Product Review: Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar

We all know how big of a fan of seasonal – and especially pumpkin – products I am. Being a fairly active and on the go person person, I’ve also been known to consume and energy bar or two in my day, especially following workouts. With this in mind, I picked up a bar of Clif’s Spiced Pumpkin Pie for $1.50 at the grocery store the other day.

The 240 calorie, 68 gram bar promises “goodness of pumpkin pie” and is one of three limited-time only bars for fall and winter (the other two being Iced Gingerbread and Cranberry Orange Nut Bread). With 70% organic ingredients, one of Clif’s biggest selling points is there “good for you and the planet” mantra, but frankly I’m just looking for something affordable, great tasting, and functional for my workouts. I’m not some kinda hippy, don’t ya know. OK, so here’s the propaganda anyways.

It’s the first bar we made, and it’s still everything we’re about. Whole, all-natural, organic ingredients. Performance nutrition. And great taste. Whether you’re on a 150-mile bike ride or exploring a new trail, this energy bar is built to sustain your adventure.

At $1.50 this bar is a bit of an investment, so it better be something special. I broke into it after a solid workout, but was disappointed in its size. I was expecting something a bit heftier, but the bar was truncated and dense, and had an ugly, dog-treat like appearance. My first bite revealed a sweet, spicy taste that tasted heavily of cloves and nutmeg, with the sweetness coming off as deep, gingery and fruity. Texture wise this isn’t a gummy bar like a traditional power bar, but it has a tough, dense chew. There is an icing on the top, but it’s tough to distinguish it’s flavor against the strong taste of raisin juice and cane syrup that gives the bar it’s flavor.

There are chunks of raisins that break up the soy and oat texture and add a burst of sweetness, but overall, the pumpkin flavor is average and seems lost amidst the long list of ingredients. Apparently there are nuts in here somewhere, but I’m left thinking “donde esta” after digging in. Still, I like the complex and spicy notes of the bar, although it tastes more like a combination of a ginger snap and iced oatmeal raisin cookie than a pumpkin flavored product. Likewise, the texture leaves a lot to be desired, while the size doesn’t fill me up after a four mile run.

Nutrition wise, this bar is only average in my mind. A single gram of saturated fat is can’t beat, but the protein content (nine grams) and soluble fiber content is a little low considering the 25 grams of sugar. I have no problem with that much – or more sugar – after a run, but for the bar’s size and taste it seems a little high. I think I’d rather just have a giant pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and eat something “healthier” later in the day. Don’t get me wrong – this is a tasty bar – but it was a disappointment because of its lack of genuine pumpkin pie flavor, and because of its price. Next time, I think I’m just gonna grab a few spoon fulls of that pumpkin pie cheesecake filling and call it an afternoon.

Pros: Complex spiciness to compliment sweetness. Only 1 gram saturated fat. 9 grams protein. Getting to pretend I’m a seriously outdoorsy person.

Cons: Fairly expensive. Doesn’t have particularly memorable pumpkin flavor. Minimal “nutty” presence and no richness. Funky, dog-treat texture. Ugh. Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup FAIL.

Price: 1.50 for one bar (at Smith’s Grocery)

Overall GrubGrade: 5.25 (Mediocre)

More Info: ClifBar.com
Nutrition Facts:
Clif Bar Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Calories: 240
Total Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 170 mg
Total Carbs: 45 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 25 g
Protein: 9 g

13 comments on “Product Review: Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar

  1. Scott says:

    Wait. What? Pumpikin Pie Cheesecake filling? Does such a thing exist in container form?

  2. sdf says:

    “Only 1 gram saturated fat.”

    i’ll say this once. i hope all the blog review sites see this comment. fat is not what you should care about (actually trans fat is understandably undesirable). carbs (particularly sugars) are what you should care about, and clif bars are basically made of sugar. i suppose this is for the whole “energy” thing. 25 grams of sugar is 2 grams less than a monster energy drink. simple sugars are undesirable. fats effect your body less than carbohydrates do and that is what you should be staring at on the label.

    9 grams of protein is hardly a pro.

    they taste good, and charge extra for the whole “energy/natural” thing (both of which are debatable). these shouldn’t be considered health or nutrition bars. i’m highly suspicious of how they list “organic” before nearly every ingredient on the packaging, so as to assure dopey consumers who’ve been taught that organic is defined as “of god”

    i understand some of these points are not directly aimed at the author of the article but a few things i did want to get off my chest.

    • willrun4food says:

      See, that’s just it. It isn’t a “health/nutrition” bar any more than a PowerBar is or isn’t. They are energy bars, mainly beneficial to endurance exercisers. For that sort of activity, carbs=energy. Energy means longer, better workouts or better recovery. So please, let’s stop vilifying any nutrient for all people; the right mix depends on individual activity and metabolism, among other things.

      • Adam says:

        A calorie is a calorie. I like high sugar items to help get me through workouts. That’s great that you can label stuff as black and white, sdf, but I know I sure feel better through a long run when I have a buttload of simple sugars in me. Maybe you’re not a regular here, but we’re not all fat middle aged men who tuck everything we eat away as fat :)

        I’m much more bummed at how these things tasted.

        • rob says:

          Yeah I’m a formerly fat middle aged guy, now quite buff (for a middle aged guy), when I was young and going on a long bike ride I used to get these proto-energy drinks that had 400 calories of glucose per 16 ounce serving, I figured two of those and a couple of Snickers bars would get me through a ride.

    • Adam Bomb says:

      While you’re up there on that high horse, look around for a dictionary and learn the difference between “effect” and “affect”.

    • ChrisLad says:

      I love Monster energy drinks more than 99% percent of Americans. A can of regular flavor Monster has 54 grams of sugar. Half-a-can has 27 grams.

      Cliff bars always leave me unsatisfied. They are too small for the price and I end up getting a candy bar or a high calorie protein bar instead.

  3. Rodzilla says:

    These are tasty, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I’ve always wished that cliff bars would use whey in place of soy.

  4. Raiders757 says:

    Dog treat texture? That begs me to ask, when did you try a dod treat, and where is the review? :-)

  5. Raiders757 says:

    Dog treat texture? That begs me to ask, when did you try a dog treat, and where is the review? :-)

  6. Mattitude says:

    Looks like a atomic bomb for the stomach, in other words I’ll pass cause it looks disgusting!

  7. Anyone else get an headache at the start of high protein diet