We try a lot of nutrition products at Run247. It’s such a crowded market that new products really have to have something that makes them stand out from the rest. Outdoor Provisions is a new company which has some basic principles at the heart of the business and has developed natural energy bars.
But first, the important question: why another nutrition product? I put this to the founders and here’s what they said:
“So, Outdoor Provisions is Luke and Christian. Both fresh-air-heads, both live in Manchester (I’m from Cumbria, Christian is from Yorkshire), both recently became Dads and both left our jobs this year to start a company together – got to give these things a go, eh? The idea of ‘having a go at making our own energy bars’ was born out of a conversation we kept having when out bikepacking, racing mountain bikes and trail running in Edale, about generally being miffed with what was out there at the moment – often hard to chew, hard to stomach, overly sweet and wrapped in single use plastic.
“Christian’s background in food manufacture gave us a big leg-up in developing a unique base using dried banana, oats and sultanas. This gives the bars the perfect balanced energy release for outdoor pursuits. We didn’t resonate with the shouty ‘performance’ offerings, we wanted something that could be easily digested, with a texture suited to being eaten on the move and all-natural ingredients; dependable, portable and tasty. We spent a lot of early 2019 mixing things in our kitchens, testing, mixing again and eventually taking to factory prototype after a funding round – the point of no return! We were also aware of the technology for using compostable food wrappers being available but were amazed at the slow take up from the rest of the industry. From the beginning, we wanted Outdoor Provisions to be as close to plastic-free as possible.
“Our whole range of flavours celebrates the places we go to be outside, with no double-extra-mega-choc-chip-fudge version in sight. Our identity and ethos are equally inspired by the outdoors and UK-based adventure. We didn’t feel comfortable starting a company that owed so much to, and would rely on, the outdoors without doing something to give back to it. So along with ‘For use Outdoors’ and ‘Provision with a Conscience’, ‘Enable and Protect’ is the third of our guiding signposts; we will use profits to give back to organisations and initiatives that enable and protect the outdoors.”
So what are the products which celebrate their favourite places? They’re inspired by the UK’s National Parks:
- The Bara Birth bar has the flavour of orange and tea and it celebrates Snowdonia
- The Cherry Bakewell bar tastes of almond and cherry and it celebrates the Peak District
- The Chocolate Kendal Mint Cake bar as you would imagine tastes of mint and cocoa and celebrates the Lake District
- The Parkin bar has the flavour of treacle and ginger and celebrates the Yorkshire Dales
All the bars have compostable wrappers and come in 100% recyclable packaging, the ingredients are vegan, natural and have no refined sugars. They are also made in the UK. So on paper they have a lot going for them. But the all-important question is, of course, how do they taste?
The answer is very nice indeed! As they say, they haven’t gone for the super sweet flavours, they’ve deliberately gone for more subtle, classic combinations. The kind of flavours you don’t get sick of on a long run. My favourite was the treacle and ginger Parkin bar. The bars are solid, not crumbly, so they don’t get all mashed up if they’re in your backpack but they’re easy to chew on when you’re on the go.
And equally importantly, I found them quite easy to stomach. The basis (or as they call it the ‘chassis’) of each bar is a mix of sultanas, oats, dried bananas and almonds. The other ingredients to add the flavour to the bars are added on top of that. So there are no sugary syrups or other nasties which can cause stomach issues. I had a bar immediately before doing a hill session – and eating anything before doing something high intensity is usually a bit risky for me – and had no issues. I then had a bar afterwards to refuel.
The bars deliver between 159 and 176 KCal and between 24 and 28g of carbohydrate. You can see the ingredients and nutritional information for each bar on the website. Their aim isn’t to be too ‘performance focused’. They want to deliver something which keeps energy levels sustained, while being ‘dependable, portable and tasty’. In my opinion they’ve certainly delivered on that.
Find out more or order some bars (there’s a gift pack which could make a nice Christmas present) on the website: https://www.outdoorprovisions.co.uk/
Win a box of Outdoor Provisions bars!
You can win a mixed box of 18 Outdoor Provisions bars. All you have to do is go over to their Facebook or Instagram pages and give them a like or follow between now and December 20th. The winner will be contacted as soon as possible after the 20th.