BAR-U-EAT Review

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Written by Tim Kalantjakos
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dr jennifer hughes

Dr. Jennifer Hughes, MD
Medical Reviewer

Our Rating: A-

BAR-U-EAT stands out with top quality ingredients, taste, and sustainability, with room for improvement in some customer service and transparency areas. Overall rating: A-.

We determined this rating by evaluating the following factors:

  • Quality
    i
    QualityA
    Squeaky clean organic ingredient lists, in-house manufacturing, and a serious commitment to sustainability earn BAR-U-EAT an A for quality.
A
  • Transparency
    i
    TransparencyB+
    The BAR-U-EAT site makes key insights into product quality and manufacturing easily accessible, but their policies and sourcing information are considerably harder to find.
B+
  • Website Experience
    i
    Website ExperienceA
    The BAR-U-EAT website provides an attractive and well-rounded introduction to these self-described "granola people," their products, and some beginner-friendly educational content.
A
  • Customer Service
    i
    Customer ServiceB
    BAR-U-EAT falls a bit behind with email-only support and a restrictive return policy, but free shipping and a helpful response to our test question recoups some credit.
B
  • Value
    i
    ValueA-
    Though they charge a premium, BAR-U-EAT bars are very hard to beat on ingredient quality, balancing out to an A-.
A-
  • Brand Value
    i
    Brand Value A-
    A strong commitment to sustainability and simply doing bars better than most makes up the bulk of BAR-U-EAT's brand value score.
A-
Our Editorial Policy

Use the code below to get 20% off your order at BAR-U-EAT:

Welcome to our BAR-U-EAT review!

Intent on shaking up the ever-popular, but creatively stagnant world of granola bars, BAR-U-EAT is doing things a bit differently.

Two things stood out to us as we tried some BAR-U-EAT samples at their Natural Products Expo West booth—you can actually see and taste the individual ingredients, and thank goodness, each bite is a chewy morsel versus a cringe-inducing crunch.

But as always, we don’t simply call it a day after a taste test (we’re going with the Original as our favorite, by the way).

In this review, we’ll unveil all the juicy (er, chewy?) details we learned after meeting with one of the BAR-U-EAT founders and conducting our own investigation, leading to an overall rating of A- for BAR-U-EAT.

BAR-U-EAT Original
BAR-U-EAT Original
  • Description

    A chewy combo of organic almonds, cashews, oats, and more with a touch of honey make BAR-U-EAT’s Original bar a tasty take on the classic.

  • Ingredients

    Almonds*, Cashews*, Chia Seeds*, Flax Seeds*, Honey, Medjool Dates*, Thick Rolled Oats*, Pumpkin Seeds*, Salt, Sunflower Seeds*

    *Organic

Pros and Cons

  • Pros
  • Almost all ingredients are organic
  • Zero preservatives or artificial additives
  • Strong sustainability
  • Cons
  • Some transparency issues (see below)
  • Restrictive return policy

History

In our meeting with BAR-U-EAT Co-Founder Jason Friday, we learned that Co-Founder Sam Nelson—whom Jason has known since they were two—was inspired to create BAR-U-EAT after living in Iceland.

Bar U Eat

A cafe near where Sam worked had these chewy and delicious granola bars that clearly made an impression on him, and when he returned stateside to Steamboat Springs, CO, his search for a close alternative was unsuccessful.

“It’s not something like a candy bar, but something more complex that you can taste every ingredient in,” Jason explained as he described the vision that Sam had for the product he was looking to replace.

Not willing to give up, Sam went to work perfecting his own version of that bar he remembered, eventually selling them in a more casual capacity out of a little jar resting on the counter of the paddleboard shop where he worked.

But the quality shone through in the end, as more customers began to purchase the bars (Sam even began offering subscriptions), eventually leading Sam to see this side gig as a more serious venture.
To get it off the ground in a more serious way, Sam enlisted the help of Jason, a marketing and design specialist, and the two created the BAR-U-EAT brand.

bar u eat original mobile screenshot

In the 2-3 years following the birth of the brand, Sam and Jason built and expanded on a catalog of bars, bites, and more, bringing us to today.

