It’s post-holidays season and time to get back out for more adventures! After all the sweets you probably had for Christmas, here is a perfect transition to sports nutrition: sports waffles full of honey!
1/ The Honey Stinger company:
Honey Stinger is a Colorado-based company with a pretty long history of honey products. In the 1950s, Luella and Ralph Gambler, both beekeepers, started to brainstorm around the idea of a honey-based energy bar. They also packaged honey in small pouches for athletes. Although the products had some success within the local sports community, it wasn’t before the 2000s that the company really started to exist in the market of energy foods.
Well, honey and waffles… all that sounds good! Let’s dive into it.
2/ The product and its category:
The segment of sport waffles is slowly growing, with big players like PowerBar or GU. I don’t have the data but it doesn’t seem like the segment is exploding neither. Rather, it seems like waffles have found their niche among the bars, gels, chews, beans, etc.
On one hand, I like to see sports nutrition products that look like real food items: it is especially great for long endurance workouts, when you might be bored of gels and sports drinks. On the other hand, though, it is often a challenge to pack some adequate sports nutrition into a food item that people already know and love, without compromising on the nutrition parts (if the product tastes great, it’s often because it has quite some fat…). Let’s see how Honey Stinger has dealt with this.
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the waffles for the first time was: YAY, STROOPWAFELS! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I mean the Dutch waffles made of two thin layers of waffles filled with a thick syrup in the middle. You should try them, it’s a real delight.
After this first good impression, I realized that the waffles also have the major annoying drawbacks of stroopwafels: they break (you can see the lines of fracture on the picture above) and make crumbs… Like… lots of crumbs.
I stored these waffles on a shelf for a few months, so they might have dried a little, thus amplifying the crumb problem. But these waffles were still months away from the expiry date (actually 4 months before the “best before” date).
On my (non-really calibrated) scale, the waffle itself comes at a perfect 30g, as it says on the package.
+ about 2 full grams of crumbs (that you will most likely loose if you’re out running or riding your bike).
Then, I spent a few minutes removing the crumbs and had a look at the inside.
As you can see on the picture, the structure of the waffles is similar to the Stroopwafels! Two thin layers of waffles filled with what I believe is a honey-based syrup.
Looking closer, it looks like the syrup has diffused through the waffles, which made them a little more sticky than they probably should be.
I can’t say whether you will like the product or not. But I can try to describe the texture and flavor as objectively as possible. So, if my “objective” description matches what you may like, go buy the product and reach out on social media to give your opinion!
The best description I can give of these waffles in terms of appearance and texture is: “half-dried honey stroopwafels “. They are a little sticky on the fingers and quite sandy in mouth. Despite that, they are still relatively soft and easy to chew while running.
In terms of taste, you get what you expect: a strong honey flavor and a high sweet intensity. All other flavors are only moderately present.
5/ Situation test:
I took the waffles with me on a few occasions, including two cross-country skiing sessions in Zurich. It’s quite rare that we could cross-country ski in the city. I got very excited and looped the local forest over and over. Anyway, not the topic…
It confirmed the things I started to see in my kitchen.
– BREAKS when you have it in your pocket, producing even more of the crumbs. The consequence of this is that you may want to eat the whole waffle at once. Putting it back into the open pouch and into your pocket would most likely create a mess. So, wait until you are a little hungry!
– TASTY! And very satisfying when you are craving for sugar.
– HARD WHEN COLD. Another common point with the Stroopwafels is that they get hard when they are cold. This is to be expected given the sugary syrup used for the filling. Traditionally, the Dutch place their waffles over a cup of tea or coffee to soften the syrup. Consider doing that if you are out with a thermos of tea or alike.
After a few hours in the fridge (or in your pocket while skiing), the waffles were still chewable though, this is nothing like the Clif bars.
As we could expect, the waffles are extremely dense in carbohydrates.. but also rich in fat… That’s the problem I referred to in the introduction of this article. When you want to produce waffles, and especially tasty waffles, it’s hard to avoid using quite some fat. Otherwise, you would most likely produce something that tastes funny for a waffle.
Here are the nutritional values for a 30 g waffle and for 100 g (it makes it easier to compare with other products).
|/ 1 waffle (30 g)||/100 g|
|Carbohydrate (g) / Sugar (g)||21 / 11||70 / 37|
|Fat (g) / Saturated fat (g)||7 / 3||23 / 10|
I was surprised that the carbohydrates don’t seem to come in majority from honey. I can’t really say that for sure, but “rice syrup” and “cane sugar” came before “honey” in the list of ingredients. I may understand that honey may need to be mixed with a thicker syrup to stay in the waffles but it would be nice to know why honey is not the main sugary ingredient here.
CONCLUSION … AND THE POINTS!
The waffles consistently produced a lot of crumbs, so you loose some while opening the pouch. And you can’t put it back into your pocket without making a mess. They are a little sticky and gets hard when cold. The size, though, is ideal for a short snack into a long run.
Even stored on a shelf, my waffles were a little broken. That’s definitely a quality issue. Overall, it’s a solid product that looks good.
I’m really happy with the taste. It’s close to what you would expect from a Stroopwafel-like product… and I love Stroopwafels (so big bias here!) 🙂
The flipside of a great taste usually is a higher-than-normal fat content. But the waffles are rich in carbohydrates and I had no gut issues.
Overall, it’s 13/20 for the Honey Stinger Waffles!
In short, with a 150 kcal / waffle, a relatively high fat content, and the form of a real food item, these waffles are good candidate to fuel long runs, or even ultras.
Thanks for reading! And stay tuned for more testing!