Clif Bar Energy Food – Margherita Pizza

Clif Bar Margherita Pizza
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After meeting up with Scott Jurek a little while back and seeing his assortment of Clif products that he used I was intrigued by a new line I had never seen. Clif now has an Organic Energy Food series that features 4 different gels that are all “wholesome” rather than your typical sugar gel. Let me start by saying the Pizza “gel” is far from your typical gel.

clif-bar-margherita-pizza-review-7

 

Clif Bar Margherita Pizza Consistency

Gels can range from chunky with something like the Munk Pack Oatmeal Squeeze to the thinness of a standard GU. This falls closer to the chunky side of things, about a 7 on a scale of 1 to chunky (10). While it’s not full of big chunks it has lots of little bits to work your way through. Most gels say consume with water, this one should almost require it because of the richness and chew-ability. You won’t be required to chew the Margherita Pizza but it will feel more natural to do so.

Clif Bar Margherita Pizza Flavor

To get a real sense of where the flavor sat with this I decided to compare it to some pretty good local pizza in Astoria, NY. I got two people, plus myself, and decided to setup my own little taste test. I would have 3 different tastings – First would be regular pizza:

Yummy Pizza

Second would be pizza in a food processor:

clif-bar-margherita-pizza-review-3-s

Third would be the Clif Bar Pizza:

Real vs. Gel

 

I think you can guess what the general consensus was that the pizza tasted the best and most like pizza. Then the blended pizza came in second because, well, it still is pizza; and obviously third place goes to Clif Bar’s Pizza. This was not a fair test obviously because one if freshly cooked and delivered while the other is made in a factory then shoved into a portable long lasting pouch for you to consume while running. Some people may consume pizza during ultras or other long events but generally speaking it’s not competing on the same playing field.

As far as the flavor for Clif’s Margherita Pizza goes, it’s not terrible but it’s definitely not pizza. The flavor is more reminiscent of tomatoes and too much basil with a hint of what may be the crust and cheese essence. I test all of my gels before I go on regular training runs and while I’m not starving and needing them. Therefore I don’t have the reactions that a starving person would have when trying a new flavor for the first time and falling in love with it; kind of like going to a concert and seeing a band live for the first time you are hearing them. I can’t imagine eating this during a race because I just didn’t find it very palatable with the strong basil flavor coming through. But I almost can imagine if you hand this to me around mile 30 of an ultra that I would destroy this and smile as I ran away. I will subject this to further testing this week on a 18-ish mile run and update in bold (stay tuned if you care about that test).

Clif Bar Margherita Pizza Nutrition

This isn’t your grandfather’s energy gel when it comes to nutrition. There is a completely different balance with all natural real ingredients in the mix. Here’s the major ingredient in order from the label:

Organic Tomato Puree (Water, Organic Tomato Paste), Organic Carrot Puree, Water, Organic Quinoa, Organic Sunflower Seed Butter, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Olive Oil

The actual makeup of it includes 160 calories and 9 grams of fat, which immediately jumps out at me. I can’t think of many gels that have any fat; this is clearly made for the long haul. To further its long haul status it has 5 grams of protein for even more sustained energy. But as I said earlier this means more water to process these things out.

Clif Bar Margherita Pizza Verdict

I wanted to love this relatively new product by Clif because I love pizza. If you asked me to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, no question it’s pizza. I’m sad to say that I can’t suggest this for all runners for a couple reasons, none of them damning reasons of their own. The flavor isn’t for me and not for the people I tested it with – this is a small sample size so you should try it once on your own and leave a comment (hint hint, leave a comment below). Second reason is that the ingredient make up of this product lends itself to long runs and most people that consume energy gels use them for races under 10 miles. I don’t think this will really help you unless you eat it before you run instead of real food and I like real food.

Verdict – you need to try it yourself and see if the flavor is for you until more people weigh in saying they love it or hate it.

UPDATE: Jon Albon just today said in his review of WTM2015 that he liked it, score is 1-3 now.



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Dario

Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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