Friday, January 20, 2017

KIND Bars

Update Review, Jan 2017

I've never really cared for Kind bars.  But, recently I discovered a newer product line, breakfast bars:
"Start your day with energizing whole grains. KIND® breakfast bars are made with a unique blend of ingredients, including five super grains and served in a convenient, on-the-go pack. Soft baked with a crispy outside, these bars are the delicious morning snack you can’t resist."
While granola bars tend to leave me dissatisfied, breakfast bars are generally more successful.  Kind makes breakfast bars in 5 varieties: blueberry almond, honey oat, raspberry chia, peanut butter, and dark chocolate cocoa.  I only tried one, but it didn't leave me wanting to try others.
Blueberry Almond.
"Blueberry Almond breakfast bars are made with a unique blend of ingredients, including five super grains, sweet blueberries and crunchy almonds."

I thought a breakfast bar would be a softer item.  More like oatmeal-in-a-bar, like I've had with other brands.  These were really just regular granola bars, in a different shape.

So, the shape.  The bars are thinner, shorter, and wider.  They come two to a pack, with a serving size of two.  I really don't know why they made them this shape?

The bar had a standard base of oats and crispy things (buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet), that was just crunchy and not interesting.  It was slightly sweet from cane syrup, honey, raisin paste, cranberries, apple puree and juice, and of course, the blueberries, but the dominant flavor was bitter, and I'm not sure why.  I didn't like this at all.

Original Review, March 2014

As I mentioned last week, I always carry snacks in my purse, particularly different types of snack bars.  They never quite do it for me, yet I keep trying.  As I write up more and more of these posts, I realize that perhaps the perfect snack bar for me just isn't out there, and I should give up, happy to be satisfied by any other type of snack.

But anyway, KIND bars are no exception to this rule.  KIND produces a slew of snack bars (22 and counting), along with grain based clusters.  I've tried bars from all three of their different snack bar product lines, but never the clusters, as I haven't seen them anywhere.

The bars are all natural, non GMO, gluten-free, no artificial ingredients, etc.  Yes, healthy snack options.  And like most other snack bars, I just don't find them to be anything special.

Fruit & Nut

Their original product line is the Fruit & Nut bars, "made of tasty, totally natural whole nuts and fruit (and a drizzle of honey)".
Fruit & Nut: Nut Delight.
I starting with the base of the Fruit & Nut snack bar line line: the simple Nut Delight.  Made from a bunch of mixed nuts, including whole peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts, stuck together with a honey/glucose mixture, and puffed rice.  This is a pretty simple bar.  Not much going on, just a bunch of nuts, slightly sweetened, and stuck together.  I was disappointed by the fact that it seemed to be mostly peanuts and almonds, my entire bar had only a single brazil nut and a single walnut.  I did like that the nuts were in large, almost whole, pieces.  It wasn't bad, but not particularly interesting.
 Fruit & Nut: Fruit & Nut Delight.
Next I upped it a notch to the Fruit & Nut Delight.  It is the same as the basic Nut Delight, but with dried apricots and raisins added in.  I loved the brazil nuts, and luckily this time, there was more than just one.  The flavors are great: brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts, apricots, sooo tasty!

Subsequent tasting notes: Didn’t like: all just soy crisp and peanuts, no flavors popped.  [ Great mix of nuts, loved the big chunks, and the sweetness from the dried fruit.  Also really good when a bit warm, as the sweeteners get sorta ooey-gooey.  Very good with tea! ]  Conclusion: the distribution of nuts and fruits is not consistent between bars.  Sometimes you luck out with the good stuff, sometimes you don't.
Fruit & Nut: Almond & Coconut.
Finally, another from this product line, the Almond & Coconut, made with mostly whole almonds and coconut flakes, with the same binding agents and sweeteners.

I thought I would like this, as I like almonds and coconuts, but ... I didn't.  It was really mostly just a compressed bar of coconut flakes, with a few scattered almonds.  A bit of sweetener.  I guess exactly as expected given the ingredients, but I somehow expected it to magically come together better than it did. Would not get again.

Nuts & Spices

Next I moved on to their newer product line, Nuts & Spices: "bars finely crafted from the highest quality whole nuts and nature's most delicious spices. Each seemingly indulgent recipe provides all natural protein, fiber and only 5g of sugar (or less)."
Nuts & Spices: Madagascar Vanilla Almond.
I started with the most simple bar from this line: Madagascar Vanilla Almond.  Made from "mixed nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews and walnuts) with delicious Madagascar vanilla."  Same binding agents as the previous line.

This bar was primarily almonds, stuck together with something slightly sweet, along with a few little crispy rice things.  There wasn't any vanilla flavor noticeable.

Again, not bad exactly, but it wasn't as advertised.  If it was called just a "Slightly Sweet Almond Bar", I probably would have really liked it, but I was searching for the other promised nuts and hints of vanilla the whole time.
Nuts & Spices: Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan.
Next up was the tasty sounding Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan, a "combination of pecans, almonds, cashews, and peanuts drizzled in chocolate with a hint of cinnamon."

The description is funny, as it mentions a hint of cinnamon ... and this had not just a hint of cinnamon, it had tons of cinnamon flavor, it was by far the strongest flavor in the bar.  Or really, strongest flavor of any bar I tried.  The whole thing was kinda bitter, perhaps from the chicory?  The pecans sadly did not stick out amongst the mixed nuts, which was disappointing.  And the dark chocolate was flavorless.

Disappointing, and didn't live up to its tasty sounding description!
Nuts & Spices: Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt.
A final choice from the "Nuts & Spices" line, the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar is "a sweet and salty blend of almonds, peanuts, and walnuts drizzled in chocolate with a touch of sea salt."  No cashews this time, which I appreciated, since I don't really like cashews.

A good mix of crunchy nuts, held together by the same sort of sweet glue as the others.  The dark chocolate was decent, but there wasn't much of it.  The salt seemed pretty inconsistent, some bites had some, some didn't.  This was one of the better bars I tried, but I still wouldn't buy more.

Subsequent tasting notes:  Again, I liked the mix of nuts, but I found the salt really inconsistent.  The bites that had it, I really liked, but it wasn't well dispersed.  Or maybe that is what they are going for, as every time I got some salt, I wanted to go back for more of the bar!

Plus Bars

The final category of bars is the Plus Bars, they "have a little something extra—boosts of absolutely all-natural nutrients like protein, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. "
Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants.
I started with the Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants, it has "almonds, cranberries, macadamias, and puffed rice".

It should have been delicious, as I love macadamias!  But ... very meh, just kinda sweet, and the flavors didn’t really combine that well.

[ No photo]
Almond Cashew with Flax + Omega-3

"A chewy and crunchy blend of whole almonds, cashews and dates".

Another meh, not good flavors, just nuts in nasty date paste.
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