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

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.