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The Gear Junkie Scoop: Clif Granola Bars

Clif crunch
By Stephen Regenold

Clif Bar & Company touts its new CRUNCH granolabars as being created by the "athletes and foodies" in the company'stest kitchen. The bars, which come in four flavors and are baked with constituterssuch as organic oats, barley and rye, are a direct affront at a market longdominated by General Mills and its Nature Valley line of crunchy granola bars.

Like the Nature Valley standbys, CRUNCHbars come two to a pack. They are about the same size and weight, though theClif bars are more crumbly than the General Mills product. Clif's offering ismore flavorful, too.

Indeed, the Clif (www.clifbar.com) granola bars come inflavors like White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Chocolate Chip. The PeanutButter CRUNCH bar is advertised as containing "creamy" peanut butterchips that make for an "irresistibly healthy snack."

For the most part, I have to agree. The CRUNCH bars areflavorful and unique. Nature Valley makes a goodproduct, to be sure. But after years of packing General Mills' Oat's 'N Honeyand Peanut Butter granola bars along on trips, the Clif product offers awelcome new taste.

Nutritionally, the CRUNCH bars have around 4 to 5 gramsof fat per bar and about 90 calories each. The two-packs are suitable for anadult, who can easily consume both bars as a snack, or for splitting up betweentwo kids.

One downfall: The CRUNCH bars are crumble-prone. Ifpacked carelessly, they can turn quickly from granola bars into plain, loosegranola in a bar-shape pouch. On a backpacking trip, you might be pouring theCRUNCH granola from the pouch straight into your mouth after a day or two onthe trail.

The CRUNCH line of bars came to market this summer. Theycost about $4 at grocery stores for a box of five two-bar pouches.

--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor ofwww.gearjunkie.com.



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