Sens Bar Review

Sens Bar

I have a weakness. It’s a weird weakness. Probably not one that a lot of people have. The weakness is that I love cricket flour protein bars. Ever since I first tried Exo and Chapul, I got hooked. Now there are all different brands popping up because apparently crickets are the future. The most recent brand I came across on Instagram was Sens Bars. I took a look at their products and man they looked tasty – and they offer 2 different kinds of cricket bars – we’ll get more into that in the review below.

But nevertheless, today I’d like to do another cricket bar review for you, brought to you by the good folks at Sens Bars. I reached out to them when I saw their products scrolling across my Instagram and they were more than willing to hook me up with some product to review (they actually sent me a ton of stuff, even this cool poster and tote!)

Sens Bar Poster

Sens Bar Tote

As always we will be reviewing these bars for: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional Profile

Sens Bar
What first caught my eye about these bars was the fact that they’re cricket flour based – yes – but then I checked out the nutritional facts and saw that they had 20g of protein (!) and a relatively low carb count! After I read a little further I realized that was exactly what they were trying to offer – a high protein, low carb bar and a bar that has lower protein with a little more sugar. This photo describes it well:

Sens Bar

So that’s exactly what they’re going for – Protein bars and Energy bars. Genius! Well let’s see how they stack up:

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Total Fat: 21.9g
Total Carbohydrate: 10.3g (Dietary Fiber 2.9g, Sugars 4.4g)
Protein: 20g
Ingredients: sesame (27 %), chocolate (21 %) (cacao powder 52%, cacao butter 48 %), cricket flour (Acheta Domestica) (20 %), hemp protein, agave nectar, sesame oil (4 %).

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
Total Fat: 8.7g
Total Carbohydrate: 21g (Dietary Fiber 5.3g, Sugars 17.2g)
Protein: 7.7g
Ingredients: dates, cashews, chocolate (16 %) (cacao mass 69 %, cacao powder 31 %), cricket flour (Acheta Domestica) (10 %), psyllium, orange peel (2 %), orange essential oil (0.9 %)

Dare I say that the “Protein Bar” is the perfect combination of fat, carbs and protein?! Well it is pretty close. Both bars have pretty impressive macros actually, before we dive into the ingredients, let’s look at how these stack up against my favorite cricket protein bar Exo:

Exo Cocoa Nut
Total Fat: 20g
Total Carbohydrate: 23g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 13g)
Protein: 10g
Ingredients: Almonds, Dates, Coconut, Honey, Cricket Flour (Acheta Domesticus), Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Ground Flaxseeds, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt.

Sens Bar

Alright, now that we got all that laid out, let’s see what’s going on with the Sens Bar Protein Bar. The Protein Bar has a great amount of fat and DOUBLE the protein of Exo and HALF the carbs of Exo. That’s a pretty impressive nutritional profile. The only fault I would have (but isn’t even really a thing) is the little bit of sweetener they use in this bar is agave nectar. I would have preferred them use a tad of raw honey instead considering the benefits – but this is such a low amount of agave you’ll probably not even have any of the negative impacts of agave. Mark’s Daily Apple says this about agave nectar: “Agave nectar is insanely high in fructose. Of the sugar present, up to 92% of it is pure, unadulterated fructose. That’s considerably more than table sugar, most honey, and even high-fructose corn syrup. If we want to avoid fructose, agave nectar must also be avoided.”

Sens Bar

Just my two cents about the sweetener. The protein in this bar is obviously cricket flour, but then they use hemp protein to get it up to that 20g level. This is a great idea because hemp protein is a great plant based protein that’s pretty neutral in flavor and 20g of protein from the cricket flour alone may be a little much. The blend of different protein sources is a great idea to get it up to that 20g level.

The Sens Bar Energy bars are lower in protein and higher in carbs yes, but I think they’re a great alternative when you just need an afternoon pick up. And I do have to say, these bars taste way better than the Protein bars – which is obvious since the energy bars have more dates. I really really liked the Dark chocolate & orange Energy bar. These bars nutritionally are like a Larabar – but with protein – which I think is a pretty great idea. I always loved how Larabars taste but wished they they had something other than just a bunch of sugar. Sens bars hit the nail on the head with these bars by using the dates and nuts – but then adding the protein.

I really like what Sens bars did with these two bars: Protein bars and Energy bars. They offer you the choice of a bar that’s good for after a workout or for when you want to keep your carb count down, and the option of something more sweet if that’s what you’re looking for.

