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!
Spare Snacks was founded by Ben Whitehead who worked as a Food Innovation Consultant for Unilever and as a freelance sustainability consultant before making the leap to founding his own brand. We were lucky enough to be able to taste test some of his Spare Snacks and give our verdict.
The story behind Spare Snacks is brilliant and is much needed in an era of unprecedented food waste. Shockingly, over a third of all food produced globally goes to waste which equals over 1.3 billion tons and is worth over $1 trillion. This food waste could feed every starving person in the world four times over which is just not acceptable.
That's why companies like Spare Snacks are so important and are paving the way for a better future. Spare Snacks take 'wonky' fruit and veg that would otherwise not be sold and air dry them to turn them into handy, tasty fruit and vegetable crisps. For example, they take beets that are rejected by retailers for being a little damaged when they get pulled from the ground. They use apples that might have the odd blemish which means supermarkets don't want them even though they are perfectly edible.
Spare Snacks are working hard to tackle food waste and for this alone, we immediately fell in love with this brand before we even tasted their snacks!
Beet Root Crisps
Beets are somewhat of an underrated vegetable, especially in the UK, despite being packed full of protein, fibre, and potassium. Spare Snacks pair this super healthy vegetable with apple cider vinegar to make a snack that will easily challenge your favourite bag of crisps or other savoury snacks.
I loved the texture of these 'crisps' as they were a little chewy which worked well. The subtle tang of the apple cider vinegar offsets the beetroot's natural earthy flavour and they make for a very satisfying savoury snack. The beetroots in Spare Snacks' veg crisps are air dried which means you don't get the thick, oily texture that you sometimes get with classic fried potato crisps and you're not left feeling super dehydrated afterwards which is a big bonus. Not to mention the fact that the Spare Snacks beetroot crisps only have a minute fat content (0.1g total fat) compared to 10g of fat in a bag of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps. The beetroot crisps also have half the salt content of a bag of Walkers so they are objectively much healthier.
My usual naughty salt and vinegar crisps have a new rival!
Apple Fruit Crisps
The Apple Fruit Crisps come in two flavours: plain or with cinnamon. I'm a huge fan of the match made in heaven that is apple and cinnamon so I was really excited to try these fruit crisps. If you're like me and need snacks throughout the day to prevent extreme hunger and consequent binges, you'll know how important it is to find delicious, healthy snacks like fruit and veg crisps.
The flavour of the apple crisps is really satisfying and kicks that sweet craving right where it's needed. Again, the texture is chewy in a good way and they taste absolutely delicious. They're not overly sweet so you're not left craving more once you're finished and they make a perfectly satisfying snack, treat, or dessert. A lot of people (myself included) are conditioned to craving something sweet after both lunch and dinner, so these are the perfect compromise.
I have tried a few different brands of fruit and vegetable crisps in the past and I am always a huge fan. I think it's such a great, easy way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet and as they can act as a replacement for less healthy snacks it really is a great win. The fact that Spare Snacks go the extra mile by using otherwise unsaleable produce and are making steps to reduce food waste is hugely impressive. I love this brand and everything it stands for so it's a resounding 10 out of 10 from me!
On Running is a really exciting brand that is breaking through to secure its spot among the biggest players in the sports world. I was lucky enough to be able to test out the On Cloudflyer stability running shoes and give my verdict.
Size & Fit
Even just looking at these running shoes on the floor before putting them on, they look small and compact. My normal shoe size is a Women's UK 7/US 9/EUR 40.5 and I am used to sizing up for running shoes which is standard practice.
My current favourite running shoes are a pair of ASICS Gel Phoenix 7 which have served me incredibly well and I comfortably ran a full marathon in them with no discomfort, no blisters, and I could walk perfectly fine the next day (the sign of a great pair of shoes). My ASICS are a UK 8.5/US 10.5/EUR 42.5 and On suggest on their size guide that you should go half a size smaller than ASICS, so I dutifully went for a UK 8/US 10/EUR 42 for the Cloudflyers.
In reality, the physical size and dimensions of these shoes are very close to my Nike Free Runs which are a UK size 7.5/US 9.5/EUR 41 so I maybe wish I had gone bigger and didn't size down. When wearing them, my feet did feel a bit squashed and I could only wear my thinnest socks with them. If you like a roomy shoe or have big/wide feet, I'd recommend that you should definitely size up.
When I first put the shoes on, they felt very snug so I had to loosen the laces a fair bit. On first wear, they rubbed my heels and little toes quite substantially. However, I gave them a chance to wear in and this did subside after a while. To be completely honest, they are not the most comfortable running shoes I've ever worn and as you are about to find out, I had to give them a lot of chances to get it right.
First test run
I find that I have to run at least 2 miles but ideally more before I can really tell if a pair of running shoes is going to be comfortable or not. My first run in these shoes was 4 miles and I was really impressed with how they felt. I didn't experience any discomfort and I really enjoyed wearing them. Overall it was a very good run for me performance-wise and so I was left feeling very positive about the shoes.
