If you’re not familiar with the whole raw / paleo bars fad, here’s a quick crash course. They’re snack bars made entirely from natural, unprocessed foods, usually dates, nuts and ‘natural flavouring’, which have been cold pressed together to form a bar. They contain no added sugar – just what naturally occurs in the dates, etc. (which can be quite a lot!) – and are marketed as a healthier alternative to a traditional chocolate bar or snack. The most popular are probably the Nakd bars, with tantalising flavours such as Cocoa Orange, Rhubarb & Custard, Bakewell Tart and Berry Delight, most of which are gluten free. Primal Pantry’s paleo bars are pretty popular, too, and also GF.
I am fully on board with the whole Nakd bar thing, and have one as a mid-morning snack almost every day. They are high on the fructose and undoubtedly sugary, but they’re nutritious, too; you just have to make sure that you’re eating sensibly elsewhere in your diet if you want to eat these bars as well. I don’t really eat traditional biscuits and cakes apart from as a particular treat on a weekend perhaps, so these fill that gap while often making up one of your five a day. I lost two and a half stone while on a diet last year, and I ate either a Nakd or a Primal Pantry bar every single day!
The only problem is that they’re pretty expensive – it’s £2.50–2.75 for a box of four. Which is where these ALDI bars come in.
ALDI have really upped their game recently in terms of their free-from and health-food offerings. As part of their increased range, which now includes gluten-free flour, porridge and more, they’ve also introduced three gluten-free flavours of their own cold-pressed, natural snack bars. These are all marked with the cross-grain symbol. Not only are they bigger than a standard Nakd or Primal Pantry bar (at 40g each – Nakd bars are 35g each, and PP bars are 30g), but they’re also cheaper, at £1.99 for a box of five or 39p for a single bar.
As a real wholefood snack bar addict, I decided to put them to the test…
Brazil Nut & Cherry Paleo Bar
The original Primal Pantry brazil nut & cherry bar is one of my favourites – the cherry gives it a pleasingly sweet, and yet slightly tart, taste – and so I was very curious to try ALDI’s cheaper take on the bar. The verdict? It’s really not bad. In fact, they’ve managed to get it almost exactly like the original Primal Pantry bar in terms of the flavour. It’s a lot smoother in texture, though, and I haven’t come across a single cherry pit as I do on a semi-regular basis in the Primal Pantry version – so it kind of tastes a bit more processed, although not in an unpleasant way.
My boyfriend’s mum is a fellow wholefood bar enthusiast and has also been test-driving these new ALDI versions. She was, for the record, less keen on this one than the original Primal Pantry bar and thought it had a weird aftertaste. I didn’t get that at all, but it is slightly more syrupy than the original, I think.
With 10g more bar, the ALDI version does rack up more of your daily sugars and more calories along with the increased fibre and goodness when compared to the PP bar. You can see the difference in size in the pic below:
The ALDI bar comes in at 205 calories (eep!) while the smaller Primal Pantry bar contains 134 calories.
Cashew Crush Raw Bar
While the Cherry & Brazil Nut flavour was obviously a ‘dupe’ for the Primal Pantry bar, the ALDI Cashew Crush raw bar draws its inspiration from the popular Nakd bar flavour Cashew Cookie. The ALDI bar is incredibly similar in taste, but again a little smoother, perhaps. As it’s not a fruity flavour, it does feel like more like a ‘traditional’ snack and less like a health food, in a very good way. As my boyfriend Greg says, it pretty much does taste like flapjack, and yet it’s made up almost entirely of cashews and dates! I found it pretty delicious and even Greg liked it, despite abhorring most Nakd bar flavours (he’s not keen on dates).
As previously mentioned, the ALDI bar is bigger, at 40g to the Nakd original’s 35g. Again, this means more calories and sugar, etc., per snack, but fewer than the cherry flavour at 158 calories.
Macadamia & Coconut Paleo Bar
While I initially only stuck to the cherry and cashew flavours, I liked them enough that I picked up the third and final gluten-free flavour on my next ALDI visit – the Macadamia & Coconut bar. This seems intended to be an imitation of the Primal Pantry bar of the same flavour, but it wasn’t as close a match to the original for me as the other two. It tasted very similar to the ALDI Cashew Crush flavour described above, in that it was very flapjack-y, but it had a slight hint of coconut in both texture and flavour – and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
(And yes… those are nibble marks in the photo… I forgot I was meant to be reviewing it!)
Nevertheless, I prefer it to the original Primal Pantry bar, which has never been one of my favourite flavours (it’s a bit bland), but ALDI’s Cashew Crush flavour is much nicer than both, I think. The ALDI Macadamia & Coconut is also super high on the calories etc. once again – this one comes in at 211 calories a bar! It might be made from whole foods and relatively wholesome, but that’s still almost two KitKats.
ALDI’s raw paleo bars: the verdict
I very much like the Cherry & Brazil Nut and Cashew Crush flavours, and they offer a very passable, cheaper alternative to the originals that I will certainly pick up from time to time. I’m most tempted to add the Cashew Crush flavour into my mid-morning snack rotation – you can’t say no to a less sinful version of flapjack! ^^ It would be good to see them introduce some more flavours, too.
Nevertheless, you also have to bear in mind that the bigger portion sizes do equal more calories, especially in relation to the Macadamia & Coconut and Cherry & Brazil Nut flavours. Overall, I’d be inclined to save these bars for days when I need something more substantial on the go, or as a bit of a treat.
Have you tried these yet? Did you find that they stacked up to the original?