Vega One Bar Review
May 17, 2013

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Recently, my friends at Vega asked if I might be interested in sampling and reviewing their Vega One bar–a new extension of the Vega One line, which already includes Vega One shake. I said of course! The Vega vibrancy bars and the Vega Sport protein bars have gotten me through many a long day and night of post-bacc life, and I’m always excited to see what new foods the company is creating.

I was gifted with all three Vega One flavors: chocolate cherry, double chocolate, and chocolate almond. Lucky me!

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Plus, some of Vega’s signature antioxidant, EFA rich oil blend (which I’m already a big fan of), and some of their maca chocolate, which I’ve been meaning to try!

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Vega One is designed to be adequate either as a meal replacement or as a meal replacement component. I can’t really do snack bars as meals, but I definitely use them to tide me over between meals, and I can use them to replace breakfast or lunch if I enjoy them along with some fruit, some veggies, or whatever else is easy to transport. Like the Vega One shake, the Vega One bar boasts a wide range of nutrition, including:

  • 15 grams of complete protein
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • 1.5 grams of Omega-3
  • 25 vitamins and minerals
  • a full serving of greens
  • 1 billion dairy-free probiotics per bar

That’s a lot of nutritional bang for your buck–far more than a standard snack bar. The bars are also gluten free and soy free.

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Checkout the chia seeds! And did I mention they’re dipped in chocolate? Because they are.

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Delicious.

These bars taste like an indulgent treat, and yet they’re full of nutrition. Sweetness comes in the form of dates and sorghum syrup (14 grams of sugar per bar–not too shabby in the world of snack bars), and I love the balance of healthy fats from sacha inchi seed/oil and protein from brown rice and peas. Such healthy, plant-based food sources of nutrients! Here are the nutrition facts and ingredient panel of the chocolate cherry–pretty indicative of how all three flavors stack up:

VegaOne_Bar_Box_ChocCherry_CDN_V6-I1 VegaOne_Bar_Box_ChocCherry_CDN_V6-P1

In one recent product review, a reader pointed out cost, and I replied that I’d make a point of mentioning cost in all future reviews. I do receive complimentary food as a blogger, but I’m also a full time (and soon-to-be perpetual) student with loans, so I’m totally committed to addressing cost along with taste and nutrition. A single bar is $3.39, a box of 12 just over $40.62. Of course, these bars provide a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, so, depending on your nutrient needs, you may be able to use them in place of a multi, which makes the value much greater. Definitely chat with your health care provider about whether the bars are a suitable choice for you as a supplement.

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You can purchase Vega One bars at Whole Foods and health food stores everywhere, as well as online at the Vega eStore. Check them out today! My favorite flavor is the chocolate almond, but the chocolate cherry–both sweet and tart–was a runner up.

And, if snack bars aren’t in your budget, fear not. You can check out my low maintenance, easy to customize vegan granola bars at Food52 instead!

Speaking of Vega–and by extension its creator, Brendan Brazier–I’ll be seeing B, as well as a ton of other vegan friends, this weekend at the Seed. If you happen to be there, say hi!

xo

 

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    51 Comments
  1. Pricing Comparison
    I saw a lot of grumbling in comments about the price of the bars, and Vega’s “elitist” pricing model. I’m a low-medium level fan of some Vega products, don’t work for them, have nothing to do with them.

    Here is why you pay the price for that bar:
    – First comparing Luna, Boulder, and other types of bars to the Vega One is unreaslistic UNLESS you compare the nutritional label side-by-ide
    – WHY do you think the Vega bar can be made to taste good AND have 15g of protein?
    – Protein is more expensive than filler carbs and sugars
    – Check the other bars to see if they have anywhere near the nutrient levels
    – Check the other bars to see if they are dairy, soy, gluten free

    When you run ALL those, you’ll see why the price makes a lot more sense. They make a supreme product, and to maintain that level of taste + nutrition, it comes at a price.

    Is it affordable? Maybe not as a snack.

    But maybe as a significant part of a meal or a meal replacement… what’s your meal cost? If you’re on the road, out of the house, can you eat ANYTHING with that level of nutrition for less than $4?

    You can’t just look at price and say “oh that’s just too expensive”, without looking at CONTEXT for WHY the price is higher (quality), AND how you’ll USE IT (what does it replace).

    When you do that you’ll find the price is rediculously cheap for the convenience.

    I use the bars:
    – Early morning meetings, make a bullet proof coffee or a green tea + grab a vega bar on the way out the door
    – have one in the car and in my bag when i’m stuck in traffic, late for appointments, can’t find anything close and healthy to eat for lunch while out
    – good travel companions in car and plane

    CONTEXT folks. Knee-jerk reactions to one variable is irresonspible of us. Put it into context and see if it still makes sense.

