Mulebar (Liquorice Allsports flavour)
UK-based MuleBar led the boom in natural sports food and it’s great to
be able to see real ingredients as you open the (compostable) wrapper. The liquorice flavour of this 56g bar will polarise opinion, but didn’t sit well with us on or off the bike. While being the most calorific and having the most fat (9g) on test isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the highest saturated fat statistic (6g; High5 comes second with 3.4g saturated fat) isn’t optimal. Mule also don’t fortify their bars with vitamins, minerals or other additional ingredients that might support performance, as some of the other manufacturers here do. If you like it, this MuleBar is a reasonably healthy snack, but the lack of a particular strength ultimately means that, whatever your needs, there’s probably another bar that does it better.
Verdict: Natural ingredients, but we're not convinced by the taste, 77%
CNP Energy Bar (banana flavour)
CNP was a fairly small UK-based firm that specialised in bodybuilding nutrition, until it was approached by British Cycling to develop products specific to their needs. Currently, you could put the Team Sky logo on pretty much anything and sell a shedload, but does CNP’s commercial success mean the products are any good? Unwrapping the product is easy and the bar that emerges has just the right amount of banana flavour, the consistency is balanced – neither too sticky or too dry – and it looks pretty much like something you could have made yourself, which is usually a good sign. For its 56g size, it also packs a high proportion of carbohydrate (39g) and, while there’s some sunflower oil added, it’s far less than most bars here, with the fat content coming in at 2.4g.
Verdict: Not perfect, but a great all-rounder that's endorsed by the best, 91%
SIS GO Bar Mini (apple and blackcurrant flavour)
It doesn’t always take much to be innovative, and UK-based SiS have simply released a smaller 40g version of their popular Go Bar. SiS aim to ‘Deliver Superior Nutrition’ and, in the case of this little bar, they does just that. The apple and blackcurrant flavour is zingy rather than sweet, which is refreshing, not too sticky or chewy, and slides out of the packet easily. It has slightly more ingredients than CNP, but it’s still pretty low (a good sign) and is arguably up there with Mule as the most ‘natural’, while being a much better bar for fuelling long-duration and high-intensity exercise. It’s not ideal as a snack between meals due to its high GI rating but, with 26g carb content, as a sports energy bar it’s great. Only the addition of added vitamins and minerals would make it better.
More practical size than its big brother, but more vitamins would be welcome, 88%
High5 Energy Bar (coconut flavour)
If you’re looking for an easy-to-eat, pleasant-tasting bar, then this is a good option. The coconut flavour High5 Energy Bar isn’t sticky, slides out of the simple-to-open packet well, feels light and easy to digest, and you can really taste the impressive 60% dried fruit ingredients. It offers a good amount of carbohydrate, but 41g might be a little too much to be eaten all at once during a hard endurance session. Overall then, this is a reasonable all-rounder and will fuel you well before, during or after sport.
Verdict: A decent-tasting, high carb content bar, if too high in omega-6 oils, 82%