Think5 Food Bar Packed with Three Cups of Vegetables and Two Cups of Fruit

Think5 crams three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit into one very dense bar.

By Hollis Ashman, Jacqueline Beckley and Jennifer Vahalik, Consumer Understanding Editors

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Think5 bars are available in red berry flavor or chocolate-covered red berry for $2.99 per bar -- or $29.90 for a box of 10 from the company web site. Packaging looks very "earth friendly" -- matte finish instead of glossy makes one think it's going to be very healthy and wholesome. The colors and feel of the package say this is not typical. The little pictures of carrots, broccoli and spinach plus a green apple and a red something (we think it’s an acerola berry) are cute.

Below the pictures is a statement: “5 cup bar.” To the right is the claim “3 cups of vegetables & 2 cups fruit for delicious nutrition on-the-go.” Other claims are gluten free, omega-3, and high in fiber. The bar is heavy – other bars this size weigh barely an ounce, but this one weighs in at 2.53 oz.

The look of the bar is otherworldly. The bar’s exterior appears to be a green so dark as to be brown, and inside are specks of green. It has a moist feel and looks thick and dense. The smell had a sweet earthiness, which some characterized as “typical of other energy bars,” but with a dried fruit note.

Some of our tasters could not get their kids to get past the look. Breaking the bar into pieces did not help; it was consistent all the way through, this dense, dark green color with specks. One taster described the flavor as “tasting like the inside of a health food store smells -- very vegetable/spice.”

The flavor is rather neutral with a blended “food” note that is not identifiable as much of anything. Except, for some flavors of vitamins, “like the breakfast drink mix taste before you add milk,” said one tester. Some claimed it left an unpleasant taste in their mouths, like the skin of grapes without the juice. Texture is dense and almost gritty, with the occasional fruit bit that sticks to one’s teeth. This is a bar that you definitely would not inhale – it is too dense with too much flavor complexity to chew down easily or quickly.

The bar has a small meal’s worth of calories at 250 (with five fruits and vegetables, this makes sense). The sodium is low and it has 23 percent of one’s fiber. With 4g of protein, the bulk of the bar is made up of carbs – after all, it is made up of fruit. It has a variety of vitamins, none at any over-the-top level.

The ingredient statement is impressive, calling the mixture of vegetable and fruit ingredients “the think5 blend.” There are fruit concentrates and oils like olive and sunflower seed, plus a claim of 130mg of omega-3 per serving. You have to read the story written by the owner in small lettering next to the ingredient statement to really be able to figure out the product.

Does the product deliver?
Probably. Most of the fruits and vegetables are in the form of powders – so we are not sure what that means about being real fruits and vegetables. It seems as though a lot of thought went into the types of ingredients to use in the bar. We tend to believe there probably are five veggies and fruits in this product. But this is a really complex food with a really complex thought behind it.

One of our moms said she would rather try to figure out how to get her children to eat three cups of vegetables that they did not like rather than trying to feed them this bar.

This is clearly a product developed for a need by people who are focused on getting that objective done. No classic form of product testing would have allowed this product to come to market. It is just too different and unusual (ergo unique).

How to make the idea bigger: Working on the product design could help the bar. Working on some of the tastes and definitely the dense texture would make the product more palatable and would not take away from the whole concept. The denseness could work into the bar’s favor, since chewing it takes a long time and can therefore be very satisfying and more meal-like. But you have to want to chew it. And for most, that was difficult.

Backing off on some of the added vitamins so the product does not have the lingering B-vitamin taste could also improve palatability and would not remove much of the nutrition.

The chocolate-covered bar (we tested the plain one) had a better appearance; still, we need a little different look to want to eat these. Another thought is to reduce the size so you could eat the item more easily. Think Products already has thought of this, we discovered, and offers 15g mini bars. That may not be as compelling a message, but it would be easier to chew down a “mini”-think5, which could be eaten like a snack treat, instead of the big bar.

Rating: OK. The execution sure is gutsy.
Market potential: The idea is swell. These guys are picking up a lot of consumer needs. People will copy them – but not quite

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