The last time I ventured to Whole Foods, I discovered a new gluten free, vegan bar: the KUTOA Bar (kew-toa, ko-toa, ku-toah?). I may not know how to pronounce Swahili, but I do know that this bar has good intentions. Not only are these bars constructed from natural, non-GMO ingredients, this bar has a social and public health cause in mind- for every bar you buy, they will feed a child in need.
Whenever you buy one of their full-size bars or kids squares, they will give mironutrient packs, nut packs, KUTOA bars, or healthy sandwiches to children in need in the US, developing countries, and globally.
Whenever I find a new gluten free, vegan bar, I can’t refuse slipping it into my cart; therefore, I couldn’t resist trying this alimentary version of Tom’s Shoes, especially with flavors like Chocolate Banana and Blueberry Almond.
You can read more about their cause and their products on their website, but now let’s get to the part you really want to hear- how does it taste?!
Although I’m reviewing the Chocolate Banana flavor here (which is the flavor I was the most excited about), I tried the Blueberry Almond bar first and loved it. The chocolate flavor in this bar is great, but the banana is a little off to me. It tastes a little too ripe and mushy, almost like a babyhood banana purée. The bar is a little softer and mushier than the Blueberry Almond bar, so there is not as much of a rice crunch crisp present (which I really enjoy, I like a little crisp!). The chocolate has a great taste and melts perfectly in your mouth, but the banana really doesn’t measure up for me. The off-taste (for me) is likely due to the date paste, which is listed above bananas in the ingredients (ironically). I often steer away from bars with ingredients heavy in dates because, although they have great nutritional value and add natural sweetness, I often find bars with dates to be overly saccharine in taste and to have an odd, mushy mouthfeel. That’s totally personal preference, so if you enjoy LaraBars (which are also heavy in dates), you might love the Chocolate Banana, but I think I will stick with the Blueberry Almond KUTOA bars to get that nice, airy crispy crunch! After perusing their website, I discovered they also have a Chocolate Espresso flavor that sounds divine, but my Whole Foods unfortunately doesn’t carry this flavor. (Cough cough for anyone who can find one and wants to send one my way! 😉 )
This bar contains 7g of protein and 3g of fiber, so it has some nutritional worth… until you scan down to the sugar content: 22g of sugar!! Most GF vegan bars you can find are around 12-17g of sugar (which is already high enough), so I was shocked (and preparing for a sugar coma) when I saw that this KUTOA bar contained a full 22g of sugar. Despite the high sugar content, the ingredients are natural and the bar contains lots of chia and flax seeds to pack a 200mg omega-3 punch.
The verdict: The bar wasn’t terrible, but I much prefer the Blueberry Almond flavor. I won’t be purchasing this flavor again, but it hasn’t deterred me from trying their other options, especially if I can get my hands on the Chocolate Espresso flavor! Until then, I guess I will continue to eat my Espresso Chip Bonk Breaker Bar!