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Taste test: Readers review Honey Stinger gels, bars & chews

The taste panel's verdict

We asked five readers to use a selection of cycling nutrition products for a week. Here's what they had to say about the Honey Stinger range.

Our tasters were recruited from Team We asked Kirsty Diggory, Steve Hanna, Steve Swindells, Ian Upham, and Simon Tuck to score Honey Stinger gels, bars and chews out of five for for taste, ease of use, performance and value. Here are the averages of their ratings: 

  Taste Ease of Use Performance Value
Energy Chews 4.8 4 3 3.2 3.75
Organic Chews 4.4 4 3.2 3.2 3.7
Energy Bars 4.4 4.4 4 3.8 4.15
Protein Bars 4.4 4.4 3.4 3.4 3.9
Organic Gels 3.6 3.8 3.4 3.2 3.5

We also asked for their comments on their favourites. Here's some of what they said:

Simon Tuck: The Honey Stinger energy chews are amazing! The packet is tricky to open, definitely not possible one handed. The taste is amazing. I offered a friend one at a stop and he stole the rest of the packet. All the flavours were nice with a gentle honey aftertaste. A gentle caffeine buzz. They weren't too sticky on my fingers like clif shot bloks, which is the only product I can compare with. They were easier to swallow than the clif items though and less like jelly squares! The HS bars, energy and protein ones, were also really nice. Lovely flavours and not too dry as others can be. Only concern was the half chocolate coating which went a bit gooey on a hot day in my jersey pocket. I normally avoid anything with actual chocolate on for this reason. I've placed a big order with Honey Stinger now!

Steve Hanna: The Honey stinger products were a real surprise as they are the first energy sports nutrition products that haven't tasted totally disgusting. This is particularly true of the energy gels which are the nicest tasting I have ever tried.

Steve Swindells: The Honey Stinger Energy Bar (rocket chocolate) stood out by far. I used it just before tackling one of my favourite and toughest local climbs. I was a bit concerned I might have seen it after consumption on the hardest bit, but it was easy to chew, tasted great, and gave me that needed boost just before I started and needless to say it stayed down (4.5 out of 5). They are great value and filling.

The Honey Stinger products were packed with flavour but I found some of them a little hard to swallow (the smoothies particularly, which was a bit gunky going down, I wouldn’t like one of them during a strenuous ride). The sweets were novel but were melted in my jersey pockets by the time I ate them. Not great!

Ian Upham: Overall I must say I am very impressed with the Honey Stinger products. I will definitely be looking to purchase some of their goods in the future and will be actively recommending their use to other cyclists. A shame I hadn’t heard of them sooner!

Ian also commented on each product, so his thoughts are below.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews — £19.99 for 12
Overal Score: 3.75

Ian Upham — Pomegranate; Pink Lemonade;  Limeade; & Cherry Cola flavours: AMAZING! I have no idea if these had any performance energy boost but they tasted bloody amazing. Reminds me of the Natural Sweet Factory Jelly Snakes I buy for my daughter then enviably end up eating myself. All the flavours tastes more or less as they were described, there were perfectly sized, not sticky, easy to eat. Brilliant.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews — £19.99 for 12
Overall score: 3.7

Honey Stinger Energy Bars — £20.81 for 15
Overall score: 4.15

Ian Upham: Peanut Butter 'n' Honey flavour — This was amazing! Tastes like the peanut & nougat parts of a Snickers bar, all mashed together to make a nice, easy to eat, perfectly sized, energy bar. There is a thin layer of chocolate on one side which helps to hold the bar together. Definitely recommend this product. I will be buying some myself.

Rocket Chocolate flavour — Honey Stinger also hit the nail on the head with the Rocket Chocolate energy bar. This one tastes like the chocolate brownies you get in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Another layer of chocolate on one side which held the bar together. At the time of eating this I was half way through my second 30 mile side of the day and it was exactly what I needed. Again I recommend (especially if you like chocolate).

Nice to have energy bars that are easy to eat. Some of the alternatives I have tried in the past feel like a challenge to eat.

Honey Stinger Protein Bars — £25.31 for 15
Overall score: 3.9

Ian Upham: Coconut Almond flavour — Very nice and easy to eat. Taste exactly as you would expect a mixture of almond & coconut to taste! The chocolate surrounding finished it of nicely. A welcomed treat after a long day of riding.

Peanut Butter 'n' Honey flavour — This mixture of peanut butter & honey seems to work! Easy to eat, felt like a “reward” after a hard ride. Just the right amount. Very happy.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels — £24.49 for 24
Overall score: 3.5 

Ian Upham: Pomegranate; Fruit Smoothie flavours — The gels come in smaller packaging than what you would normally expect. This is a good thing. The packet is easy to open. All good. However the “gel” is more like a syrup;  a lot thicker than what I am normally used to. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but very different.

From a cycling point of view, I had to stop and use both hands to get the gel out, plus I had to drink a lot more water than normal after use.

The flip side is that normally after using energy gels there comes a point where you want something more substantial to eat. These gels hit that sweet spot between a normal gel and an actual piece of food. Another bonus of being of a thick consistency is that there was no spillage of sticky mess of your fingers. All self contained, neat & tidy.

As for tastes, very nice. Definitely taste more 'natural' than the standard energy gel products. Not sure if I would recommend yet. I think I would have to try some more times to see if this different product would fit my needs.

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