Trader Joes 40-30-30 Bar

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Trader Joe's 40-30-30 Bar: Like Balance Bars, but Better!

Jun 23, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:40-30-30 balance, consistently good flavor, inexpensive, almost like a candy bar

Cons:Sold Exclusively at Trader Joes

Introduction
This is part of my ongoing analysis of the protein/energy bars out on the market. As part of my attempt to maintain my “girlish figure” <GRIN> I workout 3-5 times a week, and try to eat in a relatively healthy manner. Nonetheless, I have what could be described as a “healthy appetite” – especially when I’ve been exercising. I also can’t eat a big meal before exercising, so I often have a protein bar in the morning, or as a mid-afternoon snack.

Over the last few years I think I have tried almost every protein bar on the market. There are some relatively recent additions that have taken basic energy bars to a new level. Some, like the Promax bar, are simply a basic energy bar, with a little upscale presentation. Others like the Clif Luna bar and Balance Outdoor bar have integrated unique flavors, nuts, grains, etc. to appeal to a broader market. Finally there are a series of bars that have come out relatively recently that tap into this market, by offering healthy snacks or nutritional supplements in a bar, like the Jenny Craig bar and the Think bar.

In this series, I will attempt to look at each “line” separately. Please forgive the redundancy in the introductions, everything beyond this point is original!

History:
Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s (www.traderjoes.com), the 40-30-30 bar is a relatively new and great-tasting entrant into the protein bar competition. Trader Joe’s website tells us that they sell 10% of the Protein Bars sold in the United States! Unfortunately they do not (yet) do mail order, so you have to use the webpage to find a TJ near you. I have found their protein bar prices to be far below those of other retailers, and the 40-30-30 bar is a steal at only 89 cents.

Details:
The 40-30-30 bar is designed to meet the nutritional balance recommended, with 200 calories each and only 50-60 calories from fat. These also taste better than many of the competing bars, with flavors like chocolate raspberry, almond butter crunch and chocolate banana. They are a nice mid-afternoon snack, filling that need for a sweet snack without high calories or fat.

Each 40-30-30 bar contains 23 vitamins and minerals, and contains both a protein blend and toasted soy pieces (which taste amazingly like almonds). Clearly these are a fearsome competitor to the Balance Bars (labeled with 40-30-30 on their packaging!) and other “sweeter” bars like the Jenny Craig bar as well. I personally think these are a far better bar (more consistent and far better tasting) than their Balance Bar counterparts!


Bar by Bar Analysis

40-30-30: Peanut Butter Crunch Flavor
Tagline:
A Nutritional Food Bar
Appearance: Looks like a chocolate bar, with the rippled chocolate coating and a peanut colored inside.
Taste: Hey, not bad. This has a nice peanutty taste, a little salty, but a strong enough flavor to cover the very mild chalky undertone. The chocolate has almost no flavor, but the peanut is nice and this is a good tasting bar, overall.
Texture: The outside is smooth (the chocolate coating) and the inside is mostly chewy, like a cookie. However, there are a lot of little peanut chunks (or maybe these are the “soy pieces”?) in there – far more than in many of the other “solid” bars. They add a little crunch to every bite, which is nice.
Overall Satisfaction: I’m pretty impressed with this overall, although I would put it more in the category with the Jenny Craig bars (nutritional candy bar substitute) than with the grainy protein bars. On the other hand, with fourteen grams of protein and only 200 calories, maybe I’m just having trouble reconciling this with those other chalky-tasting bars! This is certainly a cost-effective and better tasting alternative, I’d definitely buy this again!
Cost: .89

Nutritional Info:
Package say: Trader Joe’s.
Serving: 1 bar (1.76 oz)
Calories: 200
Calories from fat: 50
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: <5 mg
Sodium: 220 mg
Potassium: 90 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 14 g
Other info: Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s.
Overall Rating: 4 stars


