So I had promised to do a head-to-head-to-head comparison of Quest bars vs. the two new kids on the block, VPX’s Life Lift bar and ISS’s Victory bar. These two bars have clearly positioned themselves in direct competition with Quest. Before they were recently introduced, Quest had essentially zero threats in the form of any bar with a similar nutritional profile. These new entrants are both trying to appeal to a much more health conscious consumer, particularly the fitness enthusiast and bodybuilding crowd.
Here are some of the key similarities:
- Calories are in the range of 160-200
- Loads of prebiotic fiber (15-20g)
- Very high quality protein sources
- Low in fat
- Low sugar and low net impact carbs
Of the three, the Victory bar easily falls to the bottom of my list. I don’t think they taste particularly good (I actually dislike them), the texture/consistency is not right (too soft and ‘mushy’), and the nutrient profile just doesn’t hold up to the other two. There are too many ‘extra’ ingredients to make these bars truly healthy and close to a whole food substitute, I think the fiber source is inferior to the IMO in the other two bars (both nutritionally and for what it contributes to texture), and there’s more sugar than either of the other two.
In terms of Quest vs. Life Lift, Quest still comes out on top. Quest bars just have so much better flavor and texture/consistency. They’ve done a fantastic job perfecting that side of the equation. Life Lift bars aren’t terrible in that department, but they certainly are inferior, in my opinion of course. With respect to the nutrient profiles, they are actually quite comparable. Both have minimal amounts of ingredients compared to other bars. The protein sources are almost identical, as is the fiber source. Isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) is a really fantastic fiber source with a whole host of benefits. If you don’t know about it, I suggest looking it up or ask me about it. They both have healthy fats and little-to-no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Unfortunately for VPX, it’s going to take some serious R&D to be able to match Quest’s execution. I don’t mind eating the Life Lift bars, but Quest has managed to make theirs taste heavenly. Combined with an advantage as first entrant into this space and the tremendous amount of brand equity and reputation they’ve built, I don’t think anyone will unseat them anytime soon.
If you have any specific questions about the ingredients in these bars, feel free to reach out to me.