These are a basic bar that don't excel in any particular category. The taste and texture are both well below average and the nutritional composition leaves a lot to be desired. The price point is however good for a 90g high protein bar.
- High protein
- Low Carb
- Reasonably priced
- Inferior soy protein used
- Taste is well below standard
- Texture is unpleasant
Musashi High Protein bars are manufactured in New Zealand and are readily available on the Australian market. They are a high protein and low carb bar available in five flavours.
Nutrition & Directions
As a high protein bar, it's not surprising that number one on the ingredients list is the "Musashi High Protein Blend", equating to 55% of the total ingredient weight, comprising of collagen protein, calcium caseinate, soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate and soy protein nuggets.
Collagen protein is on trend at the moment and has a very different amino acid profile. Most notably it is very low in leucine relative to both casein and whey, though collagen is very high in glycine and proline which may have benefits to hair, skin, nails and connective tissues. This and casein comes in at first and second on the list (variable between flavours).
However oddly enough, soy protein isolate is listed third and this is a protein that most manufacturers avoid. It is a cheaper and lower quality protein source relative to whey protein and it is unfortunate to see it having a strong presence in the makeup. Note soy protein isolate makes another appearance in the soy protein nuggets.
Being marketed as a high protein bar and likely appealing to an audience seeking to gain muscle, soy protein is not a desirable ingredient and I am confused as to why it is included in here at all. Relative to whey there is a lower bioavailability and has been shown in a number of studies to be inferior to whey for muscle protein synthesis.
There are some other ingredients in here worth noting. Maltitol, a sugar alcohol is used within the "No added sugar milk chocolate" as a sweetening agent for the chocolate component. The bar is also artificially sweetened with sucralose.
Overall the makeup is nothing to get excited about. There are some good components (notably the casein and whey protein), but with soy being so highly prevalent in a bar that touts "45g of protein per serve", I feel like that this "Advanced protein blend" is a little confused.
Per serve we are looking at 45.5g of protein - WOW. Is that a good thing though? If you haven't eaten all day long then perhaps. But honestly, this is a very average product in terms of nutritional makeup. With the abundance of inferior soy protein, this product is going to appeal to a more general fitness audience who most likely don't need 45g of protein per serve.
It's low carb (2.6g of carb per bar) and moderately low fat (6.8g per bar). The carbohydrate count is quite impressive for a bar, and will appeal to someone looking to cut carbs from their diet. Each bar is 337 calories, which is relatively high for a bar, but again will appeal more to the person looking to gain.
The good thing about Musashi is that they don't make outlandish claims, and this is certainly the case with these bars. But the label is far from transparent when we compare it to other similar products on the market.
They do specify the total percentage of some of the key ingredients in the ingredients list. For example, the "Musashi High Protein Blend" constitutes 55% and the "No Added Sugar Milk Chocolate" at 18%. Unfortunately though, that's it and the remaining ingredients are quite ambiguous as to their relative amounts.
Further, they use blends on the ingredients listing which limits our understanding of how much of each individual ingredient is actually in the product. The protein blend is listed as ingredient 1, but there are then 6 sub-ingredients. We ultimately do not know if the collagen (or casein depending on the flavour) protein is actually the most abundant ingredient in the product overall. Further, as soy protein isolate is listed twice, it may be possible that there is more total soy protein isolate than calcium caseinate (or collagen) in total.
Directions & Servings
The packet recommends having the bar as a "protein hit post-workout, or as a powerful nutritious snack on the go".
I disagree with this statement and in my opinion, this is not a good product to consume post workout being so low in whey protein and so relatively high in fat as compared to a whey protein shake.
On the go on the other hand is fine as one would expect for a protein bar. I'm not convinced about the "powerful nutritious snack" - it's really just protein mixed in with a bunch of other ingredients.
Taste & Texture
There are five flavours available; rocky road, dark chocolate salted caramel, milk choc brownie, choc nut and cookies & cream. This ranks the product in the top 7% of the category, yielding full marks.
Let's start with the cookies & cream. The initial hit of chocolate is quite strong, followed by a creamy hit. But then you get very artificial and quite unpleasant aftertaste hit.
The milk chocolate brownie is unfortunately very unpleasant. It seems like it hasn't been sweetened enough and again has a really strong artificial taste to it. It somewhat resembles a chocolate brownie, but a really poorly made one where they forgot half the ingredients.
The dark choc salted caramel is sweeter and has a strong salted caramel note that hits right after the initial chocolate. However again, there is an extraordinarily strong artificial aftertaste that lingers.
The milk chocolate nut flavour does have a nuttiness about it (perhaps a hint of almond), but it does not really taste like milk chocolate. Once again, this one tastes very artificial.
The taste profile on these bars are very unimpressive as compared to other protein bars on the market. They remind me of what protein bars used to taste like fifteen years ago - which is not all that good.
If I had to rank these flavours from top to bottom, I'd have to start with milk choc nut, then cookies & cream, dark choc salted caramel and then the milk chocolate brownie. However, do note that I did not particularly enjoy any of these flavours.
Unfortunately I did not have the rocky road available to sample.
When looking at our customer reviews, while the bars have an average rating of 92%, they rank in the bottom 49%.
Flavour Rating Consistency
While the Rocky Road actually comes in at full marks from our customers, the cookies and cream is down at 92%. An 8% difference in flavour ratings ranks this product in the top 48% of bars that we carry.
Solubility & Texture
Coming back to the protein bars of yesteryear, these bars coat your mouth and stick to your teeth. It really is not a pleasant texture.
The cookies & cream and milk choc nut flavours are of a reasonable softness, but the salted caramel and chocolate brownie flavours are unpleasantly tough at room temperature.
Unfortunately I cannot recommend these bars based on texture.
The bars are popular coming in within the top percentile within the protein bar category, so full marks here.
Rate of Repurchase
Whilst the bars are quite popular, they don't perform nearly as well when it comes to the rate of repurchase being positioned at 69% within the bar category.
The Musashi High Protein bars average 92% from our customers which places them in the bottom 48% of the category when we rank the bars relative to the other product ratings.
Value for Money
Each bar comes individually wrapped in a plastic/foil wrapper. Being a single serve, this is as one would expect and ideal for convenience. There is also a cardboard box for each lot of 12.
We weighed two random bars, both of which advertise 90g on the label. The first (chocolate brownie) came out at 86g and the second (cookies & cream) weighed in at 91g.
There's a reason why these bars are so popular and it's because they are well priced at below $4 per bar.
For a 90g (or thereabouts) high protein bar, this is cheap and generally what you would expect for a smaller weight loss bar (of half the weight). It also explains why cheaper ingredients may have been used (such as the soy protein) to keep manufacturing costs down, while still being able to advertise such a high protein content.
For what they are, this a reasonable price. This is not a product with premium ingredients and so you would expect a competitive price. But besides just looking at the objective fact that this is a "protein bar", I would happily pay more for a bar where I could actually enjoy the taste and texture.
This is a reasonably priced bar with a high protein and low carbohydrate content. And whilst this is a popular product, it misses the mark on several points. The nutritional makeup is substandard, the taste falls well short and the texture is far from what you would expect from such an established brand.
If you just want a protein hit and don't care for taste, then this may be a good cost-effective option for you. For most of us however, this bar is frankly not going to hit the mark.