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CRUNCH Granola Bars

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Clif Bar & Company touts its new CRUNCH granola bars as being created by the “athletes and foodies” in the company’s test kitchen. The bars, which come in four flavors and are baked with constituters such as organic oats, barley and rye, are a direct affront at a market long dominated by General Mills and its Nature Valley line of crunchy granola bars.

Like the Nature Valley standbys, CRUNCH bars come two to a pack. They are about the same size and weight, though the Clif bars are more crumbly than the General Mills product. Clif’s offering is more flavorful, too.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CRUNCH bar

Indeed, the Clif (www.clifbar.com) granola bars come in flavors like White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Chocolate Chip. The Peanut Butter CRUNCH bar is advertised as containing “creamy” peanut butter chips that make for an “irresistibly healthy snack.”

For the most part, I have to agree. The CRUNCH bars are flavorful and unique. Nature Valley makes a good product, to be sure. But after years of packing General Mills’ Oat’s ‘N Honey and Peanut Butter granola bars along on trips, the Clif product offers a welcome new taste.

Nutritionally, the CRUNCH bars have around 4 to 5 grams of fat per bar and about 90 calories each. The two-packs are suitable for an adult, who can easily consume both bars as a snack, or for splitting up between two kids.

CRUNCH bar lineup

One downfall: The CRUNCH bars are crumble-prone. If packed carelessly, they can turn quickly from granola bars into plain, loose granola in a bar-shape pouch. On a backpacking trip, you might be pouring the CRUNCH granola from the pouch straight into your mouth after a day or two on the trail.

The CRUNCH line of bars came to market this summer. They cost about $4 at grocery stores for a box of five two-bar pouches.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

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