This time of year it's expected that ice cream shops and fast-food restaurants might add a dash of holiday-inspired ingredients to dessert items to evoke some seasonal spirit and extra sales. But what about energy-food brands?
Two of the biggest players, Clif Bar & Company and GU Energy Labs, unveiled holiday-themed products this month. The Christmasy bars and gels include cranberries, gingerbread flavors, "icing," and spices normally found in a pumpkin pie.
GU's Vanilla Gingerbread and Mint Chocolate energy gels, which I have not yet tried, come out this week. They include similar nutritional stats as the company's regular GU, though with fun holiday packaging and flavoring usually reserved for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve.
I did get to try Clif's holiday treats, including Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bars. They're touted to taste "like home-baked holiday treats" and yet still have the company's "blend of carbohydrates, protein and fiber for sustained energy."
The Clif holiday flavors do taste good. The name of each bar -- Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie -- pretty much describes the essence of each flavor. I like Iced Gingerbread the best.
Like the special GU, the holiday Clif products have a similar price and similar nutritional readouts as regular Clif Bars. The holiday bars are available now through the New Year for $1.39.
A spirit-of-the-season bonus: Clif Bar & Company will donate one percent of its net sales from the seasonal flavors to Winter Wildlands Alliance, an organization that works on behalf of skiers, snowboarders, and nature lovers to address issues that impact winter wilderness.
--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.