AWAKE Caffeine Granola Bars

Awake energy chocolate caramel granola nutrition review cover photo

100 mg caffeine | B Vitamins | Certified Gluten-Free

Net carbs: 23 g      Added sugars: 11 g

Overall rating: 🤢🤮💀



Bad. Very bad. It tastes like quaker oatmeal packs mixed with aluminum and freeze-dried berries. The chocolate flavor barely makes an appearance.

Maybe the caffeine makes good flavor harder to achieve. My theory is that the manufacturers market-tested a bunch of prototypes and realized that people who want to eat caffeine don’t give a shit about flavor. 

I could approach a functional food like this with lower standards on flavor because that’s not the main purpose of this product. Where’s the integrity in that, though??

Ben Franklin said we should never sacrifice freedom for security. Likewise, we should never sacrifice flavor for extra nutritional functionality in our food. 

This is energy bar fails completely on flavor.


Packaging appeal

These look lively and appealing. The owl is a good mascot for a caffeine brand. And it’s important to put the text in all caps because we all know lowercase letters are lazy.

Awake primarily markets its bars to young people who need energy and kinda care about their health. Most college students, in other words. If you’re tired, dragging yourself from midterm to midterm, this cracked out bird might be just the inspiration you need to keep pushing. 

Shoppers always enjoy having a window to see the food through. Having a picture of the product just isn’t the same. People want to see what they’re eating for real before they buy. 

This product needs to appear healthy, so it’s especially important to show people the product. Transparency – both literal and figurative – sells in the health food category. 


Ingredient quality

What the fuck is fancy molasses? What differentiates it from working-class molasses? I don’t like marketing language in ingredient statements. 

Yeah, this is bad. Invert sugar, regular sugar, and brown rice syrup are all unnecessary sweeteners. And I’m confused by this choice because there are dates in here.

Dates make all other sweeteners irrelevant IMHO. Just remove all the garbage and use more dates. 

And AWAKE knows it’s bad! They put the ingredient statement on a crinkly section of the wrapper, making it even harder to read the 8 pt font ingredient statement. Tiny white text on a crinkly section of a glossy wrapper sounds like text that is designed not to be read.

With all the sweeteners and soy-based fillers, this is a product I would call fake healthy candy. Except it doesn’t taste good enough to be considered candy. It’s just a food-esque slab serving as a caffeine delivery vehicle.


Company practices

Functional foods are a good thing. People are adding all sorts of adaptogens, nootropics, probiotics, and extra supplements to their food, and I’m all for it. I’ve even started exploring the possibility of adding psilocybin to Dirtballs once it’s legal in Oregon. 

But, as I said before, one shouldn’t have to suffer through some awful semisweet cardboard to get their nutrients. Any decent overpaid marketing firm will tell you that when it comes to food, consumers care about the flavor. 

Unfortunately, this is a caffeinated candy company that just made a new product line in the energy bar category. People perceive oat-based bars as healthy, and this is a way for them to dupe health-conscious shoppers. 

The sweeteners, along with the caffeine will get people even more addicted to this product. It’s a morally questionable, but economically sound strategy. 



Wow, I do not feel good after eating that. I think my gut biome can instantly detect all the junk in it. I’m instantly overcome with mild nausea and more acute existential dread than usual after eating this. 

The small size makes it pretty snackable, but god help anyone who accidentally feeds one of these to their kids. 

If you’re in need of an extra energy boost, just skip this and take a nap. Maybe spend less time binge-watching Netflix and eating junk food late at night. 


Overall, Awake Energy Granola Bars get a rating of 🤢🤮💀

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