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Skratch Labs Sport Vegan Recovery Mix is a tasty and easy-to-digest recovery drink, which helps to restore the fuel in your body after a long or intense ride. It's rather expensive, though.
We reviewed Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix about five years ago, and now there's a bang-up-to-date vegan version, but what makes it different?
It's a similar proposition, being that it's a recovery drink designed to help you, well, recover after a particular long or arduous ride. The key difference between this new version and the old one is that it replaces the dairy milk with plant-based proteins and fats, in this case pea and rice protein, and medium chain triglycerides (derived from coconut).
That aside, they're very comparable. Looking at the ingredients list of the chocolate dairy version, for the closest comparison to the vegan chocolate version (which is the only flavour you can get), they both contain cane sugar, cocoa powder and cocoa extract, salt, and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 (probiotic) which is added to help ease the digestion process.
In terms of raw numbers, the vegan version contains a higher number of calories – 230 versus 200, 6g of fat versus 3.5g, 500mg of sodium versus 270mg, 40g of carbs versus 35g, 3g of fibre versus less than 1g, and 10g of protein versus 8g. In terms of vitamins, the vegan version has 4mg of iron versus 1.7 for dairy, though there's only 61mg of calcium and 81mg of potassium compared with the dairy at version at 255mg and 392mg respectively.
All told, it's fair to say the vegan version is more potent than the dairy one in terms of the numbers that matter. Interestingly, they both had about the same amount of sugars (34g for plant-based versus 33g for dairy) but the vegan version has 34g of added sugars, while the dairy one only has 22g of added sugars.
Like the dairy version, the vegan product is a two-scoop affair. Add this to about 350ml of water, shake it up, and you're good to go. I found that using a blender helped to create a smoother drink without lumps, even though Skratch says you don't need to.
My prior experience with recovery drinks, especially the type that prioritises protein over anything else, is they tend to be a bit sickly and overly sweet. With the Sport Vegan Recovery Mix I was pleasantly surprised by how palatable it is, with a flavour profile that reminds me of consuming far too many Nesquik chocolate drinks as a child. Yes, it's still a bit sweeter than I would ideally like (34g of added sugars is a bit too much in one serving), but it's very easy to drink, and unlike some products that give me stomach issues after exercise, I had zero problems with this recovery drink.
Back to the nutrition side of things for a moment – after a workout I typically have a protein drink (or some kind of protein-biased snack) containing about 20g of plant-based protein (with another 8g on top from combining it with soy milk).
I was a little disappointed to find that you only get 10g from the Sport Vegan Recovery Mix, which to me doesn't seem like much. However, it's important to note that Skratch Labs clarifies this by stating that 'the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio speeds up recovery faster than protein alone by replacing your glycogen stores'.
At the end of the day, the goal with this kind of product is to prioritise recovery over muscle building, although Skratch Labs does add that the 'pea and rice protein provide the complete essential amino acid profile to accelerate muscle repair and growth'. So although you're not getting big numbers, you're getting the best kind of protein for your body, delivered in a more effective way.
Sadly, I don't have access to a private test lab with a few pro cyclists to test the before and after effects of the Skratch Labs Sport Vegan Recovery Mix, so you'll have to make do with my anecdote. I drank a serving almost immediately after exercise – on two occasions after a local 20-mile lunchtime loop that I like to ride as hard as I can, and after two 60-plus-mile gravel events. Although the drink didn't appear to make me feel any less tired on the same day, the following day I noticed that I felt better than I normally would, to the point where I would even consider riding again.
Each 708g bag is good for 12 servings, according to Skratch Labs, and at £36.95 it works out at about £3 per drink, which is on the expensive side, in my mind.
As tends to be the case with vegan products, in my experience anyway, the vegan version of the same product is more expensive, and that's certainly the case here.
If you were to opt for the regular version, which costs £33.95 for the same 12-serving bag, it works out at £2.83 per drink. That still seems expensive to me, but it's cheaper than the vegan version.
Yes, it's more expensive, but its 3:1 carbs to protein ratio gives you a higher carb rating at 47g, and a significantly higher protein rating of 24g. There's no added sugar, either.
Though Skratch Labs Sport Vegan Recovery Mix might not have the highest protein numbers, which could potentially put some people off who obsess over those post-workout numbers, it does have a good amount of carbs, and it's those that are the key factor in helping you restore your glycogen stores, so your body can recover. It's an expensive way to do so, mind, so if convenience isn't something you care about, you could get the same 4:1 carbs to protein simply by eating a combination of certain whole foods (an apple and some peanut butter, for instance).
Convenient but pricey way to effectively recover after a hard ride
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Skratch Labs Sport Vegan Recovery Mix (708g)
Size tested: 708g
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?
Skratch Labs says, "Our Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix is intended for use immediately after exercise, especially when that bout of exercise leaves you feeling hungry, when you don't have a meal made from scratch readily available, and when you want to fast track the recovery process.
Skratch Labs Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix provides the proper balance of plant-based proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to speed your recovery. It offers the same nutritional profile as our dairy milk-based sport recovery mix, just vegan.
Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix is for vegan athletes who need something delicious and convenient to drink immediately after emptying the tank in long, hard workouts, we created Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix. When you shake up this frothy, smooth drink, its chocolatey aroma may just conjure up memories of opening your favorite candy bar as a kid. You'll taste the robust cocoa flavor that comes from real chocolate and the delicious sweetness of cane sugar. As with all of Skratch products, our Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix does not contain any artificial sweeteners or flavoring agents, something rare in the vegan protein space.
Made with only plant-based protein, a serving of Vegan Recovery Sport Drink Mix has what you need to rapidly refuel, rehydrate, and rebuild so you can go big again tomorrow. Its 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio speeds up recovery faster than protein alone by replacing your glycogen stores. The 10 grams of pea and rice protein provide the complete essential amino acid profile to accelerate muscle repair and growth, plus 1 billion probiotic cultures to support digestive health. This vegan protein mix is delicious, easy to drink, and easy on the gut.
And ya, it's Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Kosher too."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cane Sugar, Dextrose, Pea Protein, Medium Chain Triglycerides (Derived from Coconut), Cocoa Powder, Rice Protein, Cocoa Extract, Gum Acacia, Salt, Vanilla Extract, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 (Probiotic)
Resealable bag with a scoop included.
Delivers a decent amount of carbs in a 4:1 ratio, though some might think the protein a little low.
Cheaper per serving than Torq Recovery Drink, though that delivers a higher carb rating and a significantly higher protein rating.
Eating whole foods might not be as convenient, but it's a lot cheaper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good taste, easy to drink, and seemed to help with recovery.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A lot of added sugar.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's expensive. Torq Recovery Drink (the Creamy Cocoa vegan version) costs more at £3.66 per drink (versus £3 for the Skratch Labs), but if you favour a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, you might prefer the Torq.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, it's too expensive.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's good: an easy way to help in recovering after a hard ride. It tastes good and doesn't cause any stomach issues, but it'll cost you.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,