Climbing Food Review: Clif ZBars

by Tom Markiewicz on November 19, 2008

Today’s guest post is from Ryan Wanger, a climber who writes at The Reluctant Eater.

Picture 5.pngClif. The name is synonymous with climbing (perhaps it’s the logo?). If you’re like me, then you’ve always enjoyed Clif Bars, but rarely buy them because frankly, you’re a cheapskate. Nutritious? Yep. All natural? Absolutely. Tasty? You betcha! In fact, it’s amazing that anyone can successfully sell any product to a bunch of jobless, dirtbag climbers like ourselves, right? We’d rather just eat the dust of last weeks trail mix!

In recent years, Clif has been on a tear to diversify and expand their product line, releasing 9 new food products since 2004. However, since I’m rather oblivious to that sort of thing, and haven’t spent much time in climbing gyms recently (traditional Clif strongholds), I failed to notice…well…ALL of them. A recent sample of Clif Shot Bloks at an ultimate frisbee tournament piqued my curiosity, inspiring a flurry of research (read: tasting).

Today, we discuss: Clif Kid Organic ZBar.

My first thought? Clif has a line of kids products? Well, they do now, having released a second item, Clif Kid Twisted Fruit, last year.

I eat local, organic, non-processed food almost exclusively, so I’m always a bit skeptical of anything in a package, and generally that means foods with as few ingredients as possible (especially those ingredients that sound like they came from a laboratory: monogluxysodiobenzoate?). However, it’s hard to argue with the ingredients of the Peanut Butter ZBar:

Organic Peanut Butter (Organic Peanuts, Salt), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Peanuts, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Natural Flavors, Organic Chocolate (Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin), Salt, Baking Soda.

Let’s just call it: a bunch of whole food ingredients pressed together.

What do they taste like? Basically ZBars are smaller, less dense (more bread-like) versions of Clif Bars, with a little drizzle of frosting on top. And tasty! Yes, I’m an adult, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying food aimed at children. Right?

My thoughts on the 6 different flavors, listed in order of preference:

  • Peanut Butter – My favorite! I don’t like peanut butter cookies, but love any peanut butter & chocolate combo. This tastes more like the latter.
  • Chocolate Chip – Reminiscent of Quaker Oats Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. Or even the S’more flavor. That’s a good thing!
  • Blueberry – Tastes like a dense, chewy blueberry muffin.
  • Apple Cinnamon – Surprisingly good considering I generally don’t enjoy this flavor.
  • Chocolate Brownie – Still decent, basically a chocolate-chocolate chip taste. Though somehow less chocolaty than the Chocolate Chip?
  • Honey Graham – My least favorite, and the “least strong” in terms of flavoring. It also happens to have the least amount of sugar.

Again, I try to eat local, organic food whenever possible and usually make my own goodies from scratch, but I realize that isn’t always possible. Clif has similar beliefs, expressed right there on the packaging: “In raising our family, we always wish to find organic snacks to nourish our kids as they compete in sports, study or just play with friends. We prefer to make them food from scratch, but life gets busy, so it’s not always possible. That’s why we created Clif Kid Organic ZBar – a baked energy bar made with whole oats..”. You get the picture. They do a great job with consistent, healthy, authentic products.

(Photo missing. Next time I’ll remember to take a picture BEFORE eating!)

Although I was a little saddened that the bars are frosted (just a snaking drizzle across the top), they still serve as a huge step up from most food products aimed at children in terms of healthfulness (no high fructose corn syrup!), organicness, and environmental responsible…ness. The real selling point is that they retail for roughly half the cost of a Clif Bar. So grab one for yourself…er, I mean your kid.

Thanks to Ryan for the guest post. If you enjoyed this, please check out his other posts at The Reluctant Eater, where he writes about eating local, organic food, and promoting a healthier relationship with food. Ryan also has a best of The Reluctant Eater collection.

  • John Little

    Clif products, especially the bars, really seem to be in a class of their own. I wouldn’t want to have to live on them long but there will always be a few bars (and shot bloks) in my pack.

  • Tom Markiewicz

    Agreed. I’ve always found Clif Bars to be the most palatable of the energy bars.

  • Rocky

    Hmmm, of the first 6 ingredients in that list, 4 are basically sugar with fancy names. It’s just a marketing ploy to make parents think they’re giving their kids a health snack when it’s really just a candy bar. “Organic” means nada when it comes to syrup. And the difference between cane syrup or rice syrup versus white sugar is minimal.

  • Ryan Wanger

    Good point Rocky. For reference, a Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar weighing 68 grams has 18 grams of sugar. The Peanut Butter ZBar is 36 grams, with 11 grams of sugar. So if you do the math, the ZBars have roughly 15-20% more sugar.