Affordability

Sens Bar
Now lets take a look at what these bars will cost you. The price on the Protein bar and the Energy bar are slightly different. Let’s take a look and see how their price compares to others.

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Price per bar: $3.17 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $37.99 (subscription)
Sens Bar Link

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
Price per bar: $2.37 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $28.49 (subscription)
Sens Bar Link

Exo Cocoa Nut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Exo Link

So these bars are right there in that sweet spot compared to Exo or other brands. Though the Protein bar is slightly higher price per bar I would consider it a steal when you consider that this is a true meal replacement for only $3. That beats trying to drink some Soylent as a meal replacement in my opinion – and Soylent is roughly the same cost, but you know… made with soy.

Sens Bar

As I’ve said before in regards to the price of these kinds of bars. You really get what you’re paying for. Sure you can eat a Nutrigrain bar for $1 or less thats filled with junk and sugar, or you can eat a whole food packed with Omega 3s for slightly more money. I prefer the whole food Omega 3 option. At $2.50-$3 I consider Sens bars a great option and price point.

Taste

Sens Bar
Now to the taste! This is where it all comes together, or falls apart. Overall I liked the taste of the Energy bars more than the Protein bars. Let’s see how each one tasted specifically:

Sens Bar

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Slightly dry and crumbly and a very dark chocolate taste. Hint of sesame. This is the first bar I tasted where I can slightly distinguish the taste of the cricket flour. Their packaging says cricket flour isn’t something you can taste, but because I’ve eaten straight cricket flour before – the taste was familiar to me. I wouldn’t consider that a bad thing necessarily considering you’re getting 20g of protein. It’s a necessary part of this high protein low carb cricket bar.

PROTEIN BAR Peanut butter & cinnamon
I like the flavor of this higher protein bar more than the dark chocolate one. The cinnamon really helps balance out the cricket flour/non sweet taste. I really think of these two bars as a functional supplement protein – meaning I wouldn’t necessarily grab for it when I’m kinda hungry and want a snack. I would grab for it when I want a true meal replacement and 20g of protein. It does the job but the other two bars are a more pleasant taste and experience.

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
This bar is amazing! Just enough sweetness. Just the right texture. I love things with orange and orange peel so this bar was right on. By far my most favorite bar. I like having the option of being able to pick a high protein bar or another bar that’s slightly sweeter and less protein for more of a snack. I will be ordering more of these bars.

ENERGY BAR Pineapple & coconut
This bar was great too. It really reminded me of the coconut cream Larabar with a pineapple taste. Very good texture and great coconut taste. Very satisfying for that afternoon pickup or snack at Disneyland. I really liked the flavor of this bar too.

I like having the option of the snack via the energy bar or a meal replacement via the protein bar. Very cool concept and I think they execute it very well. The only suggestion I would have to improve the taste with the protein bars is by making them sweeter. I know this sounds counterintuitive since we’re trying to keep the carbs down but this can be accomplished by using stevia or erythritol or something. Just a little ever so slightly more sweeter would help balance out the taste in my opinion. Still though I love all the bars and will be ordering more.

Conclusion

Sens Bar
Thank you Sens bars for sending me samples! I thoroughly enjoyed them and the other goodies. I love that there are growing options for alternative protein bars out there. We need more of this kind of thinking and products being introduced since the shelves at the stores are filled with high sugar high carb junk – and because crickets are the future. I encourage you to go buy some Sens bars right now and see for yourself how you like them. Thanks for reading!

Click here to order some Sens bars

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bar Review

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

I seem to be in search of the perfect Primal energy bar. I’ve already looked at Exo (my favorite), Chapul and RXBAR. Exo and RXBAR are great options for those that want a whole food source, crickets and whey protein respectively, and carry a good dose of fat also. So after I reviewed those bars I thought I was set with my two perfect options for a quick breakfast or snack at Disneyland. Then scrolling on Instagram one day I came across all these Paleo folk saying they got sneak peaks of this new bar out of Primal Kitchen: Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar.

I immediately got in touch with the people at Primal Kitchen and asked if they could send some bars for me to review and they told me they sold out almost instantly of all these bars but they had a couple still lying around that they were willing to send to me for review. Man was I excited. These bars are different. They meet every requirement of a great Primal energy bar, and as you’ll read below, they seem to be superior to every other bar out there. Let’s take a look at our three categories: Nutritional Profile, Affordability, Taste.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Nutritional Profile

Now this is really what separates these bars from the pack. My main focus on finding a great Primal energy bar is to make sure it’s not loaded with sugar, has a good amount of fat for energy and has a real whole food protein source. Considering all three of these categories like we did for Exo and RXBAR- these Primal Kitchen bars blow everyone else out of the water.