  2. The information and the aspect were just wonderful. I think that your viewpoint is deep, it’s just well thought out and truly incredible to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts so well. Good job!

  3. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

  4. Just got a whole box of Vega bars at Home Goods for $20. Glad I was able to try them out at a great cost. Will be going back for more to stock up

  5. Vega is NOT organic. If you don’t see a certified organic label it is not organic. Interesting that they can spend millions on marketing and none on QA (three product recalls this year) or on providing organic products. Where on the bars do you see a non GMO project verified label….it isn’t there.

  6. I’m a little disappointed. This isn’t actually a review, it’s a product profile with some additional notes about the author’s life There’s nothing I can learn here that I couldn’t learn by going to the supermarket and looking at the bar. What’s the flavor on these bars like? How’s the texture? I suppose being sent bars by sponsors does make a genuine review tricky, but this feels like thinly veiled advertising with no additional insight or perspective. Disappointing.

    • Liz,

      I think you make a lot of good points here, and you’ve given me good feedback to mull over for my next review. Totally fair that there wasn’t enough about taste and texture — the stuff that one can only learn through experiencing the product. I appreciate your well reasoned criticism, and will keep it in mind!

      G

  7. my husband and I LOVE Vega products. As a competitive runner he swears by the omega oil blend and the recovery accelerator. He uses the oil with pesto as a salad dressing, works like a charm! We just got a bunch of swag from them, so we’re looking forward to trying new products we haven’t tried yet 🙂

  8. Ok thank you for the feed back, I still do not see organic anywhere but I will take your word for it! I recieved a bunch of free bars and shakes from a local health food store that was throwing a gluten free tasting event. Health is wealth!

  9. Anonymous – the bars are organic. Part of the definition of organic is that all ingredients are certified non-GMO.

    I’ve bought these when they’re on sale and I can couple that with my 20% employee discount at Whole Foods. Otherwise, no go — except maybe in a pinch, or I’m being very defiantly bad about staying on budget. I’m not a student, it’s even worse – artist. Ha, ha… I wish there was a visible end to having no money but maybe this is my life. Whatever. I still buy about half organic, and mostly fruit/veg. I work produce so I get some free fruit thru sampling. Food is the only place I spend real money. Top priority besides art materials/studio time. It’s worth it. I’ll never subsist on ramen, don’t care how little money I have. Rather carrot sticks than that.

  10. I don’t see organic anywhere on the bar or the shakes and it also contains canola oil which is usually GMO unless stated otherwise

  11. I just received some for free and am on the verge of eating it but all that I can think to myself is, is this product non-GMO and I can’t seem to figure it out and I feel like I am the only one who cares because I haven’t seen anyone else ask. Does anyone know? Or care?

    • I strongly suspect it’s non-GMO, if only because it contains VERY few GMO-prone ingredients. Also, it’s my understanding that organic foods are, ipso facto, not GMO (though I’m not 100% sure).

  12. My connection timed out for some reason so if this is a double post, please delete it.

    These bars are quite delicious, but a bit on the pricey side! I’ve seen them for around $2.50/bar at Whole Foods near me, which isn’t too bad, but $40/box is a little much for me.

  13. I paid $2.19 for a vega bar at Whole Foods in Atlanta today. That is still above what I would normally like to pay considering my kids go thru energy bars (mainly boulder, luna and lara) like they are going out of style..but I look forward to trying it after I am finished this raw cleanse week. You do a great job Gena at balancing it all, keep it up girl!

  14. So glad to hear they made the bars without soy as I’ve found that’s quite the challenge. Agree with the others – pricey but will certainly give them one try at least. Much higher protein than the lara bars I’ve bought when I’ve been hunting down bars for grab & go.

  15. I bought some of Vega products already and they’re great. Those bars look amazing, but I don’t know if I want to spend $40/box. for them.

  16. I need to see if these are avail in the UK….they do look good but agree with other comments, am not sure if $4/£3 is a tad pricey!

  17. Not a fan of Vega’s elitist pricing strategy as it harms the stereotyped image of that vegan diets are out of reach of regular folks. Regardless of my personal ability to pay, $4.00 for a bar is crazy in my estimation. I don’t know many professionals in my circle – far removed from grad. school years – who have unlimited food budgets. Gosh…I am envious of how expensively you eat (superfoods galore!)

    • I’m so lucky to have connected with a lot of wonderful, passionate, and interesting food makers through my blog, it’s true, and I’m trying to reach out to more of them lately. I know that my access to unusual ingredients and prepared foods through reviews is a blessing, even considering that it comes in exchange for the work I do as a blogger.

