Scottbar reviewed!

He’s the affable Yorkshireman taking social media by storm in his quest to get a foothold in the promising animal protein market – 2018 UEA graduate Scott Stockdale sent me some samples of a relatively advanced bake in the taste-testing process of the eponymous new bar he plans to launch soon. Here’s what I thought…

I’ll admit, when I first heard about Scott’s product – cricket protein bars – I did think it was a niche group of sportsmen to appeal to, when you’ve got boxers and gym-goers lapping up protein products right now, but the average Sunday afternoon batsman is as likely to have a nice belly than a nice six-pack. Of course, I soon realised that crickets were in fact the main ingredient! The bar is made from ground up crickets, an ingredient exceptionally high in natural protein, apparently, and baked into a flapjack-type bar.

So… what’s it like? I’ll admit to not having a great deal of experience with protein bars in the past (or crickets!), but I do have plenty of experience with flapjack-type bars (what do you mean, you could guess?!), so here’s my assessment of the Scottbar…

Before we start, it’s only fair to disclose that Scott is my friend. But it’s not fair to fill people up with hot air and, anyway, I wouldn’t be writing anything I didn’t wholeheartedly stand by on here. And my verdict is that his bars are very, very good.

First off – the immediate appearance seems to be one of a good quality, chunky flapjack. Scott is still finalising the packaging, but when I received the product it had the most gorgeous, rich chocolate smell which wafted right out as soon as I opened the Tupperware it was in. I hope Scott can find a packaging solution that keeps this, as it sets up the product nicely before you even take a bite.

Take a bite, then, and the consistency is really good. It’s hard to make a product that’s as moist as this, but still has a strong, substantial, well-bound texture all the way through – so many manufacturers add berries, chocolate chunks, syrup or whatever to bind their bars, or coat, glaze or just overcook the outsides. It’s a measure of the great texture Scott’s trial-and-error has achieved that he doesn’t need to do that, and maintains an even consistency all the way through without the bar crumbling all over the place or being stodgy in the middle. The flapjack gives a very satisfying bite, with the nuts and seeds giving it a nice bit of crunch too.

What about flavour? Does the Scottbar live up to its smell? Well, in a word, yes! Traditionally, protein doesn’t equal taste, and you sometimes imagine that the self-sacrifice needed to finish a protein bar is akin to the really hard gym session someone might have completed beforehand. Yes I’ve eaten (synthetic) protein powder for a dare. Yes, of course, I regretted it instantly. Yes, I’m sure that the natural alternative Scott is using is equally as disgusting in its purest form. But the flavour suffers not one bit from the recipe being high in protein.

The bar has a deep chocolatey and nutty flavour – much more so than most flapjacks you get from the service station shelves. Once again, where competitors need to coat, top or add chunks to their products, the Scottbar is bursting with flavour so doesn’t need to, with enough taste to sustain a decent portion.

The Scottbar is no novelty. It genuinely tastes as good as, if not better than, you expect a chocolate flapjack bar would off the shelf. You wouldn’t know it had crickets in it unless you were told so – the fact it’s the Scottbar’s USP, therefore, does not affect the taste of the end product and would be a great introduction into the potential of animal protein products for the uninitiated.

What’s more, by using fewer processed ingredients than many synthetic protein and confectionery products (the bar is packed with nuts, seeds and you imagine from its taste that the cocoa content is quite impressive), Scott is clearly thinking about creating a more wholesome product for consumers who really care about their bodies and take their time to check the label.

I’ll admit, the fact I ate my samples before my girlfriend had so much as a chance to sniff them did cause a small argument. She’ll only get more jealous when she reads this. And of course I’m biased, I’d love to see this small business get off the ground. But I honestly believe the product in its rawest form has more than enough potential to do just that – I only hope Scott doesn’t experiment too much with toppings or adding other flavours to distract customers from the wonderful natural texture and flavour this bar has in abundance, on its own.

Scott has been tracking the journey of launching Scottbar, developing the recipe and navigating his way to starting a new business and fine-tuning the numerous aspects you need to think about when launching a new product – there are things he’s covered I hadn’t even thought of. Scott on camera is just like in real life – friendly, personable and focussed, which comes across to interested Scottbar observers in his hard work, passion both for his business and good business practice in general. This is all interspersed with some inspirational content and exceptionally insightful business theory and contemporary ideas, authors and methods. No lie, it’s almost made me wish I was studying Business at university now…

Scott loves interacting with people on social media, realising how important good PR is to getting a small business off the ground, so give him a follow, ask him a question, or just say hello!

You can keep up to date with Scott’s journey via his YouTube channel, his Twitter, his Instagram and through his weekly podcast, The Scottbar Show, available here on Spotify or via this Libsyn link. Some other interesting links, including to his trial shop and Alexa quote-generator, are available here.

A note:

I have decided to publish this review despite the fact that Scott yesterday announced the future was uncertain for the Scottbar, owing to the difficult process of setting up a small food business. He will be continuing his podcast and social media channels for a while regardless as he continues to assess his options and decides what the future holds.

If he feels it untenable right now, I sincerely hope that Scott follows his nose into the natural animal protein market which he predicts will blow up soon, and continues to develop and market the product. That could be by finding an investor or business partner, or continuing Scottbar part-time alongside other projects. His drive and enthusiasm for business cannot go to waste. I had the nicest cookie ever at the Southbank food market this year and while a very intelligent Business graduate might well be wasted behind a stall five or six days a week, it could be an option to start on a small scale and work up. Either way, the product and idea both have potential. I want more Scottbars, and I want them soon!

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