See some people maybe have a problem with Exo and RXBAR because they use crickets and whey. Not everyone loves crickets and whey. Primal Kitchen on the other hand uses collagen. Collagen you say? Yes. Check out the FAQs from their own site:

Q: WHAT THE HECK IS COLLAGEN?

A: Collagen is the protein that holds everything in your body together. It makes up about 30% of all the protein in the human body, and is found in your bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues and skin, and plays various roles in your overall health. Collagen production naturally declines with age, reducing the structural integrity of the skin and instigating the weakening of cartilage in joints. You can help make up for decreased collagen production by eating collagen sourced from grass-fed bovines pasture-raised in Brazil.

Q: WHY SHOULD I EAT COLLAGEN?

A: The collagen protein used in Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars is collagen hydrolysate from grass-fed cows, which is broken down into individual amino acids and easier to absorb and digest, so it’s a preferable alternative to taking collagen in, say, capsule form. Furthermore, it’s 100% protein, and we all know the benefits of ingesting clean protein.

Collagen is such a great option for protein bars and it’s something I haven’t seen packaged quite like this before. This may be a great option for you if the idea of crickets is weird to you or if you don’t do whey protein. I’m pretty sure every Paleo and Primal person should do collagen.

Let’s take a look at how the rest of the bar breaks down:

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Total Fat: 15g
Total Carbohydrate: 14g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 3g)
Protein: 15g
Ingredients: Almonds, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Grass-Fed Collagen, Isomalto-Oli – gosaccharides (Cassava Root), Water, Coconut Flakes, Honey, Natural Flavors, Coconut Oil, Bitter Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Himalayan Pink Salt, Monk Fruit Extract, Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Now there’s no way to look at that and every other bar out there (including my favorites Exo and RXBAR) and not determine that this bar is superior. It has more fat than the rest, less sugar than the rest and more real protein than the rest. I would consider that superior.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Affordability

Well ok you may say, ok Randall you say these bars are superior but how much will it cost me?

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Price per bar: $2.99
Price per 12 bar box: $35.95

At about $3 a bar that’s a steal in my opinion. You can look at my review regarding Paleo granola and realize that you’ll have to pay more for better food. Sure you could spend less on a sugar laden soy bar or you could spend slightly more and eat a superior protein bar.

If you look at these bars as what they are, real food, it’s a great deal to have something on hand that has such a great breakdown of fat, carbs and protein. Not to mention that there’s no way I would go out of my way to buy all these ingredients and try to make this bar myself at home, I’d rather have a 12 bar box on hand and grab one when I need some real whole food that’s gonna fill me up and give me energy in a pinch.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Taste

Man are these bars good. Their taste is a really pleasant dark chocolate taste. Not too sweet but just the right amount of sweet for me. The only part that was a little tough was the texture to these bars. They are really chewy, not sure if all of them will be that chewy or if it was just the ones sent to me. The crunch to these bars was just perfect though to break up all the chewiness.

As for the collagen – didn’t even taste it. Don’t think you’re gonna bite into these bars and taste a cup of bone broth. Not happening. Just know that you will taste a pleasant dark chocolate nutty, slightly sweet bar that has 15g of collagen packed protein into it.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Conclusion

I think I found my new favorite protein bar. I will definitely be alternating between these and my Exo subscription. The only problem is that these bars have been out of stock on their site since they were announced. So keep checking back on their page to see when they’re back in stock and grab a box of 12 for yourself. If you buy them and don’t like the rest of the box feel free to contact me and I’ll eat them for you.

Thanks Primal Kitchen for making the perfect primal energy bar!

Get your Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar Here

Exo Savory Bars Review

Exo Savory Bars Review

What would you do if you got an email from your favorite cricket bar company telling you that they’ve made some new flavors that have less sugar, are more savory and still have tons of crickets? You order a whole box of course. Well, I’m not sure you would do that but that’s what I did. Now I’ve already written a bunch about these bars in the past and even compared them to other protein bars so this review won’t be as in depth because these bars still contain all the goodness of their original flavors, nutritionally speaking, but have slightly different ingredients. You can read my other review here.

