Pepper, Onion, Mustard…'Salty' Energy Bars

Sugary flavors tend to rule in the energy bar aisle. But not all bars skew fruity and sweet.

A new line this spring from Kind includes seeds and legumes, among other savory constitutes. Some bars have hints of peppers and onions even.

I tested the whole spread this week, including a Jalapeño bar, a honey-mustard flavor, and one called simply “Hickory Smoked.”

The “Strong & Kind” product line includes Honey Smoked BBQ, Roasted Jalapeño, Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili bars

My quick review? After years of being conditioned to expect a sweet flavor when eating bars, the Kind concoctions were undeniably strange.

You bite into a bar subconsciously anticipating honey, oats, and fruity flavors. Instead, an onion bites you back.

But I am not negative on the line. Overall, the Kind bars are good. The salty flavors are subtle, and many are tinged with sugary undercurrents from ginger, coriander and cinnamon.

The texture is gooey and slightly crunchy, including whole almonds and other nibs of real whole foods. Kind touts 10 grams of natural protein per bar.

I sampled each flavor over a day. My notes included tidbits like “birdseed texture,” “semi-sweet but oily,” and “a tinge of a smoky flavor.”

Whole nuts and high-quality ingredients

To reiterate, the bars taste good, and the quality of the ingredients is apparent. I am happy Kind came out with this line, especially for long days outdoors where I crave salt.

Will my kids love them? I anticipate them asking for traditional chocolate and granola-oriented flavors when we’re out.

For the salt-tooths out there, in total Kind offers five flavors in the “Strong & Kind” product line: Honey Smoked BBQ, Roasted Jalapeño, Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili.

The bars cost about $2 apiece. Try one out the next time you’re craving something a bit different for the trail. —Stephen Regenold

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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