The Quest for a Better Protein Bar
Breaking Muscle receives no compensation in exchange for reviews. We received this product for free and did not experience typical customer service. The opinions expressed belong solely to the writer.
If you’ve ever tried to eat a protein bar, you know that they can be hard to swallow. Dry, chewy, awful tasting, and I’ve seen bars that cost over five dollars. Ridiculous!
Quest Nutrition has changed the game. Delicious and affordable, their products leave you feeling satisfied.
In 2010, a group of wellness enthusiasts on a quest gathered in a kitchen. Their goal was to produce a protein bar that people actually wanted to eat, but was free of sugar and other junk fillers. A bar so delicious, it felt like a cheat meal.
When the company was founded, they started with two flavors: Vanilla Almond Crunch and Peanut Butter Supreme. Now, Quest offers seventeen different flavors. For this review, I was sent a 12-Flavor Sample Pack.
"What I like about this company is that throughout the development of their products, they refuse to compromise."
I’m not a huge fan of eating protein bars, so it took me about a year to get through a box of twelve. I kept notes as I ate each one. The qualities consistent with each bar were the texture (chewy and grainy, with kind of a brownie texture) and how filling they were. I could rarely eat a whole bar, but I’m about 105lb and I generally halve a lot of my supplements, so it didn’t surprise me.
I can’t honestly say that eating these bars felt like a cheat. When I ate them, I knew I was eating a protein bar, and in some cases didn’t really enjoy them. However, there were some exceptions. In my tasting notes, I stated the following:
- “The Cookies & Cream bar tastes like an Oreo blizzard. It appears to have chunks of cookies.”
- “The Lemon Cream Pie bar has a nice, light lemon flavor. Chewy texture, a little gritty. My favorite so far.”
- “Vanilla Almond Crunch is delicious. It tastes like that green pistachio ice cream. It’s not as chewy or gritty as the other bars. There are pieces of almond in it. I ate the whole thing at once.”
- “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is delicious, but still obviously a protein bar. It’s not gritty and the chocolate chips appear to be real. One of my favorites.”
- “White Chocolate Raspberry seems to have real raspberry seeds. It is delicious, one of my favorites. The raspberry flavor is mild and there are chunks of what appears to be white chocolate.”
The remaining bars were okay, but I probably wouldn’t buy them in the future if the flavors above were available. Compared to what some of the other companies are offering, though, even an okay Quest bar is preferable.
Quality of Ingredients
In my notes, I commented that some bars had products that “appeared to be” cookies or chocolate chips or white chocolate. It turns out that Quest Nutrition’s commitment to using high quality, cutting-edge ingredients is so strong, they’ve manufactured those, too:
We even manufacture the inclusions that we put in our bars. The chocolate crumbles in Cookies and Cream and the white chocolate chunks in the White Chocolate Raspberry… we make those from scratch. It’s the only way to get the perfect taste and nutritional profile you come to expect from Quest.
What I like about this company is that throughout the development of their products, they refuse to compromise. The “About” section of their website explains:
Every consultant and industry expert recommends we change our formulation, cut some corners or add some sugar. We know what’s down that road: compromise. A failure to uphold our stated mission. This wasn’t just about starting a business. It was about revolutionizing the way people eat. Everyone else is adding sugar and junk. For us, it’s personal. We have friends and family struggling with obesity and diabetes in desperate need of an alternative to what’s available. So we forge ahead. We fly to different production labs to meet with engineers that promise a solution. Time-and-time again Quest Bars proves too much for any pre-made equipment.
Quest bars became so popular, customers developed a community, sharing their experience, and even baking with the bars as an ingredient. It turns out some of my favorite bars can be turned into other delicious treats, as explained on the company website:
“Customers and fans are baking with Quest Bars. Quest-inspired recipes pour in from kitchens around the country. And we’re not talking about one or two. It’s hundreds.
Suddenly it’s not us huddled around the kitchen island trying to invent something new, it’s our community. To them, it’s not only a protein bar. It’s an ingredient. They use our bars to bake cookies, cake, and crepes. We pick a few out and give them a try. Our reaction: “Whoa! This is delicious!”
The company owners loved readers’ recipes so much, they developed a series of cooking videos, with host Cassey Ho. The video series is called Cooking Clean with Quest, and there's also an online Cheat Clean Cookbook. Be sure to check them out if you want to experiment with clean eating in the kitchen.
Beyond Protein Bars
Over the past couple of years, Quest Nutrition has been expanding beyond the protein bar market to offer protein powder, protein chips, peanut butter cups, and guilt-free pasta. I was also sent the spaghetti, spinach fettuccini, and peanut butter cups. I don’t eat a lot of pasta so unfortunately the fettuccini expired before I could use it, but I took notes on the spaghetti and the peanut butter cups.
- “I had the Quest Spaghetti with meat sauce I made at home. It seems to retain a bit more water than regular pasta, so I should have let drain a bit longer than normal. It doesn’t have a distinct taste, it just tastes like the sauce. Not as filling as regular pasta but still good. Easy to eat, faster to prepare than other pasta.”
- “The Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups are similar to Reese’s only not as creamy. It's a lot drier and it takes a while to eat just one. I found it stuck to my teeth and the roof of my mouth. I had to use my finger to scrape it off after licking like a dog for some time. I couldn’t eat two, one was filling enough.”
I wish I could report on the protein chips that were just released, but unfortunately we had a blizzard today and I didn’t get to the store! Join the Quest Nutrition community by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Quest Nutrition products are available for $2.39 and up at QuestNutrition.com.
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