I do love that Exo went down this road because it really was the only way to improve an already amazing protein bar. In the past we already discovered that they had a good amount of fat, which is great, a good amount of protein, which is also great, but they still had about as much carbs as a banana – which isn’t bad but if you’re looking for a low carb protein bar solution for your morning, their existing flavors might of not suited you. Well, these new savory flavors should suit any person following a Paleo low carb diet. With only 5g–6g of sugar, these bars fit the bill perfectly. Now let’s get into the 3 categories: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

Exo Savory Bars Review

Nutritional Profile

Let’s just take a look at my favorite of their new flavors: Mango Curry. All of their new flavors only have 5g–6g of sugar and 11g of protein. They are all more or less the same fat/carb/protein ratios.

Exo Mango Curry
Total Fat: 17g
Total Carbohydrate: 22g (Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 6g)
Protein: 11g
Ingredients: Almonds, Chicory Root Fiber, Cricket Flour (Acheta Domestics, Gryllodes sigillatus), Tahini, Coconut, Mango, Prunes, Puffed Rice, Coconut Milk Powder, Tamarind, Sea Salt, Natural Mango Flavor, Spices.

As we can see there is still a good amount of fat and protein and they slimmed down the sugar from 13g (Cocoa Nut) to 6g. This is great especially if you’re trying to avoid a glucose spike after one of these bars, though I doubt the alternative of 16g sugar will give that to you. Nevertheless it’s nice to have an option of less sugar in one of these bars especially when their competitor Chapul has 25g sugar!

This bar is the only one of their new flavors that has puffed rice, which isn’t a problem for me digestive wise. I occasionally eat white rice so rice isn’t a problem. The puffed rice does add a slight crunch to the bar which is a nice texture addition.

Affordability

Right now you can get a variety pack for $36 that contains 12 bars, 4 of each new flavor.

Exo Savory Variety Box
Price per bar: $3
Price per 12 bar box: $36.00

These bars are still brand new and they may be refining the flavors before they put these in their regular store. So there is no subscription option yet. I’m sure there will be a subscription option when they nail these down as final flavors. But even at $3 a bar, that’s not that bad for a whole food bar that’s low in sugar and high in fat. Perfect for sustaining you through a day at Disneyland or picking you up in the morning after or before a workout.

Taste

Now this is where things went a little south for me. I wanted to love every one of these bars because by nature I love salty things over sweet things. So the idea of these bars sounded really good. As I kept trying each flavor though, I began to dislike each one and always compared it to the one I actually did like which was the Mango Curry. Let me explain.

Exo Mango Curry
Mango Curry
This was the first one I tried and I loved it. The texture was great and the saltiness and slight sweetness was spot on. It had a very distinct meaty flavor. I don’t know how else to describe it other than that. It was just a taste that was almost beef jerky like in taste. This bar was a win in my book.

Exo Mediterranean
Mediterranean
This was the next bar I tried and I didn’t love it as much as the Mango Curry. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad tasting or anything – It just wasn’t as good as the Mango Curry. It was almost too subtle in flavor. Still contained that meaty flavor but lacked the texture and slight spiciness of the Mango Curry.

Exo Barbecue
Barbecue
This was the last one I ate, and I have to be honest – It was terrible. Not because of the crickets, but because of the actual barbecue flavor. It was almost overwhelmingly barbecued flavored. It was a nice flavor of barbecue but it was just too much of it. I literally had a hard time finishing the bar, which was a bummer because this was the one bar that I wanted to love. It just sounded so perfect – barbecue crickets. Hopefully they can dial in this flavor before it hits prime time.

Conclusion

So I know I didn’t love all the bars, but that’s ok because all I needed to love was just one flavor, like how I love the Cocoa Nut one so much. Now I have the perfect low sugar companion to my Cocoa Nut bar – Mango Curry. Once again, thank you Exo for making great protein bars with real food.

Buy some for yourself:
Exo Savory Variety Box

RXBAR Review

RXBAR Review

So maybe crickets aren’t your thing. The idea of eating crickets for breakfast freaks you out a bit. Well, we’re still not left with many “real” food options for breakfast/energy bars. The hardest part for these energy whole food bars to figure out is what protein source to use. Larabar has one that uses pea protein. Quest makes this low carb one that uses whey protein. Then there are these amazing ones that use cricket flour. Then one day as I was browsing on Instagram I came across Melissa Hartwig (Whole30 co-creator) showing off RXBARs.