40-30-30: Chocolate Banana Flavor
Tagline:
A Nutritional Food Bar
Appearance: Looks like a chocolate bar, with the rippled chocolate coating and a dark tannish-brown colored inside, the consistency of a brownie.
Taste: Well, I was a little worried about this one, to be honest. A banana bar? The first scent I got when I opened the package was a fairly strong banana smell. The taste is almost all bananas; however, there is a faint chocolate taste that rounds it out nicely. It’s pretty strong, a little like banana bread flavor. I don’t taste the chalky flavor at all in this bar.
Texture: The outside is smooth (the chocolate coating) and the inside (the banana part) is mostly chewy, like a cookie. There are little soy pieces (I guess) that actually taste like almonds, and add a little crunch to occasional bites. This bar has a little more texture to the chewy part, that I believe is a really finely ground coconut. Almost no “grit” at all.
Overall Satisfaction: I am surprisingly pleased with this bar. I have to admit I was ready to toss it out, if I didn’t care for it – but I actually like it! The banana flavor is nice, strong enough to taste and blends well with the coconut, chocolate and the tiny soy pieces (that taste like almonds). It’s like eating a little slice of banana bread, and that’s a favorite of mine. I would buy this one again.
Cost: .89

Nutritional Info:
Package say: Trader Joe’s
Serving: 1 bar (1.76 oz)
Calories: 200
Calories from fat: 50
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: <5 mg
Sodium: 190 mg
Potassium: 125 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 14 g
Other info: Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s.
Overall Rating: 4 stars



40-30-30: Almond Butter Crunch Flavor
Tagline:
A Nutritional Food Bar
Appearance: This is a peanut butter colored bar, with a taffy-like appearance. I can see medium sized flecks and bits of nuts in there, as well.
Taste: This has a good almond taste, and is pretty rich. It’s definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but overwhelmingly so. A very nice blend of flavors. The aftertaste has no chalk to it at all, just the sweet rich almond flavor.
Texture: This has a sticky feel to it, but the pasty part (the “body” of the bar) is pretty chewy. There are lots of little bits of almond, some of which are probably toasted soy pieces but they blend in with the almonds well. It has very little gritty texture to it, just a peanut butter consistency.
Overall Satisfaction: This is really good, and a great snack. It’s a little too rich for an early morning bar, and I’m glad I didn’t try this one as an a.m. snack before heading to the gym. As an afternoon snack, though, this is terrific and easily replaces a candy bar. I like the almond flavor, the bar is very rich and sweet and has a nice texture. I will buy this one again.
Cost: .89

Nutritional Info:
Package say: Trader Joe’s.
Serving: 1 bar (1.76 oz)
Calories: 200
Calories from fat: 60
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 250 mg
Potassium: 220 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 14 g
Other info: Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s.
Overall Rating: 4 stars



40-30-30: Chocolate Raspberry Flavor
Tagline:
A Nutritional Food Bar
Appearance: This has a chocolate rippled coating on the outside, and a chocolate inside with a brownie-like appearance.
Taste: This has a nice taste, overall. You can taste the chocolate, but it’s pretty mild. The raspberry adds a nice tone to it, with a definite berry taste coming through. Not much chalk in the taste at all. A very sweet tasting bar.
Texture: This is mostly pretty smooth, however, there are a number of little bits that I am guessing are the toasted soy pieces. I have to admit, at first I thought they were raspberry seeds. There is also a tiny bit of a gritty feel to the chocolate on this one, not bad but it’s there.
Overall Satisfaction: I like this, for the most part. It does remind me more of a candy bar than a protein bar (which is a good thing!). I wish it weren’t quite as gritty, and the soy pieces were either large enough to be more like almond chunks or blended so finely you didn’t hit them, somehow they are just the wrong size in this bar. In any case, it’s a good bar overall, I really do like the taste and the blend of chocolate and raspberry. I would buy this again.
Cost: .89

Nutritional Info:
Package say: Trader Joe’s.
Serving: 1 bar (1.76 oz)
Calories: 200
Calories from fat: 50
Total Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: <5 mg
Sodium: 150 mg
Potassium: 160 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 14 g
Other info: Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s.
Overall Rating: 4 stars


Summary:
As a low priced entrant into the nutrition bar market, the 40-30-30 bars do something truly unique. They combine a good tasting bar with a budget price, and do all of this without any major advertising or glossy promotions. And yet, in the last two times I shopped at Trader Joe’s (two different stores), I watched person after person walk over to the energy bar area, and drop a handful of 40-30-30 bars into their carts.

Clearly these are a well-kept secret, one that regular patrons have discovered but the outside world has not. And unlike most of the other nutrition bars I've tried, these flavors are consistently good. I will definitely be stocking up on these for afternoon snacks and keeping a few in my briefcase for those days when I’m stuck in a meeting (or airport… or in my car) and don’t want to risk fast food, but need a quick pick-me-up.


Recommend this product? Yes

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