, we're often (but not always) bombarded with a list of complex-sounding ingredients that are designed to give the best energy boost possible. However, another school of thought has it that 'natural is best', and that's where OTE's Anytime Bar comes in.
To look at the ingredients, you could legitimately mistake these bars for any homemade flapjack – and probably piece together a recipe yourself. There's nothing artificial added, whatsoever. What's that? You want to know exactly what's actually in this here bar? Ok...
- Golden Syrup
- Brown sugar
- Salted butter
- Dried sweetened cherries
- Natural cherry flavouring
...and that's it. It's much the same (give or take a host flavour and some minor concentrations to balance the flavours) with the other bars too (caramel, cocoa nibs and banana), and more than that – the products are nut-free, wheat-free and suitable for vegetarians too.
That's a lot of boxes ticked, and it's also well considered in the fat department too. Where homemade flapjacks can be greasy or stuffed with butter, OTE has kept the fat content as low as possible without losing the quintessential flapjack taste. These vary slightly between flavours (naturally), but the cherry ones we have include 7.9g of fat, of which 3.9g are saturates, per bar. That's set alongside 39.9g of carbs (24.5g are sugars), and 3.5g of protein.
That represents a well-balanced nutritional profile of the major nutrients you need to stay fuelled, which can sometimes run out of control when you make flapjacks or generic energy bars freehand at home, as can costs.
Now, you could of course argue that if you have your measurements set and can keep costs below the £1.30 per bar asking price (and I'm 100 per cent sure that it's easily achievable), then you've no reason to buy these. Fair play to you, but what these bars represent is convenience, as well as a decent use-by date thanks to sealed packaging.
That means it'll take the hassle out of making your own, and if that's what you want then these are great bars to integrate into not only your on-bike nutrition, but your general diet too if you need the extra energy to hit your goals. They have a texture on the oaty side of the oat-buttery mush flapjack continuum, and have a natural, tasty flavour without being sickly whatsoever.
I can verify the same experience with the cocoa nib flavour bars, having encountered them on a couple of occasions in the past year by chance – those give a deep, dark chocolate flavour without being heavy on the stomach, just like the cherry bars.
That's all there is to the OTE Anytime Bars – natural, tasty flavour and ingredients, relatively low in fat compared to most flapjacks, and well-suited to being eaten at anytime, just as it says on the box. If you already make your own energy bars or flapjacks for cycling and trust the nutrition within them, then the chances are these bars aren't for you. Otherwise, I can highly recommend them.
Tasty, even moreish, healthy, natural flapjacks. What's not to like?
road.cc test report
Make and model: OTE Dried Cherry Anytime Bar
Size tested: 62g
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
OTE says: "Our Dried Cherry OTE Anytime Bars are made from 100% natural ingredients, containing real fruit pieces, making them the ideal snack bar for those looking for a healthier option.
"Not only do they make great snacks, but our Anytime Bar can be used before or during exercise as a great tasting source of energy. Taking an Anytime Bar 1-2 hours before exercise will give you that carbohydrate boost you need to help you through your workout."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Nut free
- Wheat free
- No artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives
The bars hold up very well to being in a jersey pocket, as long as you eat them within a couple of rides.
Steady energy delivery, although a good pick-me-up too thanks to the natural sugar content.
For the convenience and quality of food, its not bad value at all. It depends how much you value that convenience.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Taste and real food texture.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing specific, although it's a little expensive if you're adept at making your own healthy flapjacks.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Use this box to explain your score
The Anytime bars are tasty, nutritious for exercise and can help fill a void.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,