 

A photo posted by Melissa Hartwig (@melissa_hartwig) on

I’ll admit the first thing I was drawn to, being that I’m a designer by day, was the package design. The minimalist package design was right up my alley so I tapped the Instagram account of RXBAR and read a little bit and saw that their protein source was egg whites. That’s a perfect alternative for people who are put off by cricket flour, whey, pea or brown rice protein.

RXBAR

Egg whites are a real food. So naturally I was excited to try out these bars. I reached out to RXBAR and they sent me one of each of their flavors. It took awhile to get this review out because I wanted to eat one across the span of a week or so. Eating a bar after swimming and working out and to see how I felt after. I didn’t want to just nibble on each bar and tell you how they tasted, though I’ll cover that, I wanted to see how well they held me over and worked as a meal replacement/addition. As we do with all product reviews here we’ll be talking about the Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

RXBARs are Whole 30

Nutritional Profile

RXBAR has a total of 7 flavors with 3 core ingredients: Egg Whites, Fruits & Nuts. Each bar has pretty much the same nutritional profile (more or less), so for this we’re only gonna look at my favorite flavor: Coconut Chocolate. All of their bars are Paleo and Whole30 compliant except for the peanut butter since peanut butter isn’t actually from nuts, its from peanuts which are legumes. Nevertheless, I ate the one they sent me and it was delicious. A little peanut butter never hurt anybody (unless of course you’re allergic to peanuts).

RXBAR Coconut Chocolate
Total Fat: 9g
Total Carbohydrate: 22g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 13g)
Protein: 12g
Ingredients: Dates, Egg Whites, Almonds, Cashews, Cacao, Coconut, Sea Salt, Natural Coconut Flavor

What we see here is pretty amazing. These bars pack 12g of protein. That’s slightly more than the Exo bars I love so dearly. Where they come up short in comparison to Exo bars is how much fat is in the bars. 9g isn’t as much as Exo’s 20g of fat. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still more fat than Chapul or other grain filled breakfast bars. I’m just pointing out it isn’t as much as Exo’s because that’s ultimately what makes Exo a little more sustaining. What RXBARs really are is a Larabar with egg whites. Larabars have about 10g fat (Coconut Cream Flavor) and no protein other than that naturally occurring in the nuts.

These are still a great option for a quick breakfast on the go because they will hold you over longer than Chapul and Larabars but not as long as an Exo bar would. Remember fat is your friend. It’s the body’s preferred source of fuel. Don’t fear the fat and shun these just because they aren’t ultra low fat. They’re like mid fat. I’d prefer them to have a little more coconut. If you compare this to another whole food breakfast it would be something like 2 scrambled eggs in 1/2T butter (12g fat, 2 carb, 12g protein) and a small banana (.3g fat, 23g carb, 1g protein). Not a bad way to start off your day. All in all these bars have an impressive nutritional profile, are a whole food and are quick & easy. These are a winner in my book when compared to the rest of the junk out there.

RXBAR Review

Affordability

RXBARs (All Flavors)
Price per bar: $2.05 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $24.69 (subscription)

The price point of these actually lands in a good range. They’re a whole food bar, like I’ve been saying over and over, and they break down to only about $2 a bar. That’s great! Compare that to Exo bars at about $3 a bar – that’s more expensive yes, but you are paying for a slightly more sustaining bar. But then if you look at these Larabar ALT bars they come out to about $1.25 a bar, which is pretty cheap, but they have 30g carbs and they use pea protein for their protein source which may cause gut irritation for some people.

My point is, there is always a give and take. Cheap breakfast bars are filled with junk, whereas expensive breakfast bars are filled with amazing crickets and coconut (things good for you). RXBARs I feel land in a great spot at $2 because their price is middle of the road compared to the cheap and expensive alternatives – but you don’t have to give up quality.

Cinnamon Apple RXBAR

Taste

These flavors all had the same underlying taste of dates and figs but the differences came out in the nuances of the additional ingredients in each of the flavors. I’m glad I got to check all of them out (even the Peanut Butter).

Chocolate Sea Salt
This was the second least chewy of all the bars. It has a very noticeable salt flavor at first that’s followed by the deep chocolate flavor that left a lingering after taste. There isn’t too much crunch in this bar. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll love this bar.

Pumpkin Spice
This one reminds me of a gingerbread cookie. Nice and soft texture with the perfect amount of crunch. This bar was also not too sweet, I like that. Perfect Fall flavors in this bar.