Our Review

We use the following criteria when evaluating brands (BAR-U-EAT scores included):

  • Quality (A)
  • Transparency (B+)
  • Website Experience (A)
  • Customer Service (B)
  • Value (A-)
  • Brand Value (A-)

This brings BAR-U-EAT’s overall score to an A-. As usual, we’ll kick off the official review portion with the front-and-center issue of quality.

Quality

Summary:

Grade: A

Squeaky clean organic ingredient lists, in-house manufacturing, and a serious commitment to sustainability earn BAR-U-EAT an A for quality.

We received all four of BAR-U-EAT’s bars, which came individually wrapped and labeled with all the basic specs, including ingredients, supplement facts, “free” statements (soy free, dairy free, etc.), and so on.

The wrappers themselves are BPI compostable—a huge differentiator for the brand. 

However, this doesn’t mean you can just toss them in the trash—they’re commercially compostable, meaning you’d need to send them to a compost facility.

The wrappers themselves are BPI compostable—a huge differentiator for the brand.

All four bars boast impeccably clean ingredient lists, featuring only organic (except for the honey) ingredients, no artificial sweeteners, and zero preservatives of any kind. 

For example, here’s the entire ingredient list for BAR-U-EAT Original:

  • Organic Almonds
  • Organic Cashews
  • Organic Chia Seeds
  • Organic Flax Seeds
  • Honey
  • Organic Medjool Dates
  • Organic Thick Rolled Oats
  • Organic Pumpkin Seeds
  • Organic Sunflower Seeds
  • Salt
Simple Ingredients

While the products are gluten-free and organic, BAR-U-EAT has yet to officially acquire these certifications—BPI Compostable is the only certification they currently have.

As for the behind-the-scenes stuff, BAR-U-EAT sources their ingredients from all over the world, with the exception of their honey, which they get from a local apiary.

Though they considered working with co-packers, most of them wanted BAR-U-EAT to change the recipe in order to make manufacturing easier and more profitable, which BAR-U-EAT declined.

Instead, everything is made in-house, in their Hayden, CO facility. 

Though we’d like to see a little more disclosure relating to their sourcing partners, BAR-U-EAT is riding the top standards of ingredient quality, sustainability, and manufacturing, earning them an A for the quality factor

The BAR-U-EAT Product Catalog

Bars

BAR-U-EAT has four bars, including:

Each bar is made exclusively with organic, all-natural ingredients.

The standard order size is a 12-pack, though they also offer a 4-count sampler if you want to try one of each.

BAR-U-EAT Original
BAR-U-EAT Original
  • Description

    A chewy combo of organic almonds, cashews, oats, and more with a touch of honey make BAR-U-EAT’s Original bar a tasty take on the classic.

  • Ingredients

    Almonds*, Cashews*, Chia Seeds*, Flax Seeds*, Honey, Medjool Dates*, Thick Rolled Oats*, Pumpkin Seeds*, Salt, Sunflower Seeds*

    *Organic

Bites

The bites, which are available in the same four varieties as the bars, come in single orders of 5.5 oz bags, or you can order cases of 6 bags. 

The ingredients are exactly the same, but as Jason warned us, it’s easy to go through an entire bag in one sitting.

Peanuts N’ Cherries Bites
Peanuts N’ Cherries Bites
  • Description

    A close second among our testers, Peanut N’ Cherries from BAR-U-EAT builds on the original with real, unsweetened cherries.

  • Ingredients

    Unsweetened Cherries*, Chia Seeds*, Flax Seeds*, Honey, Medjool Dates*, Thick Rolled Oats*, Peanuts*, Pumpkin Seeds*, Salt, Sunflower Seeds*

    *Organic

Bundles and Merch

Finally, if you need Bars for Days, as BAR-U-EAT phrases it, or a copious amount of bites for that “party” (be honest, they’re for you), you can order in bulk.

Bundle options available on the BAR-U-EAT site include an order of 12 bags of bites, 48 bars, or combinations of bars and bites in larger quantities.

And if you’ve been looking for a way to embrace your inner “granola farmer,” a small selection of tongue-and-cheek merch options, like trucker hats and granola farmer t-shirts, is waiting for you.

