We were lucky enough to bump into Max Dunmore of Max’s Protein Bar a few months back at the 220 National Triathlon Show in London, where he was exhibiting and attending his first big trade expo.
I can’t deny the fact that initially it was simply the free samples that drew me onto Max’s stand (snack breaks at a busy expo are few and far between!) but having tried the Dark Chocolate and Cranberry flavour I was compelled to hang around and learn more as I was really impressed with the taste, especially given that it was 100% natural in composition (containing only 9 ingredients - PH contains only 8 by comparison).
Off the back of the initial tasting I got chatting to Max about his background, products and learned that he had only very recently launched the business.
Max told me that the inspiration behind the bars was that as a health conscious and sporty person he was put off eating most of the current protein bars on the market due to the high number of additives and chemical ingredients they contain. To find a solution he experimented with his brother in his kitchen at home, making test bars and selling these at a local market stall when they had got the recipe right.
Dave Blow got hungry during the photo shoot.
The early handmade products sold really well at the market and so the journey began to scale up production and launch Max's Protein Bars to the wider world. As someone who had some similar frustrations with the entrenched sports drink industry not making a product that I really wanted myself, I felt a level of understanding for what drove him to start the business.
The bars are made in the UK and 2 out of the 3 flavours currently available (Dark Chocolate Cranberry and Apple Oat Cinnamon) are 100% natural in composition, whilst the White Chocolate Raspberry contains just a couple of man-made ingredients in the chocolate. All the variants use a healthy set of core ingredients such as whey protein from grass-fed cows, coconut oils rather than palm or vegetable oils and are sweetened with honey and dates and flavoured with real fruit juices and powdered fruits.
At 17 grams (per 60 gram bar), they offer a comparable amount of protein to many similar products on the market - but without the long list of additives that are so often included as well. This does reduce the shelf life somewhat, but they still keep for a few months and I think most of us would absolutely rather deal with that than take in any more artificial preservatives than we have to.
Due mainly to using honey, dates and other natural sugar sources, the carbohydrate content is reasonably significant at around 23 gram per bar, but if you’re using these as a convenient pre or post training snack this is actually a big benefit (unless you’re on a low carb diet of course), contributing to the high energy requirement that comes with doing a decent amount of exercise.
This is a common sight around PH HQ...
In terms of the 3 flavours it was fairly universally agreed upon in the Precision Hydration office that the Dark Chocolate and Cranberry and White Chocolate and Raspberry versions came out ahead of the Apple Oat and Cinnamon. That said, all of them taste a hell of a lot better than 99% of the rest of the protein bars we’ve ever tried and suffice to say the initial stash we had in the cupboard didn’t last more than about 48 hours, so the shelf life issue was definitely not a big issue!
All in all it’s fair to say that we’re fast becoming huge fans of Max's Protein Bars themselves, as well as the entrepreneur behind them (we always stop by his stand when we're at the same expos to grab a few samples, sorry Max!) and strongly recommend you check them out at http://maxbars.co.uk/.