    I’m no expert on what exactly should be in an energy bar, but certainly we can agree with Tom that, if nothing else, they’re up there in terms of taste.

    I can still vividly remember my first Powerbar…it was Malt-Nut, and I almost threw up shortly thereafter.

    Thinking about this makes me wonder…should we even be making “energy bars” for kids? Don’t they generally have too much energy as it is?

  • Tom Markiewicz

    With regards to energy bars made for kids, I would think if you can shift them away from candy bars to something like this then it would be a better alternative.

  • Pingback: A guest post about Clif Zbars

  • Angry

    The peanut flavors just got recalled as part of the larger peanut butter/salmonella problem brewing. Since they’re sourcing the same crappy peanut butter as everyone else, who even knows where their stuff really comes from anymore. Really disappointing.

  • Pingback: Clif Bar Announces Recall Due to Contaminated Peanut Butter - All Climbing

  • Tony

    wow these things are good, 10 grams of sugar though , still trying to find something that doesnt have a lot of sugar in it but guess this has the fiber to make up for it

  • Tali

    My niece is a sugar fiend, always wants desserts and such. I am always trying to get her to go for fruit but when she can’t be persuaded she’ll eat the Zbar. I feel much better giving her one of these bars in lieu of chocolate or other candy.

    I also like them for a quick snack when a traditional Clif bar is too much:)

  • Nicole

    I love Clif bars and Clif Kid! I eat the Clif bars as a meal replacement and the Clif Kid as a snack. These ARE healthy, and taste great! seriously? 10 grams of sugar is not a lot, so stop complaining everything has sugar in it! I love these and they are great for kids!

  • no fault doctor

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  • strength training

    Saved as a favorite, I love your website!

  • usb heated blanket review

    Have you seen any other kind of publications tied
    to this particular one? My partner and I would like to research a little more about this amazing area of interest!!!!
    :-) I personally love your main postings, but nevertheless I really need even more details regarding clif bars.

  • diy solar power panels

    Hmm….awesome article and contents right here. The expert articles on this web site really
    are informative!!!! :-) Any RSS feed on this
    web site? I had been researching for persistently updated
    posts on clif bars.

  • so how exactly does sixth sense technologies work

    Man……solid website you’ve got right here. A lot of great reviews not to mention similar
    content!!! Do you posses any existing resources in
    respect to clif bars?

  • coque Galaxy S5

    This is a topic that is near to my heart… Take care! Where are your contact details though?

  • joey atlas truth about cellulite review

    my sister and I want to start a blog page together?

  • cool home Gadgets

    Do you need any other content similar to this one???

    My partner and I prefer to investigate more info on this unique area
    of interest!!!! I really really love your current blog posts,
    however I need even more insight on clif bars. Many thanks!!!

  • penny stock

    Can I move a secondary Tumblr blog to a different account?

  • Almased

    I was able to find good information from your articles.

  • venus factor review

    Oh my goodness! a fantastic write-up dude. Thank you Nonetheless I am encountering issue with ur rss . Don?¡¥t know why Struggling to subscribe to it. Is there anyone having equivalent rss difficulty? Anybody who is aware kindly respond. Thnkx

  • hipnoz istanbul

    Your style is really unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

  • penny stock

    My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • penny stock egghead review

    How do I start a website that costs me nothing at all?

  • social bookmarking traffic

    Offer some thing a little more distinctive???

    For instance, opinions or even stories regarding clif bars.
    How do I sign up for your site content?

  • Darleen Melendy

    Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my website thus i got here to “go back the choose”.I’m attempting to to find things to enhance my website!I assume its adequate to use some of your ideas!!

  • Nicholle Maclachlan

    Thank you for any other fantastic post. The place else may just anyone get that type of info in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

  • forza milan

    Whats cheery. Very cool site!! Man .. Exquisite .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and obtain the feeds additionally…I’m glad to find many helpful information right at this juncture in the article. Thankfulness for sharing..

  • Adriana Termeer

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  • Pożyczka na dowód

    It is perfect time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may just I wish to recommend you some fascinating issues or tips. Maybe you can write subsequent articles relating to this article. I desire to learn more things about it!

  • Timmy Banks

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I genuinely thought you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could fix if you weren’t too busy searching for attention.

  • Desbloqueo iCloud

    This really is some wonderful info. I expect additional facts like this was distributed across the internet today.


    A good Occasion

  • luxus karibik immobilien

    Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my internet internet site thus i came to °ßgo back the favor°®.I am attempting to to discover issues to improve my internet site!I suppose its adequate to use a few of your ideas!!

Previous post:

Next post: