REVIEW: Quest Tortilla Style Protein Chips (Nacho Cheese and Ranch)

I’ve covered a lotta funny protein things on this website. Bars, spreads, cookie dough’s, cookie’s, pancake mixes, microwavable muffins – you name it, I’ve probably had it. Protein-infused chips, however, as many times as I’ve enjoyed them, have never found their way onto the Skillet. Quest’s original line of Protein Chips emulated the potato variety and come in a number of flavors from BBQ to Sour Cream and Cheddar to Salt & Vinegar, and I actually quite enjoy them all. I don’t love any of them but none of them are offensive and they make for a unique crunchy way to get a bit of protein in at lunch or snack time. With all that being said, I’m way more of a corn chip guy than a potato chip guy, and brand new for 2018 Quest have taken on one of the biggest snack dawgs in the yard with Tortilla Style Protein Chips.

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REVIEW: Quest Protein Cookies (Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin)

For as many protein bars, cereal bars, powders, chips, peanut butter cups, and other snacky supplements Quest have released it’s pretty hard to believe it took them this long to get into the trendy protein cookie game. I generally find protein cookies to be pretty whack. Less desirable macro nutrients than a standard bar and inferior taste to an actual cookie, so who’s really winning here? There are a couple flavors of Lenny & Larry’s that are actually pretty tasty (Snickerdoodle and Lemon Poppyseed), and conversely the recent release by No Cow was so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to finish them. So how does the king of the protein world’s take stack up to the competition? With more grams of fat than a scoop of super premium ice cream, Erythritol, and soluble corn fiber I’m not feeling too optimistic, but let’s find out.

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REVIEW: Quest Birthday Cake Coated Protein Bar

If pumpkin spice is the seasonal signifier of the basic b, then birthday cake is the quintessential staple of the basic’s day to day favorite flavor. My tastebud’s tendencies keep me right in line with all the basic ladies of the world, and just like I love me some spice I love me a good birthday cake flavored treat. Ice cream, candy, lotion, candles, and yep, protein bars. While this trend is far from new, in fact I think it peaked a couple years ago, the biggest player in the protein bar game are extremely late to the party. This week Quest showed up when everyone was already wasted and stumbling with their Birthday Cake coated protein bar.

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This bar is a bit of a deviation for the company, using a coated outer layer similar to Oh Yeah’s One bars instead of the usual plain outer skin. It certainly looks pretty enough, studded with a smattering of fun confetti dots and a semi-glossy coating that is incredibly soft and smooth.

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Biting in the initial taste is very creamy, sweet, and slightly salty, making a combination that truly does remind me of a well balanced buttercream. The texture is soft, chewy, and fresh, leaving a pretty positive initial impression. Unfortunately after the first couple chews a very strong and unpleasant artificial sugar flavor takes over that is inescapably powerful. While Quest bars do tend to carry a bit of a sucralose finish, this bar leans way too heavy on an astringent artificial flavor that takes away from any birthday cake potential it had. While the outer coating provides some nice creaminess, the inside of the bar is very bland and flavorless, leaving little reason to want to eat more of these bars.

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The biggest issue here, aside from the fact that the bar legitimately doesn’t taste good, is that there are far too many better options already on the market. Oh Yeah One’s Birthday Cake is a staple with comparable macros, and very strong offerings from MuscleTech and Fit Joy have been out for over a year as well. Quest has had some pretty solid releases recently with Mocha Chocolate Chip and last years Cereal Bars, but this one is a major step backwards for a company that at this point really needs to be pushing the envelope with portable protein supplements. If someone showed up to my birthday party with this bar I would revoke their party privileges and show them to the door.

Rating: 4/10
Found at: GNC ($2.39)
Quick Nutrition: 180 cal – 5g fat – 3g sat fat – 220mg sodium – 25g carb – 14g fiber – 1g sugar – 21g protein

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REVIEW: Quest Beyond Cereal Bars (All three flavors)

The all-influential and trend-setting folks at Quest Nutrition are back at it again with a new line of portable protein – Beyond Cereal bars. The bars attempt to emulate the mainstream cereal bar, somewhere in between the Lucky Charms 7/11-available variety and the popular Red Berry line by Special K.

