The number of energy foods on the market seems to have been exploding the last few years — ingredients are cheap, marketing’s easy, and the science doesn’t need to be rigorous, so it’s easy to bring your own brand to market. All you need is a gimmick! And that’s either change the ingredients, or change the format.
In the case of Clif Shot Bloks, we’re looking at a change in format. Where you previously had gels, bars, and beans (yes, jellybeans), you now have “bloks” — what amounts to a square gummi bear, laden with flavor. The ingredients haven’t changed significantly from other energy foods and don’t seem to have some goofy “magic ratio” of carbs-to-protein, meaning that Shot Bloks work the same as any other energy food that relies upon the basic understanding that complex carbs are good.
So the Shot Bloks work. But what do they taste like? I snagged the six flavors we had in-stock at the bike shop. One packet of each, with the intent of testing them more for flavor than anything else. On my way home, I decided to double my data points and incorporate my girlfriend in the process.
Dan (me!) — has been riding bikes seriously for over two decades. Well-versed in energy foods and their usage, flavor, and reputation.
Kate — not an athlete. May never have eaten a Powerbar. I don’t know. I can’t imagine a non-athlete submitting themselves to such an indignity.
On Monday night, while watching TV, we nibbled at each of the cubes, analyzing strictly for flavor. We didn’t cleanse our palettes between cubes unless a flavor was particularly nasty.
Kate: Tastes good — like, uh, something. Not ‘cran-razz’, though.
Dan: Hello, cough syrup!
Kate: Good. Weird aftertaste. It’s got some chemical taste to it.
Dan: Tastes like strawberry with an aftertaste of ass.
Kate: Bites you. Yuck.
Dan: Tastes like it was stored in the same room as the world’s last can of RC Cola. I had high hopes for this — like the Gummi Coke Bottles. I was saddened.
Kate: Tastes like orange slices. No chemical aftertaste on this one.
Dan: Reminds me of Pedro’s Orange Peelz degreaser. Complete with the vaguely oily residue.
Kate: Ahh. *gagging noises* Too much fake salt!
Kate + 20 Seconds: Ugh. Nasty.
Dan: I would only eat these if I had a bottle of tequila to wash them down with. That’s not conducive to energy or sports!
Kate: Alright, but could be more “mountain berry”…
Dan: Do I have to keep eating these things?
Dan: ANYTHING THAT’S NOT THE MARGARITA FLAVOR.
They work like most energy foods. The gimmick is in the format. Kate will never eat these things again and may never even ride a bike again, based on her experiences in this tangent of the sport. Dan will stick with Clif Bar Harvests and Gu.