Posted by Cass Gilbert
Energy bars are all well and good. The best are tasty and loaded with balanced, slow-release energy, and of course, they’re very convenient. But I can’t help but to feel guilty everytime I unwrap one and ultimately, throw the single-use packaging in the trash/landfill. So I was especially thrilled to see the UK’s Outdoor Provisions take on the challenges of creating healthy energy bars in compostable packaging.
Launched this week, there are currently two flavours to choose from, each inspired by a National Park: Choc Kendal Mint Cake (with sweet peppermint with crunchy, bitter cocoa nibs) for the Lakes NP and Cherry Bakewell (sour cherry merged with sweet mellow almond) for the Peak District NP. More flavours are in the works… Bara Brith will be representing Snowdonia NP and Parkin will flying the flag for the Yorkshire Dales NP. They’re due out later this year.
The bars themselves are vegan-friendly, there are no refined sugars, and they’re made in the UK. Says co-founder Christian Smith: “We started Outdoor Provisions because we believed we could make a better kind of energy bar. With stand out flavours, that were easy to digest and used packaging that didn’t cost the earth.” They weigh 45g each and have between 162 and 176 KCals each; you can check out all the details on the website.
As for the founders, Christian has 15 years in supply chain and product development in food companies, before finally clicking that Blue Chip life wasn’t for him. He’s a dad to be. Luke Douglas is a designer/art director/creative mostly working for outdoors focused brands. He’s a dad of one. And if you’re questions their bikepacking credentials, rest assured that they have them too: Luke and Christian concocted the recently launched Second City Divide, which will shortly be appearing on this site.
Here are the details on all the packaging, including the cardboard they’re shipped in:
“All our packaging is made entirely from compostable materials or is 100% recyclable.
Our wrappers are made entirely from compostable material. Technically this cannot go in the recycling stream. You should put it in on your home compost heap where it will break down completely or look for a suitable composting facility.
Inside is an ultra-thin layer of aluminium that breaks down and has no impact on the soil, it accounts for less than 0.01% of the wrapper and though it slows the composting process down slightly it does not impact it in any other way. The rest of the wrapper is made from renewable wood pulp.
All our cardboard, tape and labels are recyclable, put them in your card/paper recycling bin or the equivalent at a recycling site.”
I had the opportunity to try both on a recent zero-plastic bikepacking trip – of the Lakes District and the Peak District, coincidentally – and can report that both taste great!
The bars are priced at £1.90 each – at the time of writing, you can find them at Business As Usual in Bristol, Peak District National Park Visitor centres, Alpkit stores, and Coed y Brenin visitor centre. More outlets are planned. You can also directly order a box of 18 for £27, which works out as £1.50, with 30% off your first order, bringing the cost down to about £1 each. For now, bars can only be shipped within the UK.
It’s great to see Outdoor Provisions bring these nutritious and environmentally responsible bars to market. Here at Bikepacking.com, we hope it heralds more changes throughout the adventure food industry.
Images courtesy of Neža Peterca.