Chocolate Coconut
This bar was my favorite. Still not too sweet and just the right amount of coconut flavor. Just the right amount of crunch from the nuts and cocoa nibs. The chocolate flavor was subtle and not overpowering.

Peanut Butter
This one had softest texture of all of them. Very straight peanut butter taste to the bar. It reminded me a lot of Tiger Milk bars, minus the chocolate. I used to eat those when I was a kid but not any more. If you like peanut butter and if peanuts don’t give you gas, and if you’re not Paleo this is a great protein bar.

Blueberry
Lots of texture from the nuts and dried berries in this bar. If you like blueberry, you’ll love this bar because it’s very blueberry tasting. I happen to like blueberries amongst all other berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries – so this bar was right up my alley. Not too acidic or tart flavored either, very mild tasting.

Apple Cinnamon
This totally reminds me of those instant apple cinnamon oatmeals. They hit the nail on the head with this one. Not very chewy, just the right texture for me and not too sweet. The crunch is nice too just like the rest of them.

Coffee Chocolate
This was the first bar I tasted actually and it was very very chewy. It almost made my jaw hurt. Not sure what impacted the bar in that way because not all of them were this hard. Maybe I should’ve set it in the sun for a few minutes. There was a nice subtle and pleasant coffee taste. Not too sweet. Just the right amount of crunch. I really liked the coffee flavor, not bitter at all.

Bye Bye RXBAR

Conclusion

Like I’ve already said if crickets aren’t your thing, this is the next best thing. At $2 a bar, 12g protein and great flavor options these bars are clear winners.

Buy some samples and decide for yourself:*
Get $5 off your first RXBAR order!
RXBAR Sampler Pack
*After you figure out which flavor of RXBAR you like I suggest you sign up for a subscription.

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Exo vs. Chapul

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Exo vs. Chapul

Breakfast is hard. Getting up early for work, packing lunch, getting ready and out the door can be a hinderance to getting a good serving of fat and protein in your belly in the early hours of the day. On some days it may work to just skip breakfast since intermittent fasting has been shown to have a multitude of health benefits. However, for those days that you want to get something Primal in your belly that’s also filling and tastes good, what cricket flour protein bar will do the trick: Exo or Chapul?

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Exo vs. Chapul

Exo started out on Kickstarter where they raised $20,000 in 3 days. I originally backed them and got my first box after they finished production and I have continued to order them every month to have a quick go to Primal breakfast or snack. The kicker for this bar is that the protein isn’t whey, pea or soy – it’s Crickets. They raise crickets, euthanize them and then pulverize them into a flour. So no you won’t have a cricket leg sticking out of your bar. They are very similar to Chapul that showed up on Shark Tank and backed by Mark Cuban. Being the avid Shark Tank viewer that I am I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these bars to compare them to my beloved Exo Cocoa Nut bars. Exo and Chapul both actually get their cricket flour from the same farm in Canada. You can read more about them in this really insightful article on The Verge. But how do they fit into your life? Should you buy them? Let’s take a look at 3 key factors: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

Nutritional Profile

Now, I inevitably have to compare Exo to Chapul since they both share the same protein source and are marketed so similarly to one another. When you sit down and have to decide which bar to buy, what nutritional factors should you look at? If you’re following a low(ish) carb/high protein Primal diet, Exo wins when taking a look at the fat, protein and carb profile. I love how Exo doesn’t seem to be afraid of fat and calories. They made a bar that will sustain you through the morning or an afternoon at Disneyland where your food options consist of churros and corn dogs.

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Exo Cocoa Nut
Exo Cocoa Nut
Total Fat: 20g
Total Carbohydrate: 23g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 13g)
Protein: 10g
Ingredients: Almonds, Dates, Coconut, Honey, Cricket Flour (Acheta Domesticus), Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Ground Flaxseeds, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt.

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Chapul Aztec
Chapul Aztec
Total Fat: 2g
Total Carbohydrate: 36g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 25g)
Protein: 5g
Ingredients: Organic Dates, Cocoa, Chapul Cricket Flour (Brown Cricket, Acheta Domestica), Organic Espresso Roast Coffee Beans, Cayenne.

