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Hey everyone, and welcome to the blog for another keto product review! Each week, I try one product that’s popular or trendy within the online #ketocommunity and share my thoughts and recommendations regarding it. This week is a little different than usual. These bars were not provided by the company in exchange for a review; I paid my own money for these (albeit with a discount from one of my fav IG accounts) because I just had to know if these were good. I got them at a great price, too, so I figured if I didn’t like them, it would be a minimal loss. As usual, I never use talking points to describe these products to you. These are my honest, 100% unfiltered opinions.
I have so many thoughts about these bars, and I can’t wait to share them with you. I initially saw these and thought they looked really interesting. Several of my fav IGers started talking about them throughout the beginning of the year and many of them gave rave reviews. I just had to know… are Built Bars keto friendly? It’s the question of the hour over here at the RKF product review blog, and it’s about time we dive in and figure it out.
Built Bars as a company
Their website doesn’t have an “about” page, so I’m struggling to understand exactly who is behind the company here. I really wish they would publish this info, as I feel so much more connected to companies when I can see who I’m supporting. Sad face. Let’s move on.
About the ingredients
From their website:
There are currently many nutrition and protein bars available to the consumer. However, to paraphrase a statement made to me by a US Olympic athlete, they all taste about the same, like nut flavored cardboard. He confessed that, regardless of this, he continued to eat such bars. A primary objective in designing Built Bar was to make a bar that was high in protein, low in carbohydrates, had clean ingredients and would actually taste good.
They go on to state their main ingredients on this page and why they use them:
- Whey protein isolate
- Maltodextrin (Fibersol, AKA soluble corn fiber)
- Natural flavoring and no coloring
- No artificial preservatives
I really appreciate their explanation of use on these ingredients. They admit that their use of chocolate in the bars does add a tiny amount of sugar, but they think it’s the best option to help their customers appreciate the after taste of the bar. Which I guess makes sense, as I’ve had some pretty crappy tasting bars which left chemical aftertastes. So I appreciate that attention to detail on the customer experience.
They also note that their bars qualify for the following special dietary needs:
- Gluten Free
- NO Artificial Flavoring or Coloring
- NO Artificial Preservatives
- NO GMO
- NO Wax
- NO Junk
All Built Bars are 110 calories, 4g fat, 5g net carbs, 5g fiber, 15g protein (based on a graphic on their website). I won’t go into detail on the flavor comparison to other bars here, but just know that I don’t really agree with the flavor comparison rating.
Let’s get into these flavors, though.
Built Bars product description
Built Bars touts a big list of flavor varieties, which, from what I understand, is a result of their differently-flavored protein isolates filling the bars. The chocolate coating on them is the same across the board. I ordered a sampler box, which came with 10 different bars. I’ll break down my thoughts by flavor below. But before we get into these flavor profiles, here’s the thing about these… you have to put them in the fridge for the texture to improve. Room temp, the filling is all like goop. Every single one of them. The protein will stick to your teeth if you do not refrigerate them. I promise, if you put them in the fridge, it will improve their consistency just a little.
Built Bars nutrition information
Peanut Butter: This flavor was really good and I actually liked the testure and taste a lot. I would consider purchasing these in the future if I found it in-store. Definitely a favorite of the box.
Coconut Almond: This one was my other favorite. Tastes similar to a Mounds bar, but noticeably less sweet. Only a little protein texture. I’d probably buy this one, too.
Peanut Butter Brownie: This one was just ok… very similar to Peanut Butter, but without the same kind of texture that I loved. The chocolate was a little bitter on this one.
Banana Nut Bread: Super fake banana flavor here but the texture was ok.
Toffee Almond: NOT a fan of this one. Don’t know how to improve it except to maybe add almond butter instead of whatever almond flavor they’re using. Texture was sticky and the aftertaste wasn’t great.
Banana: Again, fake banana flavor. Like laffy taffy in chocolate, but the texture on this one was not it. Very much a “protein goo” texture.
Mint Brownie: I feel neutral about this one. I liked the flavor but the texture could be improved.
Salted Caramel Chocolate: Absolutely did not like this one. The flavor was very bitter and the coating didn’t do much to help the taste. In fact, the coating didn’t even cover the whole bar. Not sure why the coating is so inconsistent by flavor. I didn’t taste caramel at all, so that flavor absolutely needs improvement. Also, I think some sea salt on top of the bar in flakes would help the flavor a little, rather than mixing into the actual bar. I even got a second opinion on this one, and we both agreed this one would go in the garbage.
Double Chocolate Mousse: This one was almost a favorite, but not quite. Something about it left a weird taste in my mouth. Not sure if it was the chocolate protein flavor or the coating. I wouldn’t buy it, but I would eat it if someone offered it to me.
Orange Vanilla: This one is in the same boat as salted caramel. I love chocolate oranges and I love dreamsicles, so I was hoping this would be a winner, but… it was just not good. Super bitter and I didn’t get a great vanilla flavor. Barely any chocolate coating on the bottom. Super sticky texture, even with refrigeration. This one went in the garbage too, unfortunately.
There are some big wins with these:
- Built Bars are very fairly priced and there are some great deals available for them online. I tried them because one of my favorite Instagram accounts shared a sample box promo, which made the box of 10 only $11. That’s almost unheard of for any protein bar. Their regular prices are a little higher than I would prefer to pay, so if you’re looking to try something new, definitely go for the sampler box. A big win here is that all of their products always have free shipping, which is probably why the regular prices are a little steep and reduce with high order quantity. But hey, I’ll always be happy about free shipping.
- Quality of ingredients is pretty good! Definitely better than some other popular “keto” marketed options.
- I really liked the packaging on these and the nutrition info was easy to understand.
There are several areas that could use improvement, from product to production to presence:
- Bars need to be consistently coated with chocolate. Several didn’t have chocolate covering the bottom.
- Salted Caramel Chocolate, Orange Vanilla, and Toffee Almond flavors need some serious work. See comments above for details.
- Website needs accessibility updates, namely on the homepage. Navigation was confusing and there’s no About page there. Please add an About page! Customers want to know about you, too. While product packaging was streamlined and design was clean, I found the website to be very busy. Definitely could benefit from some UX testing and cleanup.
- All the flavors are chocolate coated… will we get any non-chocolate flavors in the future? Maybe white chocolate coated or something? Whole nuts inside the bar for more texture?
RKF Product Score
Only two of these were winners in my book, many of them needed some textural improvement, and two were just not good.
There are available from the Built Bars web shop and some smaller online retailers (check Google>Shopping). I only found one flavor on Amazon. This could be improved by placing all products on Amazon and at big-box retailers/nutrition stores.
While you don’t need a protein bar to be successful, you do need protein. And if you’re in search of a plant-based, dairy free bar, the options are slim. This might be one of your only options for something like that, but even if this was my only option, I’d probably pass.
Really great costs for what you’re getting expecially with a discount. See above for details.
Really great ingredients, but there’s a tiny bit of sugar in there (3g added per bar). Wish it was all erythritol or monk fruit.
Product packaging is great but the website is super busy and not very accessible (read: lots of graphics with images on them, crunched text, confusing site nav).
Bottom line: 5.5/10 Neutral
Want to try for yourself?
I could only find the coconut flavor on Amazon, which is convenient, since they’re one of the only flavors I would recommend: https://amzn.to/2yy65PA
Here’s another link to their web shop if you want to check it our for yourself: https://builtbar.com/collections/amazing-flavors
Have you tried these? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!
Until next time,