Elevation Maxx Blueberry Protein Bar (Aldi)

Packaging for Elevation Maxx Blueberry Protein Bars
Not sure how clean of an ingredient "natural flavors" are...

Well, another trip to Aldi, and yet another different kind of protein bar that I get to try! I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again: It’s really weird that they have so many different kinds of protein bars, yet only one kind and size of ketchup. Why not just have a small handful of different options available as part of their permanent inventory, and then switch things up by having a different “Special Buy” protein product every week or every other week? I don’t know, just seems like a waste of space, but they must be selling pretty well (and they do have their own dedicated endcap), so what do I know?

This time, we have a blueberry bar, as part of Elevation’s Maxx line. What is the Maxx line, you may ask, and how does it differ from the other options available on the “Elevation” endcap? Fuck if I know. Once again, I’ll re-mention something I’ve already harped on in a previous post, and probably almost verbatim: staying on the “too many options” theme, a lot of these bars all seem to serve the same basic function: delivering extra protein. Why do we need six different lines, in different product sizes, in different counts, and all at different prices? Again, I’m sure the grocer who’s been in business for several decades probably know a bit more specifics about their decision than me, but I can still be irked if I want to be.

Anyway, I picked this one up on a whim, and that “whim” was encouraged, at least partially, by the brand new packaging that Elevation seems to be undertaking. Whereas the older boxes had a product photo and accompanying text that tried to make things feel more upscale (and that tried to make them look like competitor products), this one features a simple blue box, with a product picture on it (in the wrapping), and white text. It’s a very simple design, and while I can’t say for sure if it has the “upscale” appeal that they’re going for, it’s certainly more modern and feels more “hip” and “updated” than the previous packaging.

Well, enough with the formalities…let’s finally dig right in here, shall we?

I’m starting to feel like an old man, because I thought for sure I’d had these before (or something like them), but just taking them out of the wrapper, and I’m positive I haven’t. The bars are pretty thin, and look somewhat gross, with dried blueberries and nuts popping up visibly on the surface. The rest is just a non-descript mess of a brownish substance…this can’t possibly end well, but against my own will, I force myself to take a bite anyway.

Individually wrapped bar of Elevation Maxx Blueberry Protein Bars, from Aldi
These bars are pretty good size.

Holy hell, these are actually good! The “non-descript” remainder of the bar is very soft and chewy…the taste reminds me of the “fruit strips” that Aldi used to sell (and maybe still does), where fruit is basically smashed down into a thin, chewy strip. Given the appearance, I expected the blueberry flavor to be very straightforward, unsweetened, and maybe even virtually non-existent, but it’s surprisingly sweet, and pretty strong.

“Almost too strong…” I thought to myself…this does not seem like an “all-natural” bar. And despite the bar’s claims that there are only “8 clean ingredients”, all it takes is a quick glance of the packaging to realize exactly what I had suspected: natural flavors are one of the “clean” ingredients. While I wouldn’t really consider them “dangerous” (they are in virtually everything, after all), I’m also not sure that I would really consider them “clean”. Even though their inclusion here clearly benefits my own tastebuds, I still feel like it’s a little misleading on their part.

Outside of the flavor boost, the rest of the ingredients are pretty legit: dates, egg whites, almonds, cashew butter, dehydrated blueberries, pecans, and peanut butter all around out the list. Not bad at all, I would say.

The last variable is the price: and once again, it’s pretty expensive, although it’s one of the least pricy options available in the Elevation line. Each four-count box is $3.49, which puts them a little under $1 per 1.83 oz. bar. Again, keep in mind that you're only getting 4 bars for the price...with so many options in Elevation's growing line of bars (and shakes, and powders, etc.), that's one thing that can be easy to overlook. 

Overall: 7.5/10. First off, despite being marketed as a "healthy", all natural bar, note the inclusion of "natural flavors", which is something I wouldn't really consider to be "natural"...but hey, maybe that's just me. Beyond that, this bar is fantastic, with a strong blueberry flavor (probably thanks to the "natural" flavoring), a good amount of protein, and a pretty brief ingredient list. One other drawback: there are only four bars per $3.49 pack. Again, this is a reasonable price (and reasonable value) when compared to Elevation's other offerings, but just keep in mind that you're only getting four bars for the price (instead of the five or six found in other Elevation products). Outside of these small issues, these far exceeded my expectations in terms of taste, and manages to be one of the Elevation products I would gladly buy again.