In today’s fast-moving world (thanks to Covid that slowed it briefly), skipping meals is quite common among working professionals, and they compensate for the carbs and calories with a slim energy bar. These bars are also popular among millennials who would rather get a fruity flavoured energy bar instead of a real fruit and, on busy days, prefer them over the staple rice, daal, chawal and sabji. These are also consumed by people who wish to shed stubborn fat with a quick and light meal replacement.
Today, these bars are a trendy mode of calorie consumption and are part of our daily life routine, are it gift packs, parties, or lunch dates. Energy bars are wonderful. Not only are they handy to carry around, but they also taste delicious. But are they worth the money we spend on them, let alone the hype? Also, are the energy bars at a specific price point providing the same energy now? Answers to these questions help in making an informed purchase decision.
A SHORT HISTORY
Initially, in the 1960s and 70s, energy bars were meant for astronauts in space. Later, they entered the mainstream commercial scenario as a food supplement for athletes. The nutrition bars soon gained popularity among the masses, especially health freaks, weight loss fanatics, busy people who were always on the go, etc. So much so that it has become a part and parcel of healthy, conscious living. Many nutrition bars are good enough to compensate for one single meal.
Today, a variety of energy bars, like protein bars, meal bars, granola bars, health bars, and food bars, are being produced in various sizes and price ranges. Comparing them across price ranges over a period of time certainly helps in deciding which is best for us.
COMPARING LEADING BARS
Presently, the market is full of bars from various domestic and global manufacturers. Every company offers a certain calorific value at a certain weight at a certain price point. Here we compare the price, weight, and approximate calories of three major brands—Yoga energy bar, Snickers kesar pista, and The Whole Truth bar. Priced at Rs 40, the Yoga energy bar provides approximately 160 kcal in a 38 gm bar. On the other hand, Snickers is the heaviest at 42 gm and provides approximately 195 kcal at Rs 50. Finally, The Whole Truth bar is the most expensive, costing Rs 60 and providing approximately 190 kcal for Rs 60.
Now if this is translated to kcal per rupee, Snickers and Yoga energy bars provide approx 4 kcal per rupee, while The Whole Truth bar gives one rupee less at 3 kcal per rupee. Just like you do a proper scan of a garment in terms of the size, fit, color, texture, and material before you make a purchase, it is important to check the ingredients of an energy bar before you add it to your shopping cart.
QUANTITY VS PRICE OVER THE YEARS
We also observe that with time, inflation eats into these bars, effectively making them costlier. For example, a Yoga energy snack bar cost Rs. 35 for 38 grams in 2016, which today is Rs. 40 for the same weight. Sometimes companies keep the price the same while reducing the actual content of the packaging. Whatever the case, the buyer must make an informed decision.
READ THE WRAPPER WHEN BUYING FROM RETAIL SHOPS
Most online e-commerce marketplaces are transparent enough to provide the content and calorific value of these energy bars. Some additional information like calorie count, energy intake, vitamin information, etc. is provided by other online and phygital marketplaces like vending machines. However, the same is not true with retail stores, especially the Mom & Pop type outlets, where the buyer has limited time and space for purchase and hence misses out on such details. Sometimes, a few witty owners may hand over an expired bar at a lower cost.
Hence, there is a need for consumers to be aware of the quantity, expiry, and other parameters whether buying online or offline.
The author is Co-founder, Daalchini Technologies