Elevation Crunchy Peanut Butter Energy Bar (Aldi)

Box of Elevation Crunchy Peanut Butter energy bars
These aren't really all that crunchy.

It had been a little while since I’d seen what the Elevation line had to offer; after perusing the unfamiliar selection for a little while (they changed all the packaging!) I decided to play it relatively safe by grabbing these bars. I’m not entirely sure why, because I don’t care for peanut butter all that much (at least, not as a “base”, or “main” flavor), but I figure it’s one of those tastes that seem to be a standard across “protein” and “energy” bar lines, so they must be able to emulate it pretty well.

First things first: they look kinda gross. But a lot of these bars do, given the way they eschew normal characteristics of food, in favor of an “all natural” look. In this case, it looks like someone just added some peanut butter to some oatmeal, put it through a rectangular-shaped mold, and then finished it off with a spritz of Mod Podge. It’s not nearly as off-putting as some bars are, but it doesn’t share similar characteristics with any food that I would consider “good”.

Second things second: is there even any peanut butter in these? The packaging says there is, but usually it’s the dominant scent...and I don’t really get much peanut butter at all, despite repeated sniffs to the exterior of the bar. Who knows...maybe it’s all hidden inside.

The taste here is...pretty underwhelming. Peanut butter is a pretty distinct taste, and while it's obviously in there, it doesn't shine through as much as I was expecting. In fact, it's the non-peanut butter flavors that steal the show. As a not-huge-fan of peanut butter, you may be thinking that's a good thing; the problem is, the remaining flavors are just...odd. It tastes kind of like an attempt to make something taste like peanut butter, without actually using any peanut butter; or like there's an ingredient missing, or something. It's not very pleasant, and admittedly gets old quicker than a bar that tasted like the actual peanut-based product would.

Curiously, it was the texture itself that became my favorite part: it’s somewhat reminiscent of a cookie dough. In fact, the first couple bites felt like I was eating something that shouldn’t be healthy, and almost tricked me into thinking it was actually good. The taste quickly knocked me back to reality, but considering I wasn't expecting to like the texture much at all, I have to say I was somewhat impressed.

An individual Elevation Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar in its wrapper
These bars are actually pretty good-sized for the price.

The “crunchy” part of the name is quite the misnomer, and initially made me think I was getting a harder bar: there’s no crunch whatsoever in these. The bar is soft, and the oats are soft; maybe they use crunchy peanut butter in it, but if that's the case, it's hard to differentiate that between the oats and other ingredients. No matter the case, I wouldn't have named the bar after a secondary texture that's barely even noticeable to begin with.

Onto the value: each package is $3.99, which is much cheaper than the typical prices of a natural name brand health bar. Even better yet? There are six bars inside. I’ve mentioned in other Elevation reviews that I’m perturbed by the varying number of health bars inside each box, which can skewer the value proposition considerably; if you’re paying $4 for 4 bars when you’re expecting 5 or 6, well that’s not really such a great deal. Getting six for $4, however, is actually pretty good for this type of thing, and one of the better deals across Aldi's Elevation product line.

I just wish I wanted to eat them more often.

Overall: 5/10. I’m not huge into peanut butter, so take my review with a grain of salt, if you must. This bar, despite the typical weird “natural health bar” appearance, actually comes off much better in person, with an appealing texture somewhat reminiscent of cookie dough. Peanut butter might be the main flavor, but it's offset by an off-kilter taste that isn't peanut butter, and that constantly threatens to ruin the whole experience. And you can ignore the "crunch" in the flavor title, because this is a soft, oat-based bar - there's nothing really resembling much of a crunch at all. The sole upside: the $3.99 asking price (for six bars), which makes this one of the more affordable offerings from the Elevation line. If, after reading all this, you find that it still sounds like something that would be down your alley, pick these up. If not, don’t.