The Bar Exam
“Do you have an eating problem?” I stared back shamelessly at my fuming Spanish teacher, my bar-wielding hand halfway between my lunchbox and my mouth. “Problem” was a harsh way to put it, but man, do I love eating snack bars. When lunchtime is irresistibly close and my remaining self-respect stops me from whipping out my thermos in the middle of class, bars are always there to help me get through my day. Since Guy Fieri won’t be squaring off against a snack bar any time soon, I feel obliged to put my “problem” to good use by ranking the best bars out there.
I have spent my entire life conducting field work for this evaluation, so I didn’t follow any structured taste-testing procedure. As a leading authority on snack bars--no a snack bar prodigy--I know the taste and texture of these bars by heart. I haven’t been invited to give a TED talk on my research yet, but I know it’s coming. Nevertheless, any good evaluation needs criteria to concretely decide which is the best bar. This requires using one product from every brand I tested. In an effort to keep the playing field even, I chose almond-based flavors as the standard. I also had to research the nutritional content for each bar and the number of flavors available online. I left the rest of the hard work to my taste buds.
Taste and Texture: _/10
I combined these two features because they go hand-in-hand and because they are both are somewhat subjective--but important. Hopefully, this will also limit the amount of time I spend sounding like a judge on top chef.
Cost _ / 10
Since each bar is a different size, prices will be represented in dollars per oz. Every bar on my list is organic, non-GMO, peanut-free… you get the idea. As a result, they are all in the “luxury” price range compared to other snacks. It hurts to spend more on two bars than for a whole box at Walmart, but I ask you to suspend your skepticism. I too subsisted on cheaper sustenance for some time, but when you can’t bear the guilt of biting into your third cliff bar in 10 minutes, you will come around.
Satiety _ / 10
Bars are great for holding you over when you can’t eat a full meal, so this is an important category. If a bar is not satisfying enough, points will be deducted. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a bar being too filling, as long as you are not eating a whole box of them. This is America, where bigger is always better.
Nutrition _ / -10
Every bar in this lineup would probably pass the “healthy snack or candy bar” test with flying colors, so to be as objective as possible I will be comparing protein, sugar and fat content. This will be scored by deducting the fat and sugar content from the protein, in grams. Again, since this is America, these scores will all come out negative. They will be normalized to -10 points and deducted from the overall score. Maybe that isn’t the best approach, but I am not a nutritionist, so that’s all I got.
Variety _ / 10
This one is very straightforward: I...