In the ever-evolving world of fitness and nutrition, finding the perfect protein bar can be an arduous task. Amidst a sea of options, Kirkland Protein Bars have emerged as a steadfast contender. No doubt you've stumbled across these bars at your local Costco or rummaging through your parents' pantry. It's the low-cost nature of this protein bar that makes it so popular, which begs the question...are Kirkland Protein Bars really one of the tastiest, most nutritious snacks out there? And if so, are these bars actually good for you?
In this Kirkland Protein Bars review, we'll be exploring their flavors, composition, and overall nutritional value, to uncover why they have garnered such a loyal following among health-conscious individuals. And let's be honest, how reliable is the local gym bro's or the Costco cashier's word when it comes to what you're putting into your body? After all, it's important to know what you're consuming and if it is actually healthy or not.
Lucky for you, we've done all the digging! After taking a deep dive into their ingredients and nutritional value, here's our honest review of Kirkland Protein Bars and how they stack up to the competition.
If you’re a regular Costco shopper, then chances are you’ve seen these bars in the checkout aisle.
The Kirkland Signature brand is known for being an affordable yet high-quality product, and its whey protein isolate bars are no exception. What many don't realize is that the Kirkland Brand often uses a strategy of private labeling most their products. They seek out category bests (like Grey Goose) and simply slap their Signature branding on it...same product, just different packaging.
As for the Kirkland protein bars, it's most likely that Costco is manufacturing these on their own. They've actually transitioned many of their most successful private label products to be self manufactured which helps them save money and offer it at such a low cost. Offered in packs of twenty at a price range of about $30-$35 per box, these bars are actually quite accessible when compared to other options in the snack aisle.
The Kirkland protein bars are certified Kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, and all-natural. They use a blend of whey, milk, and soy protein which are certainly not in the premium category in terms of nutrition, but, you get what you pay for. The main value prop of these bars is to provide you with sustained energy as an on-the-go snack. The bars come in 4 appealing flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream, and Chocolate Brownie.
Nutrition-wise, the bars are also pretty impressive from a macro standpoint as they contain 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and only 2 grams of sugar per bar. At first glance the macros make them appear to be an excellent snack for those who want to get their protein in without relying on sugar or processed ingredients. But, looking at just the macros is not an effective way to tell if the bars are actually good for you so let's dig deeper and see what we uncover.
Before taking a closer look let's examine some of the pros and cons that we gathered at first glance. If you’re in a hurry and simply looking for a quick and easy snack that packs a nutritional punch but isn't too hard on your wallet, then Kirkland Protein Bars are a great choice! But, if you're a more discerning health-conscious human you'll want to keep reading to discover why there's more to these bars than just a good price.
Now that you have a basic overview of the bars, let’s take a closer look at the different aspects.
Indulging in a protein bar shouldn't feel like a chore, and Kirkland Protein Bars understand that. When it comes to taste and texture, these bars effortlessly excel, making each bite a delightfully satisfying experience.
The Kirkland Protein Bars have a soft yet pliable texture, making them easy to bite into and chew. When you take that first bite, you'll immediately notice their intense sweetness. That's because the bar is basically made of sugar just in different forms (stevia, erythritol, IMOs, and corn fiber). That's 5 different types of sweeteners in a single bar!!!
Depending on your chosen flavor, you might even get small chunks of chocolate or nuts for some added crunchy goodness.
These protein bars have a dessert-like taste that is satisfying and filling. For those sensitive to intense sweetness, these bars are definitely on the sweet side – but never too much so that it becomes cloying or overwhelming. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll likely thing they provide just the right balance of sweetness, but it was overpowering for our personal preferences and had an unnatural taste to it.
If you can get past the sweet taste, the high protein content and cheap price might be worth it compared to other low cost bars. If the ultra-processed proteins and sugars don't completely ruin your gut, it may be enough protein to get you through the hunger pangs in the middle of the day. With 21 grams of protein per bar, they're sure to give that extra boost when you need it most. And the 10 grams of dietary fiber should help with satiety, leaving you satisfied without an overly bloated feeling afterward, unless you have a dairy intolerance which would be a red flag due to the milk and whey proteins.
Overall, Kirkland Protein Bars are a cheap protein bar with a taste that appeals the overly sweet nature of almost all packaged foods. It's clear that taste and macros were their top priority, which they certainly nailed for the mass consumer audience. If you're on a limited budget and just looking for something to enjoy as a quick snack during a busy afternoon at work – these bars are sure to hit the spot, just be aware that you're certainly not putting something "healthy" in your body.
As we pointed out previously, Kirkland Protein Bars are a great choice for those looking for a nutritious snack that checks the box on macros without having to sacrifice taste. Each bar contains about 50% of the daily recommended value of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and only 2 grams of sugar – making them an ideal snack for those watching their calorie intake and tracking macros. The biggest problem, however is that they use the sugar alcohol erythritol which can cause gastric distress, destroy good bacteria in the gut and has recently been linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk and strokes.
These bars also contain a blend of whey, milk, and soy protein which are not the best options for health or the planet. The sweetness comes from Stevia and Erythritol, which are natural sugar alternatives that provide fewer calories than regular sugar but still have enough sweetness to satisfy any sweet tooth.
But it's not all bad. Kirkland Protein Bars are free from GMO ingredients and certified gluten-free, so those with food sensitivities can enjoy them too! They come in 4 delicious flavors - Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream, and Chocolate Brownie – all of which contain real chunks of nuts or chocolate chips for an added crunch.
