USN's brand new protein bar, the Trust Crunch, claims to be a guilt-free snack and aims to replace your everyday unhealthy snacks. We gave one a try and give our expert review so you can decide if it's right for you.
Taste & Texture
We tried the Cookies and Cream flavour bar but there are three other delicious-sounding flavours available:
- Salted caramel peanut
- White chocolate cookie dough
- Chocolate brownie
The bar is coated in milk chocolate and as soon as you take a bite you realise how delicious it is! It tastes just as indulgent and delicious as a normal chocolate bar, perhaps even more so because of the additional caramel layer and crunchy pieces on top. The bar is very easy to chew and digest unlike some other protein bars which can be very dense and hurt your jaw.
Ultimately, this 'healthy' protein bar tastes nothing like a classic protein bar and certainly doesn't taste healthy. If you love an indulgent chocolate bar, you will love this as it tastes just as good if not better. It definitely tastes more like a chocolate bar than a protein bar.
USN claim that this bar is "guilt free" and "low sugar high protein" which would indicate that it would be very healthy. However, when you take a closer look it might not be as guilt-free as you'd hope.
The Trust Crunch bar is indeed low in sugar but it still contains 17g of carbs so it's not suitable for those following a keto diet or any other type of low carb diet. It's true that it has almost no sugar, however the sweetness comes in the form of polyols which are sugar alcohols and act as sugar-free sweeteners. This ingredient is used by many protein bar manufacturers, including the Grenade Carb Killa, so that they can say they are low in sugar.
If you take the nutrition information at face value, this indulgent chocolate bar does indeed seem very healthy and almost too good to be true thanks to the high protein content. However, the ingredients list is a far cry from being 'guilt free' or 'healthy'.
The number one ingredient is milk chocolate, which is definitely not the mark of a healthy, guilt-free snack. The rest of the ingredients include cocoa butter and cocoa mass which are also staple ingredients of standard chocolate bars. There are also plenty of chemicals and synthetic ingredients like malitol which is another polyol.
These polyols could be considered healthier than sugar because they don't cause dental caries (cavities) and don't affect the blood sugar in the same way as sucrose, so could be better for diabetics. However, isn't it better to stick with truly organic, natural foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds instead of chemical compounds like these?
Essentially, this bar is exactly the same as your average, unhealthy chocolate bar but with sugar-free sweeteners instead of actual sugar and added protein.
To purchase these bars direct from the USN website you have to buy 12 x 60g bars at a cost of £24, working out at £2 per bar which is very expensive. To buy one individually, it'd cost you £2.79 from Protein Pick N Mix or £2.49 from Posted Protein which is even more scandalous. Considering you can pick up a Snickers bar for 60p or a piece of fruit for even less, I'd say this bar definitely isn't worth the astronomical cost. Price-wise, it's definitely not guilt free!
You can't argue with the fact that this bar tastes incredible. It's very chocolatey, indulgent, and delicious. However, I'd question the claims that it's 'guilt free' and 'healthy' and I wouldn't recommend using it as a snack alternative; it's probably best for body builders on a 'cheat day'.
It says on the USN website that the recommended usage of this bar is: "Whenever you're in need of a guilt-free snack, try our delicious Trust Crunch" but they are far too expensive to replace your normal chocolate bar and aren't that much healthier when you look at the ingredients. If you're truly in need of a guilt-free snack, you'd be better off having a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit and honey or a nut and seed bar.
Wild Trail is a snack brand that is part of the Brighter Foods family, founded by Robin Williams. Brighter Foods was founded in 2014 in a small town in Wales and has since expanded to employee over 200 people and launched sub-brand Wild Trail in 2016. We were lucky enough to taste test Wild Trail's newest snack bar and give our verdict.
Wild Trail Sweet & Salty Fruit & Nut Bar
I really love the story and concept behind Wild Trail as I am a keen adventurer and love the outdoors. Wild Trail are very proud of their roots and the fact that their base is in the beautiful Snowdonia national park. The snacks are inspired by nature and their aim is to provide 'simple outdoor energy' for people who enjoy fresh air, exploring, and everything that the outdoors has to offer. The snacks are designed to be as simple and natural as possible and also handy enough to eat on the side of a mountain.
