20 May 2011

Taste of Penn Part VI: NuGo Nutrition Bars

This is part of the series about the Taste of Penn.

I got/am still pretty sick with a cold/cough/fever/snot flowing out of my nose so I decided to curl up and burn and freeze (oh fevers.) while reading The Da Vinci Code instead of blogging last night. The last time I had read The Da Vinci Code was the night before/up to when I turned 13. It's kind of weird reading it again, because I had missed many facts and I think I misunderstood some of the plot line, too. Or, well, I guess I read it with both more skepticism and an open mind this time (if that makes sense. Skepticism, because "APPLE" was a really obvious answer (although factually incorrect, I think?, because the Bible never mentions an apple. It mentions fruit, yeah, but not apples), and everything is just implausible and bombastic. Open mind, because I guess I know more about religion now and I see each character in a more neutral light now than I did before. I guess the worst part of growing up for me is that I stop believing in fiction, and Dan Brown isn't that cool to me anymore.


My last blog post about the Taste of Penn concerns NuGo Nutrition.
In all honesty, I nearly skipped going to this table, because I figured it'd be something like Zone bars or Balance bars, and I'm not really interested in them. But I had pretty much looked around at all the other tables, so I decided to take a sample from NuGo and ask the cliche question. The representative sounded pretty knowledgeable. "We use REAL dark chocolate. You know where we get our cooca from? The best place from chocolate in the world. Java." (At least, I think that's what he said. I apologise if my memory is a bit off).
And that sparked my curiosity, because nutrition bar companies don't usually boast about the chocolate part of the bar. They usually boast about the protein content or glycemic index.
The representative at the table and I ended up talking a lot. Dude dislikes Zone bars too, when I mentioned them. "You know what's in those things? Chocolatey coating! Not real chocolate!", which is actually kinda true since a lot of chocolate flavoured nutrition bars don't have any real chocolate; it's all chocolate flavouring. A few years ago, the Hershey Kissables were labelled as chocolate candy, and not actual chocolate because there was no actual chocolate (cocoa) present in the candy. Likewise, many companies, to cut costs, don't actually use real chocolate in their chocolate flavoured products; it's just this really cheap, weird-textured waxy sweet stuff that offers no flavour, but visually looks like chocolate (and I didn't copy that from the pamphlet, but it appears that the pamphlet used the same adjectives to describe it. Funny.). And, being visual consumers, we buy into it.
According to the pamphlets, there are 7 subsets of NuGo, each catered to a certain audience. At least the CRISPY CAT brand touts itself as a candy bar as opposed to some healthy granola bar, which Kudos sort of advertises. In looking at the nutrition label of the mint flavoured NuGo Dark, which the representative gave me for free (Whoot!), I think that it's pretty comparable to Clif Bars; 10 g protein, around 200 calories, 5 g fat...
I was pretty happy with the representative's knowledge. I asked him why only some of his bars had the "USDA Organic" label on it, and he said that most of the bars ARE basically organic, but they aren't certified because it costs a lot of money. TRUE.
He then agreed with me that Clif Bars are pretty much the only other company that offers nutrition bars made with "better/more natural" ingredients. They also retail at Penn for similar prices: $1.89 for Clif Bars, and a purported $1.79 for NuGo Bars (they haven't come out at Penn yet). Either way, it's more expensive than buying Clif Bars at Shoprite or Costco, because Penn Dining likes to rip us off.
In all honesty, I prefer Clif Bars over NuGo Bars because they taste better, but that's just a personal preference. The nice side of NuGo compared to Clif is that they aren't ridiculously sweet. Then again, I do have my cold and everything tastes less delicious :( Having a cold and eating food is like sleep-eating (not that I've ever done any sleep-eating, but Chowder has, in one episode): you eat all the food, but you don't get to enjoy it.
One issue I have with one of the pamphlets is: "The vegetable fat in fake chocolate is an unhealthy saturated fat that raises bad cholesterol". Oh my bad, palm oil is apparently high in saturated fat, according to Wikipedia.
At some point, the representative mentioned the whole thing about various companies starting out with good ideas, e.g. the South Beach, Kellogg's - the people who started these diets all had this whole natural, fresh foods diet, but now, the stuff "they", as a company, sell is pretty unhealthy.

Since I might end up working for some food company, I asked the representative about his job. He said that he majored in Management and he gets free NuGo bars. Another business major?! Whyyy!?! As a science major, will I always be in the shadows, 7 degrees away from the free food and outward face of the company? It seems like every food company I check out wants business majors!

I think this is a sign that I should go to med school :(
Dude isn't this pretty?

No comments:

Post a Comment