The Aptonia Vegetal 35 is a nominally vegetarian recovery bar, designed for post-ride consumption to provide the necessary macronutrients for recovery. To that end, the bars make use of soya proteins instead of the whey or milk proteins often found in other recovery products, including Aptonia's own Protein 35 bars which we've previously reviewed.
Each 50g bar (yes, the name is somewhat misleading) provides a substantial 17.5g of protein and 21g of carbohydrates which is on par with similar bars and should be plenty to kickstart the recovery process immediately after a ride. In addition to those key macronutrients, each bar contains 0.5g of salt and 0.42mg of Vitamin B6, 40% of your recommended daily allowance.
The ingredients list is pretty long, a good indication that it is a highly processed product and probably not something you want to be snacking on in between meals. More worryingly though, the disclaimer at the end of the list indicates that the bar isn't guaranteed to be free from shellfish, fish and molluscs, among other things (see below for the full list), which is obviously a big problem for a product claiming to be vegetarian friendly. Indeed, this fact alone means that it can't be recommended for the very group of people it is designed for.
With its vegetarian credentials in tatters, is the Vegetal 35 a bar that the rest of us can still enjoy? Well, from a taste point of view, it's actually pretty good and very similar to what you'd expect from a normal cereal bar. You could hardly describe the cranberry flavour as natural, but it isn't so sweet that it is overpowering either. Unlike a cereal bar, however, the Vegetal 35 has a much higher protein content making it much more suitable post-exercise.
Personally, I prefer a more substantial bar than the puffed rice Vegetal 35 when I get in from a ride. I want something that will leave me satisfied as I collapse into the couch.
At just under a pound per bar when bought in a pack of 5, the Vegetal 35 is very good value when measured against most other recovery or protein bars on the market. Some will be tempted to compare it to a cheaper cereal bars, but as mentioned previously, from a macronutrient point of view, they are really quite different.
Good value option for post-ride recovery, but not as vegetarian as it's supposed to be
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Aptonia Vegetal 35 bars
Size tested: 5x50g Red Fruits
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A recovery bar designed for vegetarians, a quick scan of the ingredients list reveals that each bar may contain traces of "shellfish", "fish" and "molluscs" amongst other things. Obviously then, it doesn't really satisfy its intended target market.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Soya proteins, glucose-fructose syrup, cranberries (7.6%), stabiliser: sorbitol, glycerol, soya, oligofructose, sugar, fructose, starch, crunchy cereals with proteins (pea proteins, rice flour), rice flour, fructose syrup, apple concentrate, vegetable oils, thickener: gum arabic, flavouring, apple puree concentrate, salt, emulsifiers: soya lecithin, sucrose esters of fatty acids, roasted barley malt extract (gluten), glucose syrup, vitamin B6, antioxidant: alphatocopherol
May contain traces of: shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, nuts, sulphur anhydride and sulphites, sesame, mustard, celery, lupine and molluscs
Per bar 50g
Energy: 178kcal - 752kJ
of which saturates: 0.3g
of which sugars: 13g
Vitamin B6: 0.42mg (30%)
Vegetarian credentials aside, the Vegetal 35 is pleasant tasting, if unspectacular. Some people may prefer something more substantial for a post-ride recovery bar.
Very good value compared to the competition.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Warning of potential contamination pretty much rules out its intended market.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I'd opt for something a bit heavier (think chocolate) for a recovery bar.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 22 Height: 190cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.