Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Nature Valley Protein Peanut, Almond & Dark Chocolate Chewy Bar

I've had good experiences with Nature Valley bars on this blog, but that shouldn't really be all that surprising.  Nature Valley is a product of a monster conglomerate (General Mills), so it's only natural that their products would not be offensive to the general public.  It's the same situation as Quaker Oats...nothing truly horrible is going to make it to the store shelves because it has already been through hundreds of iterations of product testing before it even gets there.  Large corporations like to hedge their bets that way, unless their name is Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers.  Oops.  Anyway, I grabbed this Nature Valley Protein Peanut, Almond & Dark Chocolate Chewy Bar at snack time at work (LOL) and it's 1.42 ounces and 190 calories.  It's also Nature Valley's attempt at the protein market, so they've amped up the customary minimal amount of protein that their bars usually have to a larger ten grams of protein in this case.

This bar looks a lot like a normal Nature Valley bar, except that it has one major difference.  The base of the bar is a thick and strong smelling layer of dark chocolate.  Not only did the chocolate have quite a strong smell, but the bar also had an incredibly strong smell of peanuts as well.  Peanut (and peanut butter, of course) make me feel all warm in my tummy, so being able to smell that before I took a bite of the bar got me off to a good start.  The main part of the bar was made up of a mix of large peanuts, huge almonds, sunflower seeds (?!), oats and a mystery ingredient of toasted coconuts that was not visible by eye, but was indeed listed on the ingredients.  The bar was then held together by the typical various syrups, such as corn syrup.  One thing of note, as you can see from the picture, is that Nature Valley certainly was not shorting you on the nut components of the bar and that's where I commend them.  Of course, since the bar is trying for heavier protein, it needs those nuts to up the protein counts.

Biting into this bar was pretty much a dream.  It had strong peanut taste and unbelievable crunch brought to the table by the large peanuts and the huge almonds.  While the almond flavor got lost in the peanut power, the pop that they brought to each bite was certainly a more than welcome addition.  The chocolate, while certainly noticeable, was not overly sweet since it was dark chocolate.  If I had to try to pin a comparison on the dark chocolate, I would say it was almost mocha like.  Not my favorite, but it worked well with this bar. All in all though, it didn't really affect the flavor as this was a very good one and a nut lovers delight.

Buy It or Fly By It?  I've already said that this bar was pretty much like a dream and was also a very good one, so it's pretty obvious that this gets a BUY IT rating.  One thing that this bar was lacking was a degree of sweetness as it was pretty much in the salty category, but that's okay.  Maybe needing sweetness is just something I prefer as I believe that anyone else that eats this bar will probably not feel the same way.  Regardless, this is another winner for Nature Valley, proving yet again that they do a good job marketing tasty products to the masses.



  1. Just tried the cherry dark chocolate version and I hate it. They use corn syrup and other "natural" flavors etc. I eat organic foods most of the time so after my first bite, I could taste the cheap ingredients. Way too much crappy tasting sugars. Terrible cheap products such as this shouldn't be consumed by anyone.

  2. General Mills makes junk food for the masses. They really don't care about making healthy foods. They venture into markets for one thing only and their products reflect that. Their protein bars are like eating processed sugar cubes mixed with gmo grains. Hardly healthy. Look at a company like Kaashi... When people make good products for the right reasons, success will follow. General mills is a general at best.

  3. High Maltrose corny syrup, natural flavor, fructose, maltodextrin and other crap are put into these "100% Natural" bars. Give me a break. You might as well eat a twinky. You'll get the same nutrition from one of them. Nice try General Mills. Go back to making frosted flakes cuz they "taste great!" yucky....

  4. I'd like to try this one. I've had the other two protein bars from Nature Valley- Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Nut. Didn't care for the former all that much, but the latter- delish! Maybe a bit TOO salty, some might say. But I say you should give it a try, if you ever are looking for something to review.


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