Nutrition-wise, these bars are an ok choice, although certainly not the best option on the market. They offer a substantial amount of protein and dietary fiber with only minimal amounts of added sugars. This can make them an excellent snack option when you need something cheap and quick at work or on the go but don't expect it to see it on our list of the healthiest protein bars out there. All you're really getting is some protein and no additional nutrients with the downside of some sketchy ingredients that can be harmful to your health.
Let's be honest, the cost is always an important factor when it comes to buying snacks, and protein bars are often on the higher end. Luckily, Kirkland Protein Bars don't fall into this category and are actually quite affordable compared to other protein bars on the market.
Kirkland Protein Bars are surprisingly affordable for the quality nutrition and delicious taste they offer. The cost of a box of 20 bars is around $30-$35, which works out to around $1.60 per bar - much less than what similar products in the protein bar market cost but not without some tradeoffs. Of course, Costco's ability to push out massive volume has a big part to do with this insanely low price, but one must also question the quality of the ingredients.
You can often find even better deals when shopping online, as many retailers offer discounts on bulk purchases. For example, the Costco Wholesale website offers 2 boxes of 20 bars (a total of 40 bars) for just $54.99 - a great deal considering the quality and taste of these protein bars.
So if you're looking to stock up on your favorite flavor, it may be worth checking online to see if you can save some money.
Overall, Kirkland Protein Bars are a decent choice for those looking for a nutritious snack without having to sacrifice taste or break the bank. At just over $1 per bar, you get 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of dietary fiber, and 2 grams of sugar – making these bars a great source of fuel without unnecessary calories or additives that can leave you feeling bloated afterward.
Now for the most realistic aspect of snacking - convenience. We all know how much easier it is to grab something quickly rather than cooking up a meal or packing something in advance.
Kirkland Protein Bars are the perfect fuel to take with you on the go – each bar is individually wrapped, making them easy to store in your bag, glove compartment, or desk drawer without worrying about any messes. Plus, they stay fresh for up to a year, so you can stock up and enjoy them whenever you need something quick!
Due to the size of these protein bars, it's understandable if you're not able to finish one in one sitting. The good news is that these bars last up to 5 days after being opened, making them the perfect snack to have on hand for those days when you don't have time to cook.
The bad news is that because Costco produces these in such high volumes they are not really made from fresh and pure ingredients which can impact the taste and texture of the type of bars you purchase. After looking at many of the reviews on Amazon and purchasing several boxes ourselves, we noticed a great deal of variability, including some very oily and slightly melted bars.
If you're traveling with the bars, be sure to also pack a ziplock bag and some napkins to keep the bars from getting stale and the mess that will ensue after they've been exposed to changing temperatures.
If you're looking for more nutritious protein bar options, there are plenty out there. Most can't compete with Kirkland on price but they make up for it with better ingredients. Many brands offer organic and vegan-friendly bars, as well as bars with unique flavors like pumpkin spice and lemon pound cake.
Here are some of our top picks:
Indulge in a guilt-free snack that actually benefits your body with LyfeFuel's Essential Nutrition Bars. Packed with plant-based protein and fiber, these bars promote satiety, reduce cravings, and support healthy weight management. They are a lot more expensive than Kirkland Bars but at least they'll actually be doing your body (and the planet) some good.
For those looking for something a bit more natural yet still low cost, KIND Protein Bars are an excellent choice. These bars contain no artificial sweeteners or sodium and are made with real ingredients like almonds, peanuts, and cranberries. But, Kind bars have a very unkind dark-side which is only evident after closely examining the nutrition label.
Glucose syrup and palm kernal oil are just two sketchy ingredients that you'll want to avoid if you prioritize clean eating or have any type of weight loss goal. These ingredients can wreak havoc on your metabolism so don't be fooled by the cute packaging and hefty marketing into thinking these are a healthier option...they're not. More natural, sure. Healthier? No.
KIND believes that you shouldn't have to sacrifice taste for nutrition; their protein bars are just the right balance between indulgence and health. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors like Almond Butter Dark Chocolate and Crunchy Peanut Butter, so you're sure to find something to suit your taste buds.
RXBAR protein bars are synonymous with clean, healthy eating. These bars are made with real ingredients like egg whites, dates, almonds, and cocoa – all without any added sugar or preservatives. These guys pioneered the simple, clean ingredients movement and built a massive business in the process. The simple packaging shows there's nothing to hide.
RXBAR protein bars are high in protein and low in sugar, making them an excellent option for those looking to keep their cravings in check while still getting enough energy to power through the day. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors like Blueberry and Chocolate Sea Salt - perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth!
Costco's Kirkland protein bars are one of the most affordable snacks you can find but certainly not one of the healthiest. With 21g of protein, 10g of dietary fiber, and 2g of sugar per bar, these bars pretend to be everything consumers are looking for in a protein bar, but fall well short in terms of acutal nutrition and healthy ingredients. If you're in a pinch and looking for a cheap option then go ahead and give them a try.
If you're looking for other protein bar options, LyfeFuel, KIND and RXBAR are also excellent choices. These brands offer delicious flavors and are made with real, natural ingredients – perfect for those looking to stick to clean eating.
At Protein Bar, we’re committed to helping you look and feel your best, which starts by raising the bar (pun intended) in the nutrition industry. We're currently in stealth mode, but you can join our waiting list to receive exclusive access to new products and become a beta tester!