Best For: Fueling during long distance activities like running
Not recommended for pregnant women, children, or people on a sodium-restricted diet.
Chris Randall introduced us to Clif Organic Energy Food at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015.
Historic Range: $1.95-$13.46
I was provided with four flavors of CLIF organic energy food: pizza margherita, banana mango with coconut, banana beet with ginger, and sweet potato with sea salt. All four were reasonably tasty, with some specific preferences outlined below.
I felt the fruit-based ones were better for on-the-go energy, whereas the others were more filling and felt more like a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack than high-carb energy. The packaging makes these easy to carry, eat, and re-seal.
- Tastes good!
- Easy to use
- Not overwhelmed with sugar carbs
- Sweet potato was a little salty
- Can take some adjustment, a little like eating baby food
Each packet of Clif Organic Energy Food is small and fits in the palm of your hand, a small pocket on a hip belt, or in a cargo pocket on a pair of shorts. The fruit packs are slightly shorter and smaller.
To open them requires a number of twists of the top; a nice part of that is you can twist the top back on and reseal it. The top pieces are large, so they are easy to unscrew while hiking or cycling.
The packet format makes them all very easy to eat: just squeeze and gulp, no chewing required. The packets have enough in them to feel relatively substantial, so they are a little more filling than one might initially think from a small package.
The most important factor for me. I'm not going to eat stuff like this unless I like it.
The 'food' packets surprised me. I didn't expect to like these flavors. The pizza margherita really does taste something like a pizza, with tomato sauce and something modestly akin to cheese, and the sweet potato with sea salt tastes kind of like sweet potato, though a little on the salty side.
The big adjustment for me was the consistency. You feel a little bit like you're eating baby food at first. When you're moving and hungry, though, these are great, arguably easier to consume than an energy bar in a wrapper. Of the 'food' options, I preferred the pizza flavor.
The 'fruit' packets were more predictable in the sense that I have had similar products in comparable packaging, like apple sauce, and they taste like what you expect a fruit-flavored energy gel to taste, sweet like fruit. The banana mango with coconut is a stronger taste, whereas the banana beet with ginger is dominated by the banana flavor.
Again, you have to adjust to the consistency, though if you're a fan of GU or other liquid/gel supplements, it won't be much of a change. I preferred the banana beet, but liked both. The banana mango with coconut has some texture to it from tiny coconut pieces.
I would buy and eat the pizza margherita and both fruit flavors again. I would probably steer away from the sweet potato because it had a little more salt than I liked.
The pizza has 160 calories, 17 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of fat.
The sweet potato has 200 calories, 21 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fat.
(Both 'food' packets have plenty of sodium and potassium, key ingredients for a snack like this that help replenish your system.)
The banana mango has 100 calories, 17 grams of carbs, and 2.5 grams of fat (all saturated fat in this one).
The banana beet has 110 calories, virtually no fat, and 23 grams of carbs.
(The 'fruit' packets have a modest amount of sodium and potassium.)
By comparison to a regular CLIF bar, like chocolate chip, the carbs in these are moderate; a Chocolate Chip CLIF bar has 44 grams of carbs.
EASE OF USE/IN THE FIELD
Excellent. I used these for hikes and on a few long bike rides. They fit in the small hip belt pockets on two different backpacks and a small zip container I use on my cyclocross bike.
Grab it, unscrew the top, squeeze, eat. These are more than a single gulp, so on more than one occasion, particularly with the sweet potato and pizza flavors, I screwed the top back on and saved the rest for later.
It is virtually impossible to assess how much energy these provided while I was hiking or cycling in terms of whether I felt a different kind of 'boost' than I do for other energy foods, of course.
Due to personal preference and habit more than anything, I reached for the fruits when I wanted more of a burst of energy and reached for the food packets as more of a filling supplement with some protein.
The food packets were a nice change of pace from the beef or buffalo jerky I sometimes bring on hikes, and much cleaner/less messy to consume. (Note: I have never really liked protein-heavy energy bars, which feel very dense and gummy to me.)
Clif's Organic Energy Food is an interesting alternative to sweet and generally high-carb energy bars, and a nice change of pace from some protein-based snacks and energy bars. Plus, the format makes them very easy to carry and consume. I would like to see CLIF test out more flavors, but these are a pretty good start.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Samples provided by Clif for testing and review)