Second test run
Unfortunately, on my second run wearing them I found that the arches of my feet started aching after a couple of miles and my toes felt squashed. It didn't cause blisters or any real pain, but my feet swell when I run (a common occurrence for many people) and so I don't like them to feel squashed. The aching on the bottom of my feet was perhaps them getting used to the more minimalist design of these running shoes.
The aching arches and squashed toes put me off quite a bit and I was left feeling disappointed at the end of my run, but I decided to give the shoes more of a chance and wait until I've done a few more runs to see if this pain disappeared once I was properly used to the shoes. Plus, I'm all too aware that we all have good runs and bad runs and that it might not be completely down to the shoes. For me, the perfect pair of running shoes are ones that I can forget I'm wearing so that I can focus solely on running and not pains in my feet.
Third test run
My next run in the shoes was a bit longer at 6 miles as I wanted to see how they'd feel over a longer distance and duration. Thankfully, the aching arches didn't seem to be a problem on this run so hopefully my feet had already got used to them. My little toes felt squashed and slightly painful at the start of the run again, however this did subside after a while.
After about 2 miles, I was running pretty comfortably in the shoes and was feeling happy with them. My last mile was on grass and this highlighted how hard the soles of the shoes are. My feet felt a bit battered and running on the grass was pretty uncomfortable, especially compared to my Nike Free Runs which I often use to do sprints in my local park.
When I got home, the bottom of my feet felt very sore, that same soreness you get when you've been on your feet for a very long time. This made me wonder how my feet would feel running in these shoes for longer runs of over 10 miles. So, I decided to test it.
Fourth test run
I really wanted to like these shoes so I gave them a lot of chances. My fourth test run was 12 miles as I wanted to test the shoes over a much longer duration, especially as I am a distance runner and may well be running a marathon in these shoes. Actually, I am hoping to run an ultra-marathon next year but it is a trail run and after the pain I experienced wearing these shoes on grass, I don't know if they'd be suitable.
On this run, my feet felt comfortable at first but then started to deteriorate. The arches of my feet ached as I don't think these shoes give quite enough ankle support for a pair of stability shoes, however this subsided after about 3 miles.
Unfortunately, after about 7 miles the bottom of my feet were hurting again like they did when I ran on the grass and this persisted until the end of the run. The lack of cushioning on these shoes while positive in the sense it keeps them light, unfortunately means they're not as good on longer runs.
I'd go so far as to say that the On Cloudflyer shoes are the best looking pair of running shoes I've ever had. They look very 'professional' and despite being stability shoes, they are very sleek, elegant, and compact. Other stability shoes I have owned have been overly clunky and look awful, both in design and the colourways available.
I like that On don't assume all women want bright fuchsia and purple running shoes and instead offer these shoes in a range of subtle, stylish colours. My friends and family also commented on how good these shoes look and I wouldn't feel out of place wearing them on a day-to-day basis as part of a casual outfit.
Stability shoes, which are designed to give support for people like me who have flat feet and overpronate, can be very chunky and I find that this can slow me down. My current ASICS running shoes are guilty of this so it was a breath of fresh air to run in the Cloudflyer shoes which were so much more lightweight. Their selling point is that you're supposed to feel like you're 'running on clouds' and this was certainly true for me!
Despite the discomfort mentioned above, these shoes helped me to run with very good form and encouraged me to be much lighter on my toes and lift my legs more when running. They actually felt like they were making me run faster! Perhaps this was just a placebo effect. Although, any good runner, physio, or coach will tell you that your running form starts with your feet and so having these shoes support me so well, perhaps they really did make me run faster.
I wasn't sure how the grip would handle wet roads but these shoes were perfectly grippy and I felt confident running in the rain while wearing them. My second run in them saw me running over some gravel and I was very impressed with the grip, my feet didn't slip at all and I felt very confident running over different terrains.
I had to give these shoes quite a lot of time to get used to them and to wear them in fully. My first run with them was awesome but then my second, not so much. As a distance runner, I need running shoes that are going to be very comfortable over countless miles and that I can forget I'm even wearing.
I found these shoes to be a bit too snug so I'd recommend sizing up if you want to be super sure. The rigid upper rubbed my feet and the very solid soles felt a bit harsh so I would mark them down for comfort.
However, I'm hugely impressed by their appearance and performance-enhancing qualities. When I received them, I was hoping they could replace my current running shoes and become my new go-to for my next few hundred miles of running. While they're ideal for shorter tempo runs and interval runs, they're not so good for long runs. So, I'll wear them for shorter runs and wear my ASICS for longer runs.
I'd rate these shoes a solid 7/10 as I think they have the potential to be an amazing pair of running shoes, but the comfort (or lack thereof) let them down.
You can buy the On Cloudflyer women's shoes from the On Running website for £140. The pair we tested were in the colourway Storm/White.
Primal Pantry's handmade cold-pressed products are all made in the UK with headquarters in Kent. Primal Pantry was founded by nutritionist Suzie Walker in 2013 when she wanted to find some healthy snacks for her kids that weren't packed with sugar and artificial ingredients. I was thrilled when they sent me a box of their goodies to try!
