Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews are great tasting nutrition boosts that tread the line between an energy bar and a gel. With multiple carbohydrate sources, they optimise the rate at which you can take on sugars, giving you a fast hit, and also provide you with a vitamin C hit for an extra health benefit.
Honey Stinger's chews are chewy sweets with a texture similar to Haribo gummy bears, yielding a nice bit of bite in the mouth. The beauty of a sweet is that it provides you with the feel of eating real food like a bar while also being a lot easier to get down than occasionlay dry or crumbly energy foods. The semi-solid texture means they can almost be compared to a gel, slipping down easily when working hard and breathing heavily.
Nutritionally, a packet of nine chews delivers a hefty 39g of carbohydrate, and 100% (60mg) of your recommended intake of vitamin C. Perhaps the key to the product is that the carbohydrate comes from multiple sources: glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose. Using four sources of energy means that your body can take in the sugars through various digestive pathways, so you can take on the energy super-quick, for a near-immediate energy boost.
Having tried the chews on a couple of rides, the best way to describe them would be giving an impact akin to a cross between a bar and a gel. As mentioned, they deliver a quick hit thanks to those multiple sugar sources, but they also seem to sit longer in the stomach than a gel, and give a little more of the feel of a 'brick' in the stomach than solid bars or bananas and so on provide.
Honey Stinger makes a big deal of the fact that the ingredients are all organic, gluten free, and naturally flavoured. It does make a refreshing change when reading the top ingredients to see items that don't sound like the contents of a science lab – tapioca syrup, sugar, honey, grape juice – and I do think that a focus on natural ingredients can help with digestive issues some people encounter with sports nutrition, particularly gels. The addition of the vitamin C is a definite bonus, though not something that would sway me to this product over others.
I tried two flavours, Grapefruit and Pink Lemonade. They were both bright and zingy in the mouth, almost kind of refreshing. You couldn't say they highly accurately convey the flavour that they claim to be, but are close to it, and neutral enough to be pleasant without overpowering. I can't really see them being flavours that anyone would dislike.
My only gripe is that the chews come in a packet, much like a bag of sweets, and it's not that easy to get into on the move. If you are intending to use them on a hard ride or race, where you may have limited time to take both hands off the bar to get into the packet, you'd best get it open before you head out; even then it's not that easy to dig a chew out. The 'tube' system used by Clif with its Shot Bloks is preferable here.
The chews come in boxes of 12, with an RRP of £31.80 – working out at a fairly hefty £2.65 per 50g packet. Although this initially seems pricey, it isn't far off Clif's Shot Bloks, also £2.65 but for a 60g tube, or Powerbar's Powergel shots, which are £2 per 60g packet.
So, these chews give you a great energy release and provide a nice middle ground between a bar and a gel, albeit in slightly awkward packaging. With natural ingredients and being gluten free, they sit easy on the stomach – but at £2.65 they sit a little less easy on the wallet.
A tasty sweet delivering fast energy, but they aren't that easy to get out of the packet and are quite pricey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Honey Stinger Energy Chews
Size tested: 50g per packet
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 Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews are formulated specifically for health-conscious individuals and athletes seeking a great tasting energy snack. With natural flavourings, organic ingredients, and being gluten free, the chews are a real antithesis to some of the highly processed artificial sports nutrition out there.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The chews boast multiple carbohydrate sources – glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose – meaning energy uptake is optimised.
REMOVE THIS SCORE
The chews give a good buzz of energy (excuse the pun). However, they're not that easy to get from the bag on the move when riding hard.
£2.65 a packet is quite pricey, albeit comparable to similar energy sweets. However, this is significantly more than most energy bars or gels.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The chews give a good energy hit and performed well. I'd prefer them to come in an easier form of packaging for on-the-move munching though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The flavours were good, and the all-natural ingredients mean that there should be no risk of stomach upset.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The packaging is my only quibble – having the chews in a bag rather than a tube makes access a touch tricky on the move.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not given the price and packaging.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The chews are a good form of nutrition to hit the niche between energy bar and energy gel. They taste good and deliver a nice, fast form of energy, but they're not all that easy to get to on the move, given that they are packed in a bag.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: Under 5 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