At some point in our cultural development, we decided fruit was a better snack when fucked with. Perhaps it has to do with shelf-life, perhaps it has to do with flavor, perhaps it has to do with traumatic flashbacks from the Garden of Eden. But today’s fruit snacks are not fruit. Case in point, a rather new development called pressed fruit bars.
Pressed fruit bars became a thing about two to three years ago. Though less common than fruit leather and fruit snacks, they are quickly gaining ground. Pressed fruit bars are just as their name implies, fruit pressed into a bar. There are two main players in the game. That’s It, a company founded in 2015 that prizes itself on minimalism, and Kind, who launched Pressed by Kind in 2016 with bars made of fruit and chia.
Of the latter, there are seven varieties which range from fiesta to joyless. On the fiesta side is chocolate and strawberry and chocolate and banana. On the more overtly chore-ish are pineapple, banana, kale, spinach. I split the difference with Cherry Apple Chia.
As far as That’s It goes, the company describes its demographic as, “kids to grandparents, millennial moms to athletes and everyone in between.” The founder’s name is Lior Lewensztain which, unrelated to anything else, is really fun to say. There are nine varieties of pressed fruit bars. All contain apple with the addition of things like blueberries, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and bananas. None contain added sugars or binders or colors. I am holding the apple mango bar in my hand and as soon as I am finished writing this sentence, I will eat it.
The ideal texture of pressed fruit bars is somewhat hard to pin down. Should they be tough like dried fruit or should they be soft like a chewy granola bar? By their very nature dense, the experience of a pressed fruit bar is quite intense. Pressed By Kind’s texture is slightly more yielding while That’s It’s is slightly tougher. I wrestled with this determination for a long time but after initially favoring the softer version, I now find I prefer the toughness, which is more like dried fruit itself.
Texture: That’s It
Naturally since a small bar contains an entire apple and mango, in one case, and two servings of fruit in the other, the flavors are quite distilled and intense. Neither of these bars have anything other than pressed fruit, this is one of their selling points, and what that means is if you close your eyes and imagine what an apple and a mango taste like smooshed together and dried, then you have exactly what a That’s It bar tastes like. Picture cherries and apples smooshed and dried, and you have Pressed By Kind. [The Chia is, as far as I can taste, negligible.] It’s a matter of personal preference but I like the tartness of the cherries over the slight tropical overtones of the dried mango. That said, my kids vastly prefer the mango. Both bars do a good job of using apple as a base but allowing the secondary fruits to really come through.
Flavor: In this case, Pressed by Kind but you wouldn’t go wrong with either.
Obviously, the main charm of pressed fruit bars isn’t their lumpen indifferent appearance or even their straight-forward flavor. It’s that fruit is good for you. Research has shown that only 12% of Americans have their daily recommended servings of fruit. Kind Bars’ Pressed by Kind and That’s It both contains two servings of fruit. There are slightly more calories in the Pressed by Kind bars, 130 v. 100, but also a gram of protein. They both have 3g of protein. So it pretty much all comes down to sugars, which is the devil’s food. Surprisingly, even though there’s no sugar added, That’s It’s bar has 23grams of sugar as opposed to 17g from Kind.
Nutritional Value: Pressed By Kind
Conclusion: Pressed By Kind
I announce this with a tinge of sadness and ambivalence. It is true in life that there must be a winner and that there shall be a loser. But to be honest both pressed fruit bars deserve the nod. As far as texture and flavor goes, both of those were tight rounds and rather subjective. Pressed by Kind has a larger range of flavors — what with the chocolate and all — but That’s It has the moral purity.