      That said, I don’t have an unlimited budget, and my diet is much more basic now than it was when I was working full time. It’s a lot of fruits and veggies — that’s the bulk of my cost — and then beans and grains, both always from the bulk bin, and nuts and seeds, which I purchase only after some price comparison. I definitely allocate more of my budget to food than do most people, grad students or young professionals, but I make tradeoffs in areas of my budget that some people might be more generous with, too.

      • Stay at home mom with 2 young kids here and husband active duty army and recent undergrad graduate, and I am with Gena in that our family food budget is a little higher for certain things- hemp, chia seeds, some protein powders, coconut oil, almond flour, coconut butter, ect, but we save a lot of money because we do a lot of beans, grains, and fresh vegetables which is considerably cheaper than many other family friends grocery bill.
        We buy a lot of second clothes and I am not big into buying shoes or bags.

        For us it is well worth it, we live below our means for many things so affording quality and nutritious food is our splurge.

        • Alexandria,

          Your comment about secondhand clothes resonates! I buy everything on Ebay, often as a trade for selling something old. The vast majority — even my sports bras! It’s also a nice way to find homes for things if and when they are outgrown. Thanks for sharing your perspective 🙂

          G

        • I am a mom to four kids, and we buy high quality, mostly vegan food. Lots of organic. I think many people can make tradeoffs to eat healthy food. for us the payoff is our family’s health. We don’t have big vacations, our children don’t have iPads or a big screen TV…. it works for us, and others can do what works for them!
          Gena, for all the unpaid work you do on the blog, you deserve some superfood freebies!

          • I do agree withKaten that my family would not even entertain going to many of the fancy veg restaurants reviewedd,mostly because we feel we make pretty great food in our own and I do not buy Vega, but other less expensive plant based protein powder.

          • I assure you as someone who has been a vegetarian/vegan for over 35 years – and who stays away from processed food – I too prioritize my food budget so that I can purchase top quality whole, nutrient dense, often organic food from which to make my meals.

            That said, processed food bars that are double the cost of most nutrition bars do not make the cut. Gena laments about her poor student budget, and yet I am many (!) years removed from my grad school years and live quite comfortably by most standards, yet still consider value, especially when it comes to a packaged/processed/convenience food item that can be purchased at half the price (well, except for the miracle blend of nutrients supposedly added to Vega products.)

            My comment relates to the overall contradiction in Gena’s message: Veganism is within reach of everyone. Yet she constantly showcases uber expensive NYC dining establishments and overpriced raw/super foods manufactured by her friends and sponsors (I’m not referring to basic hemp, chia or flax seeds fundamental to a well-stocked vegan kitchen) and refers to her strict, no frills student budget – as if the rest of us who are far along in our careers are more inclined to splurge on such wasteful indulgences. In my opinion, this is an out-of-touch assumption.

  18. I do love the Vega line, and recently got my hands on a maca chocolate bar to try. Yum! But I do only get to enjoy them as a rare treat when I have some extra cash in my pocket.

  19. I can testify that these are delicious,but I think they’re actually $4 a piece here so I have only bought a few in desperate “no time to eat must have protein now” situations.
    Any ideas on how to make a higher protein homemade bar, Gena?

    • Well, this is a good project for me to ponder! I make bars all the time (either oat + nuts or just dates + nuts), but let me see if i can’t come up with a good homemade protein bar option, Ali 🙂

  20. Love the Vega bars! So good & I don’t have to feel bad about eating them 🙂

    Great post-work out treat!

  21. Hurray!!! A vega product without stevia!!! I know I’m not alone in not liking stevia’s weird aftertaste, especially in Vega products. Many people just tolerate it because the rest of the product is healthy. Plus after such a huge investment you feel obligated to finish it!

    Thank you for this review, I would have skipped these for fear they would taste like the protein drinks, now I am excited to try them 🙂

    • I hate stevia as well, only use vegas preworkout because its the only product without stevia, they need to stop using or come out with 2 versions, would use all their products if they didnt use stevia

    • hate stevia? you should hate any sugars since its spiking your insulin level thus creating inflammation in the body.

  22. I love Vega with all my heart, and buy most of their products. The bars taste amazing…but I just can’t afford to buy them at $40/box.

  23. Those are some seriously impressive nutritional stats for a bar. Sometimes it’s hard to find vegan bars with adequate protein. Actually, I find that most vegan bars aren’t even “protein” bars at all. They’re just bars. Delicious, but not as power-packing. I’m going to keep my eyes out for these! I practically live at Whole Foods, so that shouldn’t be hard.

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