We see a few things here. Chapul is much higher in carbs, much lower fat, lower protein and more sugar. They both share, more or less, the same omega–3 fatty acids, iron and calcium contributed by the crickets. I think the answer is pretty clear when comparing the nutritional profile of both bars. Exo has, by far, a more superior nutritional profile when considering we, Primal folk, are looking for something with enough fat and protein to sustain us. Chapul has very little fat since there are no nuts and coconut. Therefore leaving the Chapul bar a very high carb snack that will leave you with with a sugar crash quickly after consuming it.

Now yes, neither of these bars are low carb by any means. But I still think Exo is a nice quick snack or breakfast choice every once in awhile because when you compare the profile it’s like eating 2 scrambled eggs in 1T butter (22g fat, 2 carb, 12g protein) and a small banana (.3g fat, 23g carb, 1g protein). We need the fat! Otherwise you’re really just eating a cricket candy bar. When looking at both I feel Exo is the winner in all three categories (fats, carbs, protein) lending to a more filling and satiating snack.

Affordability

Exo Cocoa Nut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)

Chapul Aztec
Price per bar: $2.83
Price per 12 bar box: $34.00

It’s important to look at how you can get the most bang for your Primal buck when purchasing one of these cricket bar brands. If you’re spending money on something to fuel your body, you better choose the best option that has the optimal fat, carb and protein profile – while being affordable. For that I would declare Exo the winner again. It’s crazy to think that Exo comes in cheaper but maintains more fat and protein per bar than compared to Chapul.

Now at almost $3 a bar, these aren’t cheap. However, they’re still a better option than all the other “Nutrisugar” bars that are filled with carbs and likely no fat and protein. So are these affordable? Depends on your budget and how often you eat/need them. I don’t suggest replacing eggs and bacon with these bars, but they are very handy when you’re in a pinch for time and you don’t want to resort to pastries or doughnuts a coworker brought to the office.

The only reason that you would dismiss the nutritional profile and affordability advantage that Exo has is if one doesn’t hold up to a taste test. Let’s take a look at how the two compare…

Taste

Lastly and possibly the deal maker or breaker is how these bars actually taste. Now this is totally going to depend on you, you may actually have to buy both and taste for yourself to determine which flavors you like and don’t like.

Cricket Flour Protein Bar Review: Exo vs. Chapul Closeup
Exo Cocoa Nut on the left, Chapul Aztec on the right

Exo Cocoa Nut
Personally, I’m in love with the Exo Cocoa Nut. After purchasing these bars for about a year now it seems Exo has continued to refine their process or something. At first this bar was very dry, tasted amazingly chocolaty and nutty, but very dry. Now they seemed to have nailed down making the bar a little more moist. Not sure how they do it since the ingredients haven’t changed (to my knowledge). I have tried a couple flavors and have still gone back to the Cocoa Nut flavor. The Blueberry Vanilla was not my favorite, pretty gross actually. I ordered one box when it first came out and I just missed the chocolaty/nutty taste of the Cocoa Nut. The now discontinued Exo Cashew Ginger was amazing! I wish they would bring it back…

Not everyone loves the taste of this bar though. I’ve let a bunch of people at my work try it and they say it’s dry and make a face when eating it. Whether or not they don’t like it is really hard to distinguish since they’re still probably stuck on the fact that they’re eating crickets (which you can’t distinguish).

Chapul Aztec
This bar actually tastes pretty good. It doesn’t taste terrible, but I was expecting more. I was really hoping for more coffee taste. All I could really taste was the chocolate, sweetness from the dates and it was finished off with the cayenne. You can definitely taste the cayenne near the end. To be honest, I actually was expecting the bar to be sweeter when looking at the nutritional profile but it doesn’t actually taste that sweet. Kinda makes you wonder why they needed so many dates to make it as sweet as it is. It really could use some nuts or coconut or something… oh wait then it would be the Exo Cocoa Nut bar…

Chapul has a few other flavors which I’m sure taste pretty good also, but I would still have to ask myself if it’s worth all those carbs – for me the answer is no. I’d rather eat a Larabar because that way there’s actually some fat going on. In the end the taste wasn’t terrible but I still prefer the taste of the Exo Cocoa Nut bar.

Conclusion

I think the answer is pretty clear. Exo has a far better nutritional profile, are more affordable and tastes better. I love these bars and am glad I originally looked past the fact that they were made out of crickets. Hopefully you can look past that too and pick some up!

Buy some samples and decide for yourself:*
Exo Sampler Pack
Chapul Sampler Pack
*After you figure out which flavor of Exo you like I suggest you sign up for a subscription.