Taste & Texture
Considering these bars are all-natural and only contain 5 simple ingredients, the taste is absolutely glorious. The raisins provide the perfect sweetness without being overly sugary, which is a pitfall of some 'healthy' bars which are based around dates as the main ingredient.
The bar is delightfully sticky and the nuts give a crunchy, delicious texture. The 46g bar is just the right size to be satisfying but it is very moreish so you have to be careful! The sea salt provides a delicious depth of flavour and this bar is just what you need when refuelling during or after a big workout or adventure.
Wild Trail prides itself on delivering snack bars that only have a few ingredients and that they are all things you could find in your cupboard at home. The Sweet & Salty Fruit & Nut bar contains just 5 natural ingredients:
- Gluten free oats
- Apple juice concentrate
- Anglesey sea salt
Each bar is a handy 46g and contains 189 calories. There is 15g of sugar which is fairly steep if you're on a low sugar or low carb diet, but it also contains 6g of protein which is good considering these bars don't claim to be 'high protein' like so many other products these days. Plus, if you're using these bars to fuel adventure as intended, the sugar content is a bonus not a negative.
The bars are ideal for those with a food intolerance, allergies, or who follow a 'free from' diet for any reason. Wild Trail bars are dairy-free, vegan, gluten free and have no added sugar. This means they are kind to the stomach and make them ideal as workout fuel and won't upset your stomach during an important endurance event or race!
I was surprised at just how delicious these bars are! They are really tasty and satisfying and make the perfect adventure fuel. It's refreshing to know there are so few ingredients and that they are so healthy and natural. It's a 10 out of 10 from me!
Kate Percy's Go Bites are a natural snack perfect for taking on-the-go or using as pre- or post-workout fuel. We had the pleasure of trying the exciting new fruity flavours and giving our verdict.
Boost: Raspberry & Cacao
I absolutely love the appearance of the new products by Kate Percy. The vibrant colours are very enticing and my mouth was watering before I even popped one in my mouth. The raspberry and cacao was my favourite flavour as it was so indulgent and flavourful – the perfect treat to look forward to during a tough marathon training run.
As with the original Go Bites, you get 3 balls in a pack and they are perfectly sized and portioned to have before, during, or after a workout. The texture is dense enough to be satisfying without being too chewy so as to hurt your mouth or be a chore to chew. Not only this, they're very handy and easy to store and so are my absolute go-to mid-run fuel for these reasons.
Refuel: Strawberry & Cashew
All of these Go Bites are made to Kate Percy's original recipe and promote the idea that real food fuels you better, which I am a huge proponent of. I find that a packet of Go Bites is the perfect running fuel and stops me from hitting the wall far better than any gel or other goo. Not only this, as they are made from 100% natural ingredients and free from gluten, wheat, and dairy, they are very easy on the stomach and you are unlikely to suffer any gastric issues when fuelling with them.
I had my strawberry and cashew Go Bites after a winter warmer duathlon at the Lee Valley VeloPark. It was a tough race and so having these tasty little bites in my bag to eat afterwards and refuel was absolutely perfect. The taste is awesome – the authentic, natural ingredients taste amazing and the texture is perfect. They're very satisfying and they really sorted me out after the race.
Recover: Blackcurrant & Blueberry
The blackcurrant and blueberry bites are made with rice protein and so give a well needed protein hit after a workout. They contain no added sugar and so are a super healthy food to snack on – whether you're training or not!
This flavour is really delicious, just like the others, and is perfect as a grab-and-go snack. The flavours are so authentic and the serving size is perfectly satisfying.
I absolutely cannot fault these delicious treats! They are unarguably healthy and are absolutely perfect for working out whether you have them before, during, or after. I really support Kate Percy's mantra that 'real food fuels you better' and these balls prove that point perfectly!
Mindful Bites is a health food brand specialising in the promotion of mindful eating. Their flagship products are delicious organic nut butters in a variety of flavours, but their newest product is even more exciting. We were lucky enough to try their new Crunchy Bites and give our verdict.
I really love the branding on this product as it's bright and vibrant while staying simple and powerful. Each product is colour coded to co-ordinate with the relevant nut butter flavour, so if you're a loyal Mindful Bites customer you'll quickly and easily be able to identify your favourite flavours.
Each packet comes with two long sticks which is easy to open and store and perfect for taking on a long run or to throw in your gym bag as a post-workout refuel.
