PowerBar is well known for its range of heavily performance-slanted sports bars, drinks and gels, so this new 'all natural' fruit and nut Natural Energy bar may be an unexpected addition to the range. But PowerBar is part of the Nestle empire, so it's not too surprising to see a product that's more like confectionary than a performance enhancer. Without doubt it's tasty and healthy snack, but as a source of energy for most performance-orientated cyclists there are better options out there.
We're testing the Appel Strudel flavour, and the ingredients list is pretty straightforward: apple juice, apple puree, almonds, sultanas, soya and cinnamon. The PowerBar website warns that this fruit & nut bar may contain nuts (!), as well traces of gluten and milk.
The weight of a Natural Energy bar is 37.5g and it contains around 15g of carbohydrate, 5g of protein, 9g of mostly unsaturated fat and 2.5g of fibre. This gives 695 kJ or 167 Kcal of energy, but with carbohydrate making up less than half the weight of the bar it's not a very efficient source of energy compared to dedicated sports energy bars from PowerBar or other brands, and so it might not be ideal for long races or sportives.
But if you're not racing or not riding hard in a sportive, and just want a tasty snack to enjoy when tootling about on your bike (or something healthier than a biscuit to go with your mid-morning coffee in the office), then these Natural Energy bars will be fine.
The taste and texture is sweet and slightly chewy. It's slightly sticky too, but not too sticky that it won't easily come out of its packet when you're eating one handed while riding along. It's not crumbly either, which is also good when you're eating on the move, but it definitely needs a drink to wash it down.
A pack of five Natural Energy bars costs £7 on the PowerBar website. You can also get them in your local bike/sports shop. At £1.40 each, they're not good value compared to similar products from other sports nutrition brands or just from the healthier end of the supermarket snack aisle.
A tasty and healthy snack, but not the best source of energy for performance-orientated cyclists. And not cheap either.
road.cc test report
Make and model: PowerBar Natural Energy Bar
Size tested: Apple Strudel Flavour
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?
This as an energy product made from natural ingredients. The PowerBar website says "There is nothing better than being out there close to nature. That's why Natural Energy is now also available ... Food is the best in its most possible raw and natural state, without any additives – as Natural Energy.
Just using a few tasty ingredients as apples, almonds, cranberries and that's it!
The good nutrient profile delivers energy and is high unsaturated fatty acids.
Perfect for sports and extremely tasty.
Also works in between meals.
The bar comes along in two varied flavours: Apple Strudel and Forest Fruit.
Good fruits don't need additives – no added sugar, flavours, colours or preservatives."
Most of this is fair enough. It's a great snack, but not the best source of energy for performance-orientated cycling.
There's nothing wrong with this bar as a healthy snack, or a top-up when tootling around on the pike, but for performance-orientated cycling it's not the best option as a source of energy.
The weight of a Natural Energy bar is 37.5g and it contains around 15g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 9g (mostly unsaturated) fat and 2.5g fibre. With carb making up less than half the weight it's not a very efficient source of energy compared to dedicated sports energy bars from Powerbar or other brands.
A pack of five Natural Energy bars costs £7 on the Powerbar website. At £1.40 each, they're not good value compared to similar products.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes - these bars are tasty and healthy
Would you consider buying the product? Not as a source of energy on bike rides
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not as a source of energy on bike rides
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
As a tasty and healthy snack, these bars are great (although not cheap). But we're reviewing them as a source of energy for performance-orientated cycling - and in that respect there are better options out there.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,