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Myvegan, Trek and Pulsin vegan protein bars

The best vegan protein bars tried and tested

Published: May 5, 2022 at 12:30 pm
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We put the top plant-based protein bars and brownies to the test to find the best ones to buy.

Packed with muscle-maintaining protein, convenient and filling, protein bars are a quick and easy on-the-go option for athletes, gym goers and anyone who wants to increase their protein intake.

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We tested the most popular protein bars and snacks on the market, and asked our nutritionist for her tips on how to include them in your diet safely. Read on to see her advice.

Once you’ve researched whether a protein supplement is right for you, discover which protein bars are best. You might also enjoy our review of the best vegan protein powders.

For over 400 buyer’s guides, visit our product reviews section, where you’ll find more health-related reviews, including fitness trackers, kombucha and meal prep containers.

Best vegan protein bars at a glance

  • Best all-round vegan protein bar: Protein Works Ridiculous wild chocolate peanut vegan protein bar, £43.49
  • Best vegan protein bar as a dessert: Bulk Double Chocolate protein brownie, £1.99
  • Best all-natural vegan protein bar: Vive Natural Protein peanut butter snack bar, £17
  • Best tasting vegan protein bar: MyVegan Choc Orange Pea-Nut Square, £15.99
  • Best for refuelling after exercise: Trek Power Peanut Butter Crunch, £1.75 
  • Best vegan protein bar for filling up: Pulsin Peanut Choc protein bar, £32.22 
  • Best low-sugar, high-fibre protein bar: Misfits Chocolate Brownie vegan protein bar, £20
  • Best high-protein bar: Veloforte Anytime Energy Bar mocha, £22.99
  • Best low-sugar option: Free Soul vegan protein bar chocolate brownie, £20

Best vegan protein bars 2022

A box of vegan protein bars on a white background

Protein Works Ridiculous wild chocolate peanut vegan protein bar

Best all-round vegan protein bar

  • Protein per serving: 15g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 197 kcals
  • Type of protein: soy protein isolate, pea protein
  • Type of sweetener: stevia
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 10g (0.8g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 8.1g

This bar ticked all the boxes. It’s an attractive, multi-layered bar with a seam of caramel running through the top and chunks of crunchy peanuts and crispy soy protein nuggets to add texture. It has a lovely peanut flavour and a smooth coating that tastes like milk chocolate. There was an ever so slightly bitter aftertaste (which is very common with vegan protein bars), but it didn’t detract from an overall enjoyable eat.

A box of 18 bars costs £43.49, working out at £2.41 per bar. It’s gluten-free, too.

Available from Protein Works (£43.49 for 18)

Bulk Double Chocolate protein brownie

Best vegan protein bar as a dessert

  • Protein per serving: 15g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 227 kcals
  • Type of protein: pea protein, hydrolysed wheat protein, soy protein
  • Type of sweetener: oat syrup, brown sugar, date syrup
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 25g (11g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 3g

This brownie packs an impressive protein punch into each snack, along with some sugar, which is on the higher side, but definitely a good option as a treat. It has a really fudgy texture, like a perfectly underbaked brownie, and is dense and slightly chewy, with lovely rich chocolate chips sprinkled on top. There is a very slight bitter aftertaste but dark chocolate fans will enjoy that. Overall, we found this brownie to be excellent – it’d make for a really satisfying after-dinner dessert.

Buy a box of 12 brownies for £21.99 – that’s £1.83 per brownie.

Available from Bulk (£1.99 each)

A vegan protein bar on a white background

Vive Natural Protein peanut butter snack bar

Best all-natural vegan protein bar

  • Protein per serving: 10g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 215 kcals
  • Type of protein: pea, peanuts, rice
  • Type of sweetener: Organic cane sugar, grape juice concentrate, dates
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 14g (11g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 6.8g

As self-confessed peanut butter fanatics, we had a very good feeling about this one and it didn’t disappoint. The first thing to note is the lovely smooth coating, made using 74% Belgian dark chocolate, which makes the bar feel like a real treat. The filling is densely packed and very rich – it’s full of chunky peanuts, crispy protein bites, cocoa butter and, of course, smooth peanut butter.

With 11g per serving, it’s higher in sugar than some other offerings, as organic cane sugar is used in place of sweetener, but it’s a good choice if you’d rather avoid sweeteners. Vive have focused on natural ingredients in their bars, and the ingredients list is reassuringly recognisable.