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As with most Quest products these bars are laced with both protein (12 grams) and fiber (7 grams), and only 110 calories each. The big difference here is the amount of sugar, clocking in at 8 grams, or four times the amount typically found in a Quest protein bar. The kicker is apparently the listed grams of sugar aren’t actually the same as the ones normally listed because they come from allulose, which has one tenth of the calories of actual sugar (despite being required to be listed in the sugar column).  This is the first widely distributed product on the market made with allulose and to be honest I have no idea how it works, but its flavor is certainly more convincing than the other alternate sweeteners typically used in protein products.

The bars launched this week with three flavors and I’m going to rate and review all three from most fire to most tepid, but heads up, they’re all pretty solid.

Waffle: This bar is delicious. Immediately upon opening the package you’re hit with the strong smell of maple syrup, not the stuff that actually comes from trees but the Aunt Jemima Log Cabin Sunday morning nostalgia kind of syrup. Somehow the taste isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, and the use of allulose allows the bar to avoid the artificial Sucralose taste that sometimes plagues Quest products. The texture is soft and chewy like a Rice Krispy treat with an undercurrent of buttery graham cracker. What makes this flavor particularly intriguing is there are no other products with this profile currently on the market. If this bar were an actual cereal it would be Golden Grahams, and it’s a damn fine substitute.  I had to buy this bar a second time to make sure I liked it as much as I thought and it’s without a doubt my favorite Quest product of the year.
Rating: 9/10

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Cinnamon Roll: Beautiful cinnamon flavor with a slight buttery toasty undertone – this bar is Cinnamon Toast Crunch all the way. It is the only one where the white drizzle on top seems to really stand out, adding a nice touch of creaminess and sweetness to highlight the spice. The spices aren’t overwhelming but are very much there, and this is the first time I’ve really marveled at the fact that this whole line isn’t actually cereal. Really cool for people with gluten intolerance to be able to enjoy something that emulates a cereal bar so well. Only downside to this one is it is the only bar of the three that has a bit of a fake sugar Sucralose flavor, even though it uses allulose as its primary sweetener.
Rating: 8/10

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Chocolate: This bar has less of everything. Less aroma, less sweetness, less pop on the initial bite. The texture is a bit softer but also grainier than the waffle or cinnamon, and its main strength is a deep cocoa taste. The chocolate here is not suggesting milk chocolate like Cocoa Pebbles but it isn’t as bitter as straight cocoa either. It’s got a natural chocolatey-ness that’s more convincing than most Quest products. The base flavor is not too far off from a less sweet Oreo, and doesn’t emulate any particular name brand cereal I’ve had on the market (RIP Oreo O‘s and shoutout Junk Banter for that comparison). If you’re a fan of Cocoa Puffs you will likely dig this but don’t expect it to taste exactly like the actual cereal you grew up loving.
Rating: 7.5/10

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Overall the Quest Beyond Cereal lineup is a slam dunk.  They have managed to make something awesome that I didn’t even know I needed in my life and I will be a repeat customer.  A quick fix snack bar that provides the comfort of a nostalgic breakfast with portability, protein, and fiber to boot.  The only issue with this line is the price point – being offered at a very similar cost to a regular Quest bar in most retailers ($2.39), but only having around half the protein and fiber you would typically get at that dollar amount.  A great snack but probably not suitable for a meal replacement, although you can always just crush two if you’re feeling spendy and hungry.

Overall Quest Beyond Cereal rating: 8/10

Quick Nutrition:
110 calories – 4.5g fat – 10mg Cholesterol – 170mg Sodium – 17g Carbs – 7g Fiber – 8g Sugar – 12g Protein