10/3/07 | Nature Valley Nut Crunch
[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]
I usually post up Cheap Eats reviews on Tuesdays. But you know that saying, “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t?” (Please, don’t make me sing the farking jingle.) Well, yesterday I just really, really, REALLY didn’t feel like a nut. So I figured I’d better hold off on reviewing these new Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch bars. Because these bars are so unbelivably nut-filled (nutsy?) that I wouldn’t do them justice if I wasn’t in a nutty type of mood.
I got two boxes of these nut energy bars – Almond Crunch and Peanut Crunch. They’re almost identical, except that the first has whole almonds in it (interestingly, the Peanut one contains almond flour in it). There are six bars per box and each bar is about 1.2 ounces and measures about 3.5 inches long. This seems a bit short actually, but maybe it’s just the ever-shrinking size of prepared foods like this today. I really used to think it was me just growing up so the sizes of candy bars getting smaller and smaller. No, it IS them getting smaller. I’m nut crazy. Sorry, I mean I’m not crazy.
Well, perhaps it’s also smaller because unlike other nut-based energy bars there are a LOT of nuts in it – so the price consequently goes up. I have to say that I was really surprised at the quantity of nuts – if you look at the ingredients (for the Almond ones) they contain: Almonds, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Salt. That’s all, which is pretty amazing considering a lot of the chewier bars’ ingredient lists threaten to take over the entire side of the box.
Oh, did I mention that this is NOT a chewy type of bar? In fact, it’s one of the crunchiest I’ve ever had. A downside is that it’s actually very, very messy. I learned early on not to take the entire bar out of the package and just push it up slightly to take a careful bite. This is not something you want to eat while driving. Because it’s basically nuts held together with corn syrup, there’s no way to avoid having them fall in your lap. (Ah.. but if I was a funnier reviewer I would have a sweet time with making a joke about nuts in your lap). If you take too big of a bite it just shatters all over the place.
That said, the taste is pretty great – roasted nuts is what you get. There are no “fake” nuts here made out of compressed powdered nuts. I like the trend toward less ingredients that they’ve made with these bars.
The roasted nut flavor is excellent – I was expecting nuts that were over or under roasted, but I didn’t detect any. The balance of salty and sweet is pretty good. It’s a bit heavy for me, but I suspect that it’s just right for almost everyone else. It’s a bit like eating caramel corn or cracker jack if you substituted the popcorn with nuts. Actually, it’s even more like peanut or almond brittle minus most of the brittle. Basically, if you don’t like nuts (or are allergic in any way to them) you want to avoid this bar at all costs. If you like nuts, this is going to make you pretty satisfied.
At about 57 cents a piece retail, it’s about the same price as a candy bar though probably better for you (well, it does say 22% of Total Fat – 14g so I guess it’s not something to eat if you’re trying to lose weight? Don’t ask me, I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist). I would probably buy these again, especially if they were on sale.
However, while you’re eating this you’re probably going to have this thought: Couldn’t I just buy some trail mix and get basically the same ingredients without the fancy packaging for cheaper? Sure, it’s individually packed and convenient to just grab and go – but the mess it makes while consuming it sort of negates the convenience. Also, I’m sure you could cut out some of the sugar and salt from this by just eating unadorned trail mix. I’ve also wondered if you could just pour some trail mix into a cupcake pan and drizzle that with some sort of melted sugar (or corn syrup) mixture in order to make the exact same thing.
I dunno, maybe I’m being too hard on them. It’s a decent snack, especially when you compare it to a lot of the other energy bars out there that contain a lot of junk. I like the transparency in the ingredients and they’re certainly tasty, but I wonder if at some point a bag of mixed nuts will provide exactly the same result.
Price: Free (MSRP: $3.39 for 6 1.2 oz bars)
Found At: Sent in for review
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10