A box of 12 bars costs £17, working out at £1.42 per bar.

Available from Vive (£17 for 12)

A vegan protein bar on a white background

MyVegan Choc Orange Pea-Nut Square

Best tasting vegan protein bar

  • Protein per serving: 12g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 233 kcals
  • Type of protein: pea protein, peanuts, rice
  • Type of sweetener: Organic cane sugar, grape juice concentrate, dates
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 13g (8.3g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 6.8g

If you're partial to a chocolate orange, you'll get on well with this bar. Orange oil provides the citrus flavouring to great effect – it’s natural and zingy without being overpowering. In terms of texture, the bar is quite solid and dense, like tiffin, and studded throughout with chopped peanuts and generous chunks of chocolate. Overall, very enjoyable and satisfying.

A box of 12 costs £15.99, working out at £1.33 each.

Available from MyVegan (£15.99 for 12)

A vegan peanut butter protein bar on a white background

Trek Power Peanut Butter Crunch

Best for refuelling after exercise

  • Protein per serving: 15.5g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 229 kcals
  • Type of protein: soya protein isolate, peanut flour
  • Type of sweetener: dates, glucose syrup, cane sugar, date syrup, fruit juice concentrate
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 14.9g (10.5g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 6.6g

Providing 15.5g protein in each bar, along with 10.5g sugar and 229 kcals, this would be a great option for refuelling after exercise or during a hike. It does taste sweet but not overly so, and it has a rich, melting peanut butter texture with a smattering of crunchy, crispy pieces for good measure – the effect is more like a traditional cereal bar than some of the others. It’s partly sweetened with fruit juice concentrate from grapes and apples, and that comes through pleasantly in the taste.

These bars RRP at £1.75.

Available from: Sainsbury's (£1.75) Holland & Barrett (£2.25) Tesco (£1.75)

A vegan protein bar on a white background

Pulsin Peanut Choc protein bar

Best vegan protein bar for filling up

  • Protein per serving: 12.1g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 231 kcals
  • Type of protein: peanut flour, pea protein
  • Type of sweetener: xylitol
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 12.1g (7.6g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 5.5g

This bar contains protein from peanut and pea sources. The ingredients have been packed together to create quite a heavy little bar studded with chopped peanuts and dark chocolate chips. The texture is fairly chewy, making it a really satisfying snack. It’s not too sweet and is seriously filling – a real hunger killer.

A box of 18 bars costs £32.22, coming out at £1.79 per bar.

Available from: Pulsin (£32.22 for 18) Amazon (£29.90 for 18)

MISFITS_Dark Choc Brownie Bar_£20Box_

Misfits Chocolate Brownie vegan protein bar

Best low-sugar, high-fibre protein bar

  • Protein per serving: 15g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 186 kcals
  • Type of protein: pea protein isolate, soya protein nuggets
  • Type of sweetener: stevia
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 8.6g (1g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 8g

Triple-layered and chocolate coated, this bar packs in the protein and fibre, with less than 1g sugar. It has a very deep, rich cocoa flavour with a smooth chocolate coating and crisp, crunchy protein pieces mixed throughout the filling. A layer of caramel at the top adds a touch of sweetness. The texture is a little crumbly and on the drier side, making it a lighter option if you don’t want to feel too full.

A box of 12 bars is £20, working out at £1.66 each. These bars are also gluten-free.

Available from: Misfits (£20 for 12) Amazon (£18 for 12)

Velaforte protein bar

Veloforte Anytime Energy Bar mocha

Best high-protein bar

  • Protein per serving: 10.3g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 310 kcals
  • Type of protein: hazelnuts, pea protein, brown rice protein
  • Type of sweetener: dates, cane sugar, brown rice syrup
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 37.2g (25.3g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 4.8g

A truly delicious option, this is like eating a dense, fudgy brownie with a pleasing coffee kick, and it provides a respectable 10g protein from plant sources. It’s naturally sweetened with dates, cane sugar and brown rice syrup, but the sugar content is on the higher side. Overall, this would be a good energy-boosting option to refuel and recover after intense exercise, such as a long cycle, run or hike.

A box of 9 bars is £22.99, working out at £2.55 each. These bars are also gluten-free.

