The Bounty Protein Bar sees manufacturers riding firmly on the wave of healthy products that dominate the shelves at the moment. It's packed with protein, making it great for recovery, and despite not being quite as vibrant in taste as the original version, still tastes great. At £2.19 a go, it's pretty pricey mind you.
Everywhere you look in the snack and takeaway lunch aisles of shops nowadays, products boast about their protein and health benefits, playing on the trend for healthy living. So it wasn't overly surprising when Mars confectionary released protein-pumped versions of its classic Bounty, Snickers and Mars bars.
The manufacturer hasn't just boosted the protein content to 19g, meaning it contains the standard recommended amount for post-exercise recovery, but cut total calories (to 190 per bar), carbohydrate (17g per bar) and fat (6g per bar). This makes it a significantly less guilty option than the standard Bounty bar, and thus an obvious choice for those watching their waistlines.
The taste is perhaps a tiny bit less pronounced than the 'taste of paradise' offered by the original version; the coconut is perhaps slightly less vibrant than normal... but the Christmas 'Celebrations' multibox binge memories are still brought back to the tastebuds and I think it's pretty good. Similarly, the texture is a little different, with the protein version being a bit more chewy than the usual variety – a result of its protein content. Nothing unpleasant, just a surprise if you're expecting a 100 per cent replica of the original version.
Mars has obviously done its research, as the Bounty's macros stack up well against competitor protein bars. When looking at the nutritional information of, for example, Science in Sport's protein bar of the same weight, the total carbohydrate, fat, and protein are more or less the same, with the Bounty perhaps surprisingly coming in significantly lighter on the sugar hit. The Clif Builder's bar (reviewed here) is a more hefty option, at nearly 20g larger in total, but, tellingly, the Bounty bar contains the same amount of protein and fewer total calories, carbs and fat. If you're looking for the most 'skinny' version on the market, you may want to go for the OTE protein bar, which contains just 4g fat and 11g of carbs.
The most contentious issue, as with most energy and recovery products, is the price. At £2.19, it feels like a lot of cash. However, the Torq protein bar is £2.50, and a Clif Builders Bar around £2.40 if purchased individually, and so the £2+ price point isn't silly. There are slightly cheaper bars, but anything you can eat with 'protein' on the wrapper inevitably comes at a premium, playing on your conscience and desire to be 'heathy' as a means of inflating the price. So, the price point is high, but pretty standard for the market.
Packing the great taste (in my opinion) of a typical Bounty bar but with a bit less bad stuff, and with a good protein hit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bounty Protein Bar
Size tested: 51g
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The product is aimed at everyone, being a 'healthier' version of the classic snack. It features reduced total calories, and almost half the fat and carbohydrate. The key feature is the 19g of protein, making the bar appeal to those looking to recover after their workouts.
Distributor Madison says: If you're looking for a new and tasty way to enjoy protein in your diet, you'll love the new Bounty Protein Bars!
The new Bounty Protein Bar is just 200 calories and has the nutritional profile you would expect from a leading Protein Bar but with all the great taste of your favourite confectionery brand
The Bounty Protein Bar contains 19g of protein combined with coconut and chocolate
The individually wrapped Bounty Protein Bars can be easily slipped into any kit bag as a post ride snack
Protein Bars have been taken to a new level with the tasty Bounty Protein Bar"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Packing in 19g of protein per bar, the bar offers the recommended quantity of protein for post-training recovery. With 17g of carbs per bar, there's also a good dollop of this other essential and much-overlooked nutrient for recovery and re-fuelling.
Due to its chocolate coating, I'm not too sure how well this would cope in the jersey pocket furnace on a long day of warm-weather riding. It's probably more suited to stashing in your bag or glovebox than taking for a mid-ride option.
Although £2.19 is a lot, it's not unheard of. The £2+ area feels a lot to swallow, but protein bars by competitors Torq and Clif are just as pricey. There are slightly cheaper versions on the market, but you're only going to save a few pennies. If you're going to eat the protein, you need to be prepared to chew up the pennies too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a fan of Bounty bars, I thought it tasted great after my turbo trainer session, and it brought back fuzzy feelings of sitting on the sofa at Christmas eating Celebrations. It's hard to quantify how well it helped my muscles recover, but I felt fine on the bike the day after I ate it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Keeps the trademark taste of a Bounty, but manages to cut back on the carbs and fat of a standard bar.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing. You will have to like eating a normal Bounty to enjoy the protein-pumped version of course!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The bar is nutritionally strong, delivering a good dose of protein without too much fat or sugar. The taste isn't far off that of the traditional bar, and the texture not that different either. Yes, £2.19 per bar is a lot, but similar to the majority of others on the market.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding