This blog post finds me in Salt Lake City, Utah, where I'm attending the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association. If you're into outdoor adventure sports, this is the place for you! Imagine taking all the companies that deal in climbing gear, ski gear, camping gear, outdoor technical clothing, and lots more, and putting them all under one very large roof. That's the winter outdoor retailer!
Many companies use the show as an opportunity to unveil their newest products that either just have hit the market, or will do so soon. Earlier today, I wandered the show floor doing some gluten-free reconnaissance specifically related to energy/sports chews. In a previous blog post, I've touted both Sharkies and Jelly Belly's Sport Beans (you can read my assessment of them both by scrolling to the bottom of this post). However, based on what I've seen at this year's winter outdoor retailer, Sharkies and Sports Beans have some competition.
First, there's Honey Stinger, a company based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They've introduced organic energy chews, which are both gluten-free and dairy-free. The Organic Energy Chews are currently available in two flavors - Fruit Smoothie (which contains cherry blossom, orange blossom, and mixed berry) and Cherry Blossom. In April 2009, they've also planning to release a new flavor option: Pomegranate Passion.
Second, GU has unveiled its new GU Chomps, touted as "pure performance energy chews." These puppies are so new they're not on the website yet. Like the Honey Stinger chews, these are also gluten-free and dairy-free. When they hit stores, they'll be available in four flavors: blueberry-pomegranate, orange, strawberry, and cranberry-apple.
Lastly, there are the Luna Sport Moons. These puppies are being billed as the "first women's organic energy chew." They come in three flavors: pomegranate, blueberry, and watermelon. (For the men, Luna is made by Clif, which also offers Shot Bloks. These come in seven flavors.) UPDATE: While neither the Luna Sport Moons nor Clif Shot Bloks contain gluten, they are made in a facility that also processes wheat, and thus has the potential for cross-contamination. Anecdotally, I've personally never gotten sick from them, but that's no guarantee that it couldn't happen in the future. UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: 3/3/09 - The Clif website is out of date, and the company has confirmed for me that both Luna Sport Moons and Shot Bloks are GLUTEN-FREE, and are made in a dedicated, allergen-free facility. Enjoy!
So there you have it, gluten-free endurance athletes. Whether your thing is ski mountaineering racing, Xterra, triathlons, marathons, or anything else, there are an increasing number of gluten-free energy chews out there to help fuel your body, and the newest offerings to come to market will make for some stiff (and tasty) competition for the old standards.