Tasting Out STRONG & KIND Bars by KIND Snacks: A Review and Thoughts

Strong and Kind bars

The fun thing about doing what I do is that sometimes I get the chance to try out new products on the market and offer my opinion on them. The super awesome folks over at Kind Snacks recently sent me over some of their brand new bars to taste, and if you’re at all familiar with Kind bars, you know they are de-li-cious—so I was all in for this taste test. Kind bars are well-known for their sweet and savory mix of ingredients that offer good amounts of fiber and protein without tons of sugar (at least 8 varieties of Kind bars boast only 3-5g per bar). So, what was so new about this “new” line?

Besides the fact that 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant is the face of Strong & Kind (check out what awesome role he has in this partnership), the new line of bars has two main new things to offer: bold flavor and 10g of protein per bar. (Sugar content is about the same.) When you consider that regular Kind bars average about 5g of protein (with the exception of the Almond Walnut Macadamia With Peanuts  + Protein variety, which also has 10g of protein), this new line has something very different to offer—particularly for the person looking to get an extra intake of protein with their diet. The Kind Snacks website attributes these ingredients like almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and pea crisps to the extra boost of protein in these bars.

I had so much fun trying out the bars, and as usual, they were scrumptious! (They barely lasted past the taste test.) Below are the details on the taste test and thoughts on the new Strong & Kind bars. Thanks again to Kind Snacks for this fun opportunity!

“Being kind isn’t a sign of weakness—you gotta be strong to be kind.”

Kevin Durant

The Bars

strong and kind bars

The first thing I noticed about the new flavors was their interesting flavors! When they said bold, they meant BOLD. The Strong & Kind line wants to surprise your taste buds with a ton of flavor and something very different from what you’re used to: spices! Here are the five new flavors of the Strong & Kind bars.

  1. Hickory Smoked
  2. Roasted Jalapeno
  3. Honey Mustard
  4. Thai Sweet Chili
  5. Honey Smoked BBQ

The Testers

Because I wanted to get the opinion of someone else, I enlisted a male counterpart to help me test out the new bars, who we’ll call “T”. The profile on the male tester, I think, is definitely a person that Kind Snacks is will be targeting with this new line: someone who is health-conscious and active with an appreciation for great tasting snacks.

On my end, I have a similar profile with one key difference—which I think makes the high-protein count in the Strong & Kind bars particularly important: I’m vegetarian. It’s difficult for me to pack in enough protein into my diet, especially in my snacks, without taking in just as much sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. My interest was definitely piqued!

We offered our opinions on factors of smell, taste, aftertaste and overall enjoyment of each of the bars; we also gave a rating on a scale of 1-10 for each bar. Our thoughts are listed below!

The Taste Tests

Hickory Smoked

T: This bar immediately has a smell of BBQ chips when you open the package. It also tastes like BBQ, with a very distinctly meaty taste. I didn’t find that this tasted like a snack—it was almost more like a meal, being more satiating than refreshing (compared to the sweeter “candy bar-like” Kind bars). I found that this had kind of an onion-y aftertaste—which I didn’t particularly love.

Overall rating: 6/10

F: I also had a distinct thought of BBQ chips when I smelled this bar —which I like, so it wasn’t a turnoff for me. I didn’t think the bar had as strong of a BBQ chip flavor though, which I also really appreciated since BBQ flavor makes me usually think of meat. The flavor of the almonds comes through nicely, and you get a great balance of taste. Overall, I really loved that you get a yummy BBQ chip taste without it tasting like a greasy snack!

Overall rating: 7/10

Roasted Jalepeno

T: This bar smelled good off the bat — has a smoky, slightly spicy smell. It tasted very much like a savory snack mix, but it isn’t as meaty as the Hickory Smoked bar. This bar was a hit with me, and I’d definitely buy this variety!

Overall rating: 8/10

F: I LOVED the way this bar smelled; it had a slightly spicy smell to it—and I’m a sucker for anything jalapeno-flavored snacks, so I was intrigued and definitely pleased before trying it out. The taste itself is very punchy, with just enough spicy flavor so it gets your taste buds dancing and wanting more. Based on the spice meter, I was expecting more jalapeno flavor and was only mildly disappointed. Overall, delicious!

Overall rating: 7/10

Honey Mustard

T: Not a lot to say about this one other than: I was a BIG FAN! This bar tastes almost exactly like honey mustard pretzel bites, but they have so much more nutritional value. Definitely an  awesome replacement for an unhealthy but delicious snack.

Overall rating: 9/10

F: The first thing I noticed about this bar is that it STRONGLY smells and tastes honey mustard (compared to the Jalepeno bar, which was a bit milder). So, if you like honey mustard-flavored snacks, this one is for you. Luckily, I do, so I did enjoy the bar but didn’t love the mustard aftertaste. This is the type of bar I’d pick up if I was specifically craving something tangy and punchy.

Overall rating: 6/10

Honey Smoked BBQ

T: I particularly didn’t think this bar tasted like BBQ chips—I got more of a Carolina-style, vinegar-based BBQ flavor from this Strong & Kind bar. But because it tasted like actual BBQ to me, I felt like I was eating meat—which I, personally, don’t love in a dry snack. On that note, I think if you like jerky, this bar is for you!

Overall rating: 5/10

F: I, on the other hand, thought these tasted very much like BBQ chips (I also don’t know what real BBQ tastes like). I’ll agree that there is definitely a very meaty quality from the nuts and the flavor, so I wasn’t the hugest fan as a vegetarian. For me, this variety lacked the savory sweetness of the Hickory Smoked bar, and the flavor had much more pow to it. If you want something like that in your snack, you will definitely love this bar.

Overall rating: 5/10

Thai Sweet Chili

T: Yum! The flavor of this bar is just as interesting as the name. It has a tantalizing smell and the taste has hints of coconut and ginger, while also incorporating that spicy kick. (Almost has a bit of Sriracha Sauce taste in the background!) I immediately thought of Panang Curry when I tasted this bar—loved it!

Overall rating: 9/10

F: If you like Thai food, you will go crazy for this bar—but that’s not to say it TASTES just like Thai food. The flavor is wonderfully surprising (I, too, was most intimidated by the name of this flavor!), managing to delivery a creamy, coconut-y taste without being too much and had a delicious aftertaste (but no funky breath!). It tastes like a snack I might find in an Asian grocery store, and it was definitely the most unusual and memorable flavor of the bunch.

Overall rating: 9/10

Summary of the Strong & Kind Taste Test

The unique and particularly notable quality about the new Strong & Kind bars are their savory quality and their likeness to your everyday snacks. They are an exceptional replacement for unhealthy snacks that we’re all so prone to succumbing in those impulse buys. For your health-conscious and active person, especially, the Strong & Kind bars offer unique flavors with a salty and savory quality and with a huge boost of protein.

The flavors are both unique and familiar, creating the perfect balance of surprise and comfort in your daily snacking. There really wasn’t any of these bars that we wouldn’t eat (seriously, they’re all gone now). If you’re a loyal Kind bar snacker, then you might have an initial hesitation to dissociating yourself from the conventional sweet/salty taste of a Kind bar. But you are in for a pleasant surprise because this is exactly what was missing from the line of snack bars that you don’t feel bad eating. Kudos to Kind for an awesome new line of snack bars!