Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review - Wholebake flapjacks

Back in September I bought a little supply of these flapjacks with high hopes for a brilliant find.  Below is our view but first of all a little introduction concerning Wholebake.

The company 

Wholebake was founded in 1984 by Stephen Jones and Jennifer Gibson who, after many years in both the retail and wholesale Wholefood Trade, found that was nearly impossible to buy good quality, healthy ready-to-eat food anywhere. Seeing the potential of this market, they started to produce such food in the kitchen of their farmhouse and sold it locally through Health Food Shops and local supermarkets.

Initially this consisted of frozen Ready Meals. Encouraged by the response, a range of Wholefood pies and pasties were soon added to the range. A barn adjoining the house was soon converted to provide the extra capacity needed to cope with the demand.

By 1987 they had again run out of capacity and purchased premises in Corwen. With the extra facilities at the new premises, a new product was born - the Apricot & Apple Slice. With a shelf life of three weeks these slices were distributed far more widely and proved to be so popular that soon other flavours were added.

Since then they have continued to grow and develop as a company and increasing their range. Their purpose built factory is in North Wales

The range

Wholebake do a nice range of flapjacks.  With the exception of the Flapjack bites, they retail for around 70p to 80p.  At 100g they are just about the right size, more about that later.  The flapjack range consist of a premium range (pecan, cranberry, berry and pistacio), nut, fruit and finally their indulgent range.  The indulgent range includes chocolate, chocolate & ginger, fudge and Bakewell).  This, to be honest, is a very attractive range: if you like to have one in your daily lunch box you'll not exactly get bored with the same flavours cropping up every week or two.

Ingredients are pretty straight forward with 37% oatflakes in the Apricot flapjack, for example.

Road testing

We both tried some of the flapjacks from the fruit range and the indulgent range.  At over 400kcals per flapjack they are not foods for slimming.  On the other hand, for us sporty types, this makes them ideal.  It is a compact punch of energy which includes sugars for an instant boost through to more slow-burn carbohydrates.  I found them to be suprisingly solid and this is useful for the kind of saddle-bag cuisine I try to perfect.  It is all-too-easy for flapjacks to crumble and fall apart through being bounced around in a saddlebag.  These don't anywhere as much as Blackfrairs, which are natural competitors.  

We liked the taste of the chocolate & ginger and Bakewell varieties with just the right amount of topping.  The topping was lovely and sweet.

The flavours from the topping is close to the ideal - there is a slight tendency to be a little bland in taste but the ginger and chocolate certainly improves the taste.  they are easy to eat and digest, providing you don't gobble them too fast.  We liked the other flavours and they had a good balance between the natural 'oatiness' and the sweetness of the toppings.


There are a couple of inconsistences which need clearing up.  These include the possibly misleading labelling concerning the Kcals in each flapjack.  The chocolate & ginger flapjack says it gives you 745 kcals per 100grams.  Wow that seems a lot.  The internet says it is 415kcals, which is closer to what I would expect.

The other inconsistencies is the handmade nature of this product.  Indeed the packaging refers to it being handmade and yet the website boasts of machinery cabale of producing 200 flapjacks a minute.  I don't think they can have it phrased differently.

I have tried to have a conversation with Wholebake, albeit unsuccessfully.  When I telephoned, the receptionist suggested it would be better to speak to someone more senior and put my query on to their website's 'contact form' a few weeks ago  but this is disappointing with no response.


There's a good range of vegetarian flapjacks here, reasonably priced and taste good.  It is organic food with no GM ingredients or hydrogenated fats - this is good.  Balance against this are my queries.

We may buy a supply and they will fit the bill completely.  There is scope for greater clarity as outlined above but on the whole, we like them very much.  I am very happy to address any issues, as and when I'm contacted.

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