The texture of the Crunchy Bites is really quite exciting. This snack consists of a crunchy gluten-free wafer stick filled with gooey delicious nut butter, meaning it has a crisp outside and a soft, melting middle. I love the contrast of textures between soft and crunchy, it makes the snack really interesting and makes it feel quite indulgent.
I absolutely love the taste of these Crunchy Bites. The product is available in four different flavours: cashew & baobab, almond & maca, hazelnut & berries, and brazil nuts & cacao nibs. Having already tried all of Mindful Bites' nut butter flavours for a review which you can read here, I knew that the pocket of nut butter in the centre was going to be delicious. Whether you're craving a savoury or sweet snack, these bites will satisfy that craving and they are just as good as a naughty snack – without any of the guilt! They're perfect for keeping hunger at bay while at work or for between meals on the weekend.
The nutritional info on these snacks is brilliant – the nut butter boosts the protein content and the exotic ingredients all have their own health benefits. For example, baobab is good for digestive health and and promotes radiant skin while maca is said to relieve symptoms of the menopause and improve mood.
I absolutely love the Crispy Bites as they are so moreish and tasty but packed with health benefits and nothing nasty. They're perfect as a grab-and-go snack and would even be great to put in a child's lunchbox for school. It's a 10 from me!
Zoot Foods was founded a few years ago when a group of friends realised there was no off-the-shelf snack bar with no nasty surprises at a reasonable price. They decided to get to work creating their own range with no added sugar, salt, or fat and thus Zoot Foods was born! I was lucky enough to be able to try their exciting bars and give my verdict.
Zoot Zero Range
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my box from Zoot and found some chocolate bars in there! Usually, health food brands stick to fruit and nut bars as they are naturally healthier, however Zoot specialise in no added sugar chocolate bars and I couldn't wait to try them.
The chocolate bars are part of the ZOOT ZERO range, a premium-tasting chocolate range featuring four bars: Smooth Dark, Zesty Orange, Creamy Milk, and Hint of Mint. All bars are twin packs featuring 2 x 20g bars giving you the healthy option of eating one and saving one for later!
Zoot utilise the increasingly popular sugar alternatives Stevia and Maltitol meaning the ZOOT ZERO range of chocolate has all the taste of premium chocolate with fewer calories. Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, is grown in Paraguay and Brazil and does not affect blood sugar levels (unlike artificial sweeteners). Maltitol is also a sugar substitute with 75-90% of the sweetness of sugar. Created from hydrogenating maltose, a natural sugar created from corn starch, and with a little over half the calories of sugar, it does not have the same blood sugar impact as refined sugar and both Stevia and Maltitol do not cause tooth decay.
The bars are suitable for vegetarians as well as being gluten free for our coeliac friends. With only 0.9g of sugar per bar I was seriously impressed at how healthy this chocolate bar really is. So, how about the taste? Well, upon discovering that the natural mint extract from Black Mitcham peppermint used in ZOOT ZERO Hint of Mint chocolate is from Summerdown Mint in Hampshire and has been developed by Sir Michael Coleman from the Coleman mustard empire I was pretty impressed! I don't usually like dark chocolate, but I absolutely loved this bar. The mint flavour floats in the background while the chocolate melts in your mouth. Knowing that there's less than 1g of sugar in this bar makes it a totally guilt-free treat!
The milk chocolate bar is actually quite sweet thanks to the sweeteners and the texture is reminscent of advent calendar chocolate. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide!
Zoot Natural Range
The ZOOT NATURAL range of fruit, nut, and seed bars are made with a blend of dates, sultanas, and currants with the distinctive flavour of each bar provided by the inclusion of a variety of nuts and seeds. All ZOOT NATURAL bars are dairy free, a source of protein, and 3 of the 4 bars have a high fibre content. The ZOOT NATURAL bars are also vegan and gluten free meaning they are suitable for a wide range of people. Each bar also boasts an average of 5g of protein which is very good for a bar that doesn't claim to be 'high protein'.
ZOOT ZERO and ZOOT NATURAL are both free from added sugar and are certified ‘free from added sugar’ by Sugarwise (the new kite mark showing that products have been independently assessed and guaranteed to be low in free sugars.
I'm really impressed by the Zoot brand and their chocolate bars will now be my go-to when I have a chocolate craving! It's a 10/10 from me.