Last updated: 01-Nov-18
By James Eacott
Veloforte is a young sports’ nutrition company founded in 2016. Their name likely gives it away, but their original mission was to provide cyclists with the best natural energy bars on the market.
I was keen to try Veloforte because there’s clearly a close crossover between the demands on cyclists and ultra runners, and certainly the energy requirements for both sports are similar.
Both undertake long endurance training sessions and races where providing the body with a constant, stable energy source is what’ll get us from A to B in the shortest possible time.
Both cyclists and runners are also conscious of what they put into their bodies and increasing numbers of us are shunning the sugar-laden, highly processed “nutrition” which has dominated the sports’ nutrition market for decades.
I was sent a range of their bars as well as a bag of bites, so I was ready to tuck in. As the race season draws to a close, I’m not doing any super long runs but used these bars through the final weeks of training and during a local 50km trail race.
The recipe for each bar is based on an old Italian formula which used a combination of chopped fruits, nuts and spices which, once they’re mixed, squashed and packed tightly together create an energy packed bar loaded with nutrients.
When I received the bars, I immediately noticed the packaging. To many, this is irrelevant – “It’s what’s on the inside that matters”. For me, I believe the care and attention made to first impressions say a lot about the product itself.
So, I was pleased to see Veloforte have recently updated their packaging to make them look really slick. Though it’s quite a thick, heavy plastic wrapper which I’m not entirely sure it totally necessary.
The bars come in a range of flavours with similar consistency across the board. Each weighs in at 70g, so they’re not as light as your run-of-the-mill gel, but they contain considerably more calories and macro- and micro-nutrients, so you’d need a lot fewer for each run.
The six bars vary minimally when it comes to macronutrient content but vary greatly on flavour. Across the board, you can expect a combination of fruits, spices and nuts to provide a natural, dense bar.
Di Bosco – Red berries, almonds and pistachios
With 47g carbs, Di Bosco punches a big energy hit. It ticks the perfect balance in flavour and isn’t too sweet. No surprise it won the Great Taste Award 2018.
Ciocco – Dates, almonds and cocoa
This tastes more like an indulgent treat than an all-natural energy bar. Packing 45g carbs, this tasty fellow was a joy to take on a long run. Squishy, tasty and a whacking a great source of energy.
Classico – citrus fruits, almonds and honey
I love the crunch of the almonds in the classico. They’re lighter in carbs (36g) than the other bars but were probably the easiest to consume and provide a lovely sweet hit, much like a Christmas cake.
Forza – Apricot, almond and fennel
The only bar to include egg (just the egg whites, which give the bar its 12g protein), this is a super choice for ultra running where studies have shown that consuming small amounts of protein mid-run can reduce muscle breakdown.
Pronto – Figs, pistachios and matcha tea
You’ll certainly be running pronto with this caffeine-infused bar. With 80g caffeine (equivalent to about one shot from your preferred coffee retailer), you’ll enjoy a little pick-me-up on your long run. The flavour is a lovely balance of sweet and savoury.
Avanti – Dates, pecans and sea salt
Wonderfully sweet and salty, the Avanti bar was my favourite, particularly during a hot 20km where the natural craving for salt was high. With 46g carbs and 0.4g salt, this is a great option for harder, hotter sessions (like treadmill runs over winter).
All of the bars:
- Contain nuts
- Are either vegetarian or vegan
- Contain no gluten
- Are dairy-free
- Are all-natural
- Are handmade and will last for nine months after purchase.
They also all come with an edible wafer paper which is a genius idea. This stops the bar sticking to the inside of the packet, allowing you to open and consume one-handed.
Along with the bars, Veloforte sent through a bag of bites. This handy little pack contains three full bars (Classico, Di Bosco and Ciocco) chopped into bite-size chunks. This pack costs you no more than if you bought 3 bars separately.
Saves on packaging too. Win win.
There’s also the option to purchase mixed packs and gift cards which make a great Christmas present.
When it comes to flavour, of course it’s totally subjective, but I hand-on-heart enjoyed them all – there’s nothing offensive or overpowering about any of them.
I can see why some might struggle with the texture. It’s not a light, easy bar to wolf down. But it’d be impossible to produce a nutrient-dense, calorie-dense bar in a small package without making it quite solid.
They take a little jaw-work, but I for one love that. For those of you ripping through rapid 50km races on nothing but an energy drink and a gel or two, these won’t be for you!
They are all very easy on the tummy. I had no problems running and eating simultaneously.
When it comes to cost, if you try to compare these bars to gels they’ll seem expensive. But you mustn’t make this comparison, they’re on a totally different level.
Even disregarding the benefit of natural ingredients, you’d need to consume about three gels for every one bar in terms of carbs and calories.
In terms of cost, £6.99 will get you a pack of 3 bars (£2.33 per bar), but I’d encourage you to dive right in an get a pack of 24 for £49.99 which works out at a smidge over £2 per bar. Plus, delivery is free (within the UK).
So, they’re not ‘cheap’, but are they value for money? 100%.
I’m a fan, as you can probably tell. Natural, nutrient dense and flavoursome. What more do you want?!
|Design and packaging||8.5/10|
All images James Eacott.
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