Full Product Line Review: Thunderbird Energetica Bars
I recently got my hands on three varieties of the badass, vegan energy bars from Thunderbird Energetica and blogged about them (here). The wonderful people, specifically “Leslie Thunder,” happened to come across my post and offered to send me some more bars (including 3 flavors I had yet to try) and a T-Bird t-shirt. I absolutely love love love free vegan swag, so I was ecstatic. So after trying it all, here it is: the entire line of Thunder Bird Energetica Bars and my thoughts about each one.
THE LINE UP:
Hyper Hawaiian Crunch: Organic Prunes, Organic Buckwheat Groats, Papaya, Organic Rasins, Organic Mango, Pineapple, Hawaiian Black Lava Salt.
Thoughts: I love some time away from dates, I mean they are delicious and caramel-like sweet, but they tend to find their way into each and every fruit and nut bar out there and often dominate the taste. Prunes are the base here and the flavors of papaya, pineapple and mango truly shine. I love the crunch that the buckwheat groats provide and how the black lava salt keeps things grounded without being overwhelmingly sweet.This bar stands alone in the line due to the exclusion of nuts and it’s nice to have something different once in a while. Being nut-free, it makes this bar fat free too, which is awesome! I especially love this bar because I can really taste the papaya which both I & my tummy love.
Cacao Hemp Walnut: Organic Dates, Walnuts, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Cacao, Cacao Nibs, Chia Seeds, Coconut Shreds, Organic Mint, Himalayan Salt.
Thoughts: I expected this to be overwhelmingly chocolatey but after my first bite, I was wrong. With the bitter walnuts, nutty hemp seeds and coconut shreds, the mint and chocolate flavors are extremely subtle, which isn’t a bad thing! I really enjoyed the natural mint taste, not a mint extract that is so overpowering it hides everything else. You can really taste every element of this bar and because of that, I feel it should be named Cacao Hemp Walnut Date Mint Coconut. If they could fit it on the wrapper that is.
Sweet Lemon Rain Dance: Organic Apricots, Organic Cashews, Cashew Butter, Organic Quinoa, Lemon Extract, Himalayan Salt
Thoughts: Being date free, lemon & apricot take the stage here and the cashews and quinoa play only supporting roles, letting the fruit shine. This bar is probably my least favorite of the line, not because it’s terrible. It’s quite good, but like the others, I don’t feel as if it has anything special worth remembering. Its like the elevator music that makes you tap your foot, but you can’t recall how it went an hour later.
Almond Cookie Pow Wow: Organic Apricots, Almonds, Almond Butter, Organic Quinoa, Organic Vanilla, Bolivian Rose Salt.
Thoughts: Similar to the Sweet Lemon Rain Dance, this bar allows the apricots to stand out. They aren’t fighting with any other flavors, but are enhanced by the creaminess of the vanilla and nuttiness of the almonds. This bar is straight forward with no bells or whistles… and I like it.
Cherry Walnut Crunch: Organic Dates, Walnuts, Cherries, Organic Buckwheat Groats, Sweet Potato, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Turmeric, Hawaiian Black Lava Salt.
Thoughts: This bar has it all, tartness from the cherries, earthy walnuts, crunchy buckwheat groats, and classic flavors like cinnamon and sweet potato. I truly love the way these flavors dance together and I can’t get enough.
Cashew Fig Carrot: Organic Dates, Organic Figs, Organic Cashews, Organic Carrots, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Vanilla, Pink Bolivian Rose Salt.
Thoughts: I love figs. LOVE. The addition of carrots and nutmeg are amazing counterparts to the figs in this bar. Almost savory, this bar is a great snack when you aren’t craving sweet. I almost wish that there were more figs, or less dates, but no complaints here. One bite and I am reminded of fall, my favorite season.
In my first post, I discussed some discomfort with the slightly higher pricing. After discussing the products/company with Thunderbird’s marketing rep Leslie and doing some research, I started to see things in a different light.
Because Thunderbird Energetica is an independent company (Larabar was acquired by general mills in 2008) they don’t use machines for mass production, but instead choose to have their bars made by hand. These hands are connected to people, and people need to get paid for working so they can live.
Also, Thunderbird choses to use higher quality, organic ingredients. I discovered that in 2012, General Mills/Larabar has contributed $520,000 in an effort to defeat proposition 37, or the “GMO labeling” initiative. Why the bloody hell would a self-proclaimed “healthy energy bar company” support the destruction of GMO labeling? It makes me question their practices and alterer motives. What pisses me off even more is that they are using the profits that I helped contribute to, to destroy an initiative that I support.
Lastly, there is the compostable wrapper. Larabar offers a mail-back recycling program for their wrappers, but I don’t see how using envelops & stamps to mail recyclables is an efficient way to reduce waste and energy. Thunderbird Energetica’s wrapper is fully compostable and 100% biodegradable. True story. They are the first company ever to choose this route of product packaging. The option of using this wrapper shortens the shelf life of the bar, so they have to be made in smaller batches, more often. Thunderbird still choses to support their morals over the ease of mass production and increase of profit. How can you not admire that?
So when you think of it, why not pay more to support a greater good? Use your dollars as ballots and vote for the companies whose practices align with your values.
Thunderbird Energetica, I love you. Thank you for giving me a new pre-workout option & mid-day snack. Your bars are wonderful, simple, and contain untraditional ingredients that set you apart from the rest. Thank you for not adding sugars, oil, agave, or brown rice syrups to attract the masses. Thank you for using high quality ingredients and caring about the environment, health, and overall well being. I hope to see you grow without loosing yourself and will continue to support your company if your hearts stay in the right place. If I were signing your yearbook, I would close with “never change.” Thank you again, and of course, thanks for sending me the goodies!
I’m sorry Larabar. I think we should start seeing other people. I know, I know. We have had some good times, but I just need more fulfillment in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not me… it’s you.
(Photo Credit: thunderbrdenergetica.com)