Bars for Days
Bars for Days
  • Description

    For the hardcore fan who’s tried and loved them all, this 48-bar bundle offers a dozen of each BAR-U-EAT flavor.

Transparency

Summary:

Grade: B+

The BAR-U-EAT site makes key insights into product quality and manufacturing easily accessible, but their policies and sourcing information are considerably harder to find.

Between the product packaging and the BAR-U-EAT site, it’s easy to get a quick rundown of what goes into their products and why. 

Each bar’s product page shows photos of every ingredient, helping to hammer the point home that there really is nothing sketchy going into these bars.

The about us page recounts the founding story as we did above, along with several statements about BAR-U-EAT’s philosophies and approaches to nutrition—using medjool dates to support immunity is one example they give.

BAR U EAT - About Us

There’s also an in-depth page dedicated completely to the BPI Compostable packaging, explaining what exactly it is made of, how you can compost it, and more.

As mentioned, we’d like to see where ingredients are coming from, but BAR-U-EAT paints a fairly clear picture of what happens after sourcing.

On the more customer-facing side, the shipping policy is a bit buried within the website, and the return policy is more so. 

There are no shipping and return policy footer links, requiring you to use the FAQ page (shipping) or add something to your cart and start the checkout process (return link is on the checkout page). 

Finally, Jason was highly forthcoming in our interview, confirming our above gripes as relating to technical versus deliberate issues. 

Balancing BAR-U-EAT’s strengths and weaknesses in this area, we arrive at a B+ for transparency.

Website Experience

Summary:

Grade: A

The BAR-U-EAT website provides an attractive and well-rounded introduction to these self-described “granola people,” their products, and  some beginner-friendly educational content.

We prioritize functionality over design for our purposes as reviewers, but we found the aesthetic of the BAR-U-EAT site to be inviting, non-distracting, and pleasing to the eye.

Website Experience

More importantly, it’s very easy to browse and purchase products, thanks to the “shop” link that displays product categories when you hover over it.

Whether you choose bars, bites, or bundles, each category follows that familiar set up: rows of product images, prices, and “add to cart” buttons.

Adding to cart and going through the checkout process was seamless, with no unnecessary upsells, pop-ups, or other kinks in the works.

As for beginner-friendly education pieces, the Feed Your Dirt page, the Blog-U-Read (love it), and the product pages themselves create an ample knowledge base explaining the products, how their ingredients improve wellness, and more. 

Finally, the site ran smoothly on mobile devices, with no wonky formatting issues, misaligned images/buttons, and so forth.

It was a very chill, yet informative and engaging experience poking around the BAR-U-EAT site, which earns an A for website experience

Customer Service

Summary:

Grade: B

BAR-U-EAT falls a bit behind with email-only support and a restrictive return policy, but free shipping and a helpful response to our test question recoups some credit.

Both the human side and policy side of customer service are fair game for our review, meaning we get to do undercover testing (using aliases unnecessarily is the best part) as well as some digging into the policies to see how these key components of customer service compare across brands.

BAR-U-EAT has email customer support only; no phone number is listed on their contact us page. 

Customer Service

While we understand they aren’t selling space-age technology, having a faster service (phone or instant message) as their only one would be preferable.

Our test question was answered accurately and promptly; we received a helpful answer within less than a day using the email service.

As for the policies, free shipping on orders of $30 or more is a solid deal, considering a single 12-pack of bars already qualifies you. 

If you have a “bar emergency” and need them to arrive sooner, BAR-U-EAT offers a couple of expedited shipping options as well.

The return policy, however, offers little recourse to the person who tries the product and is unsatisfied, as all products have to be unopened and in their original condition in order to be eligible for a return. 

We place these bars definitively within the top 20% as far as taste and texture (more on that below), but of course, some might disagree. 

The policy gives 30 days after receipt of the product to request a return, but if you can’t try them anyway, it seems kind of moot.

It’s clear that BAR-U-EAT is making an effort to engage with and accommodate their customers in an authentic way, but these key areas could use some polishing—it’s a B for customer service.