Available from Veloforte (£22.99 for 9)

Free Soul vegan protein bar chocolate brownie

Free Soul vegan protein bar chocolate brownie

Best low-sugar option

  • Protein per serving: 15g per bar
  • Calories per serving: 158 kcals
  • Type of protein: Soy protein isolate, hydrolysed wheat protein, pea protein isolate
  • Type of sweetener: Maltitol, maltodextrin, steviol glycosides
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 16.6g (0.3g sugar)
  • Fibre per serving: 5.6g

A tasty layer bar with a rich texture and an indulgent feel. Covered in a generous layer of chocolate, this has a ripple of caramel at the top, adding a nice touch of sweetness without being sickly. Clocking in at an impressive 0.3g sugar, this is a great option if you want to dodge added sugar – though it’s worth noting that it does contain artificial sweeteners for taste.

A box of 12 bars is £20, working out at £1.66 each.

Available from Free Soul (£20 for 12)

Protein health advice

How to use protein supplements safely

Dietary supplements such as protein bars should be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet and not used as a substitute for whole food.

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens explains, ‘Protein supplements, such as bars, are highly processed and lack the micronutrients and other beneficial nutrients of whole, natural food. We should all aim to achieve our protein requirements from a well-balanced diet, but for short-term use or in certain circumstances, protein supplementation may be considered.’

Although protein bars may have healthier credentials than a chocolate bar, it’s important to remember that they’re a concentrated source of energy and can be high in sugar, carbohydrates and fats. Consider your individual health and fitness goals, your personal dietary requirements and your reason for including protein bars in your diet when deciding which product to buy and how often to eat it.

Look into how to eat a balanced diet and the best protein sources, including options for vegetarians and vegans.

Who could benefit from using a protein supplement?

If you’re getting enough protein from your diet, adding a supplement might not make a noticeable difference to your health. However, those who are either unable to regularly eat enough protein due to decreased appetite or illness, or who have increased protein needs as a result of high-intensity exercise might benefit from taking a supplement.

Kerry explains, ‘One example, which is probably not an obvious one, is the elderly. This group often has a greater need for protein but a lower appetite. Increasing protein intake in a form that is palatable and suits their lowered appetite may be effective in protecting against muscle loss. That said, in this group other aspects, such as kidney health and osteoporosis, need to be considered and monitored – it’s worth checking with a GP that protein supplements are safe and suitable for each individual.’

Who shouldn’t take protein supplements?

Children shouldn’t take protein supplements unless directed by a dietitian. The NHS advises that consuming too much protein in the long-term is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis and may worsen existing kidney problems. Some people find protein bars difficult to digest – it’s best to include them gradually into your diet and see how you get on. Although allergens should be stated on the label, anyone with allergies should be cautious about using a new supplement, as there is an obvious risk of cross-contamination in factories. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or being treated for existing medical conditions should consult their GP before starting new supplements.

Is it possible to take too much protein?

Yes. The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55g for men and 45g for women). Always read the label of any protein supplement carefully, stick to the recommended serving size, and be mindful of other protein sources in your diet. If you’re concerned that you might be consuming too much protein, speak to your GP.

Buyer's advice

How to choose a protein bar

Choosing a suitable protein bar will depend on your personal requirements and goals. For example, if you’re looking to gain weight or build muscle, you might want to consider a ‘mass-gainer’ product that is higher in calories and carbohydrates. Look for a product to fit your dietary requirements and double-check allergen labelling on the packet.
When choosing a protein bar, make sure that you buy from a reputable company, ideally based in Europe, as those outside of Europe may not pass the same safety standards as those within. If you’re in any doubt about the safety of a product, speak to your pharmacist or GP.

What we looked for in protein bars

Taste and texture: is the flavour pleasant? Is the texture palatable?
Type of protein: pea, brown rice, hemp, peanut, soya, or another plant-based protein?
Nutrient profile: how much protein per serving? What about calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugars?
Type of sweetener: does it contain sugars, artificial sweetener or neither?
Dietary requirements: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free?
Value for money: how does it compare to others on a cost-per-bar basis?

Testing notes

All bars were taste tested on the same day, with notes made according to the testing criteria. We included 25 samples from a range of manufacturers with differing nutritional information, protein types and price points for this review.

Related content

The best vegan protein powders
Best sources of protein
The best sources of protein for vegetarians
The best sources of protein for vegans
What to eat for a workout
Sports nutrition: what's worth trying?

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This review was last updated in May 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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