There is up to 10g of protein per bar which is great for those who need a protein boost in their afternoon snack or if you struggle to hit your daily protein consumption. Each bar contains no more than 6 ingredients which is fantastic. In this modern world, snacks can be packed with all sorts of nasty additives and extras, but Primal Pantry strip it back to basics and keep it simple which I love. One of the common ingredients in the bars is coconut nectar which is a low GI cane sugar alternative. It is the perfect natural plant-based alternative to artificial sweetener or sugar used in most products these days. The bars contain nothing artificial or chemical and they are vegan, raw, and paleo. They do contain nuts so are not suitable for those with an allergy. The packaging is very attractive and the branding is modern and appealing.
This bar is from the protein range that Primal Pantry offers and packs 19% protein in a 55g bar. It has a very deep taste of orange and the fact it comes from real dried orange rather than artificial flavouring really shines through. There are tasty little crunches in each bite to keep the texture interesting and it is very moreish! The chocolate taste from the cocoa will cure a sweet tooth craving but it is much healthier than a classic chocolate bar.
Apple & Pecan
This bar is quite soft compared to the others, and the apple flavour is refreshing and tangy. As with the orange bar, you can tell that the fruit flavouring is not artificial and instead comes from organic fair trade apples, which means it's ethical too! Pecan nuts are absolutely packed full of various vitamins and minerals, which means that this bar provides numerous health benefits as well as being super tasty!
Coconut & Macadamia
The coconut & macadamia bar is made from dates, macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut and a hint of almond oil. That's it! Just five ingredients, meaning it is completely vegan and paleo. Macadamia nuts are a rich source of Vitamin A and iron meaning they can help contribute to better circulation and support a healthy immune system so there are plenty of health benefits to this bar. The coconut flavour is very strong so if you love coconut you'll love this as a snack, or with your morning cup of coffee.
The cocoa brownie was definitely my favourite flavour, it's so satisfying! Often, after I eat an energy bar or a protein bar, they're so moreish that I'm left wanting more and more, but somehow Primal Pantry has absolutely cracked it as I felt perfectly satisfied after eating this bar! It's lovely and chocolatey, so it cures that sweet tooth or afternoon chocolate craving. And knowing that it's vegan and paleo means it's guilt-free! I predicted that this flavour would be my favourite and it absolutely was.
This flavour was also a personal highlight as it was so fresh and delicious. The mixed berries include raspberries, apricots, and goji berries, so there is a good mix of super fruits in there! Goji berries contain high levels of antioxidants which provide fantastic health benefits, and they also promote healthy skin and eyes so you'll end up glowing if you eat enough! I wondered if this flavour would be nut-free but it does include almonds, so not appropriate for those with a nut allergy or intolerance.
I love how simple these bars are, they really are just made from simple, natural ingredients which could be found in my kitchen, so I know that what I'm eating is healthy and not overly processed. The bars are all true to flavour with interesting textures and combinations of fruits and nuts. They are satisfying enough that you don't find yourself reaching for one and then another and then another, which I can be guilty of! I think Primal Pantry would do well to do a completely nut-free version so that those with an allergy can enjoy them too, so it's a 9 from me!
Primal Pantry On Social
I've been running in the New Balance Vazee Pace since I reviewed them a couple of years ago so I was delighted to update my trainer collection and test the new Fresh Foam Zante v3 reflective.
These trainers look exceptional and really stand out from the crowd. I love the solid reflective detail that just looks like part of the shoe. These trainers are great for running in the winter months as they are impossible to miss and reflective detailing on winter training apparel is really important.
A flash photo captures the reflective detail on the New Balance trainers
These are a really modern, fresh pair of trainers and could be worn just as well as a pair of fashion trainers for every day activity as well as being a high spec pair of running trainers.
Sundried Running Socks are the ideal liner
Unfortunately, I found the ankle really stiff. After a month of wearing them they really started to cut into my ankle and cause some discomfort. I haven't heard this from any other runners so it's possible it is just my foot anatomy. I've not had this issue from any other New Balance trainers but they do really seem to cut in. I will explore more because everything else about this shoe is great.
One great thing about these trainers is that there is plenty of room for your foot and they do not feel restrictive on the forefoot. After road testing the Adidas Adizero Adios 3 Running Shoes for review and continuing to run in them after testing, I found the Adidas quite narrow and restrictive. I could have definitely done with a size up, but maybe they would still be restrictive. Side by side, you can see how much more space there is in the forefoot of the New Balance trainers. This is a big plus as having a toe box that is too tight can make for some really uncomfortable runs, but the New Balance shoes have it just right.
The sole of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 men's running trainers is actually quite stiff, but the grip on the road is amazing. When I run on wet concrete I can usually feel and hear a slip under the foot, but this is definitely reduced in these shoes which is a big bonus.
The RRP of these men's running trainers is £95 although they are currently on sale from the New Balance website for £66. I think this is a really reasonable price for such a responsive and attractive pair of shoes. Nike running trainers can cost you well over £100, so the New Balance price point is really competitive in comparison.
Tested with the Sundried Men's Training Tights Roteck 2.0
Sundried Grand Combin Long Sleeved Training Top