Value

Summary:

Grade: A-

Though they charge a premium, BAR-U-EAT bars are very hard to beat on ingredient quality, balancing out to an A-.

Aside from the larger bundles, customers can choose between a 4-pack sampler and a standard 12-pack when it comes to ordering BAR-U-EAT bars. 

The bites are available as a single bag or a case of six, by the way, but we’re focusing on the bars for our value rating.

Each 12-pack of the four different bars costs the same—$35.99 for non-subscribers—which reduces to $3 a bar.

Value

To provide some context, ALOHA plant-based protein bars run between roughly $2.10-2.80/bar on Amazon, Larabar 12-packs are $1.08/bar, and Huel Bar v3.1 is $2.10/bar, but they make you order a zillion—just sayin.

It’s clear that BAR-U-EAT is charging a healthy premium here, but taking a look at the other side of the value coin—quality—they eclipse all of these other selections on ingredient quality

Larabar doesn’t contain organic ingredients, and both ALOHA and Huel use ingredients like sunflower lecithin, isolated (versus whole food) proteins, added flavoring, and more.

The question, then, is whether the premium is commensurate with the increase in quality.

We believe that they could have pulled back a bit, but considering the virtually all-organic product line with zero flavorings or preservatives, BAR-U-EAT also could have asked for more

Balancing the price with the quality, we come to an A- for value. 

Brand Value

Summary:

Grade: A-

A strong commitment to sustainability and simply doing bars better than most makes up the bulk of BAR-U-EAT’s brand value score.

How and in which areas any given brand provides value to the market is highly dependent on the context (what they sell, who their customers are, etc.), which is why we opt for a loose framework versus hard-and-fast standards when assigning credit here.

In the case of BAR-U-EAT, they knock out innovation and sustainability with a single stubborn commitment: that compostable wrapper.

Doubling down on their efforts for the environment, they also contribute to 1% for the Planet, an organization that gives member contributions to environmental causes.

Brand Value

They don’t have a panel of registered dietitians or other nutrition experts powering their formulations from what we could tell, but the founders consistently voice their commitment to clean, natural ingredients.

Finally, simply doing what everyone else is, but better, is a form of industry disruption in itself, helping to pull standards higher.

For a growing brand, we were impressed with BAR-U-EAT’s contributions to their industry and the world at large, earning them an A- for brand value. 

Our Experience

As mentioned, we tried all four of the BAR-U-EAT bars, which include Original, Coffee Pecan, Oatmeal Raisin, and Peanuts N’ Cherries. The bites come in all the same flavors, so we were content to just stick with the bars in this case.

Just like our round of sampling at Expo West, each bar delivered on flavor with a vibrant, distinct taste that actually represented each ingredient. 

Bar-U-Eat bars

Unlike those homogenized bricks filled with what looks like styrofoam and/or powder, BAR-U-EAT bars have “recognizable anatomy” (weird?) both in appearance and taste—actual oatmeal, actual raisins, cherries, and so forth. 

The addition of salt was a savvy choice, accentuating the natural sweetness. 

And thanks to the surprisingly chewy texture, we could put away that anticipatory anxiety before each bite—no abrasive crunching and/or crumbling to worry about.

Bar U Eat Pecan

As for the filling factor, these bars aren’t huge, but they were surprisingly satiating for their size, which we attribute largely to the protein content. You’re not getting nearly as much protein as a protein bar, but it still seemed to be enough to enhance the feeling of fullness.

Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with each bar. If you’re not as adventurous or just prefer the classics, we highly recommend Original, but close behind is Peanuts N’ Cherries.

Final Thoughts

From the BPI compostable packaging to the all-natural, organic ingredient lists, BAR-U-EAT’s focus on quality is apparent throughout their operation. 

Each bar is made in-house with zero sketchy preservatives or additives whatsoever, and though you’ll pay extra, our team agreed the premium is commensurate with the jump in quality.

BAR-U-EAT makes it fairly easy for customers to learn about the brand and shop their products on the website, though we’d like to see a more robust effort in customer service (more support channels and a more flexible return policy).

We had a positive experience with BAR-U-EAT, arriving at an overall score of A-.



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