The views and opinions in this product review are all my own and this is not a product /company endorsement or recommendation. This products was sent to me for free, and I have chosen to write this review independently. No financial compensation has been involved.
What is CalBisc 100?
Produced by Calerrific Ltd, “CalBisc 100″ are 100kcal shortbread-style biscuits which come presented in a foil wrapped twinpacks (i.e. 2 biscuits (200kcal) per foil wrap). They are marketed as a biscuit alternative to food fortification powders and sip feeds and ‘packed with 27 essential vitamins and minerals’ . The packaging states that each twinpack contains 10% of an adult’s recommended daily calories, protein, fibre and 27 vitamins and minerals. Each box contains 7 individual packs, i.e. 14 biscuits.
I found these biscuits quite tasty, but they were surprisingly not too sweet tasting. They were a lot softer inside than you would expect a normal shortbread biscuit to be, but did still have a bit of bite to them. My husband enjoyed them more than me, and ate most of the pack – but then again he has a BMI of 19, so can get away with the extra calories!
The nutrition part
Sugar: CalBisc 100 biscuits contain 20.4g sugar per 100g, making them a high sugar product. The type of sugar is soft brown sugar.
Fat: 29.8g fat per 100g product, meaning CalBisc 100 biscuits are a high fat product – a third of this biscuit is fat, with butter (a saturated fat) being the number one ingredient. A small amount of healthier fat will be provided by the seeds. While this amount of fat may be suitable for malnourished people in the short term, high saturated fat can contribute to increased cholesterol levels.
Protein: Contains 5g protein per twinpack. This is likely to be between 5 and 10% of someone’s protein requirements, depending on weight and medical condition.
Fibre: 7.9g per 100g (3.3g per twinpack).
Top 5 ingredients: butter, pea flour, barley flour, sugar, flaxseed (ingredients are listed in order from highest to lowest ingredient)
CalBisc 100 contains 2.5% pumpkin seeds, 1% goji berry and 1% cranberries.
I compared the nutrition in CalBisc 100 twinpack to the nutritional content of 2 oaties / hobnob style biscuits. Calbisc 100 had 200kcal (oaties had 160kcal), Calxbisc 100 had 2 teaspoons of sugar (oaties had just under 2 teaspoons of sugar), Calbisc 100 had double the amount of protein and fibre and Calbisc 100 had 12.5g fat vs 7.2g in the oaties. Calbisc 100 had the benefit of the added vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin C.
They are wheat free but contain gluten (from barley and oats) and milk.
I must admit I was a little confused by the packaging. Using a deep green colour and the white line drawing for an active person gave me the idea that this was a product aimed at weight loss or healthy eating, rather than a fortified food product. However, their website promotes it for use in ‘active lifestyles’, as a ‘nutrient rich and calorie dense snack’ to keep you going during sports.
CalBisc 100 biscuits are available in pharmacies throughout the UK and Ireland. If a pharmacy does not stock CalBisc 100, they can order it in through Alliance Healthcare.
The bottom line
Although CalBisc 100 biscuits contain a similar amount of calories to chocolate hobnob or traditional shortbread biscuits. They may be useful for people who need extra calories and protein and prefer to eat plain biscuits rather than chocolaty / cream filled biscuits. For people with malnutrition, all the extra calories count, and these may be useful to try for older people on a ‘food first’ approach to malnutrition. I like the fact the CalBisc 100 are fortified with protein, and contain 5g per twinpack and the added vitamins and minerals. The foil packaging would mean the biscuits could be kept fresh on someone’s bedside. However, the recommended retail price is high (£4.99 for 14 biscuits) and you would get similar nutrition in terms of calories, protein and some vitamins and minerals from having a plain hobnob or digestive biscuit spread with a peanut / almond butter, for a fraction of the price. I would not rrecommend them as an alternative to sip feeds e.g. Fortisip, Ensure Plus or Fresubin Energy, as these sip feeds are much higher in calories, protein and vitamins / minerals.
Due to the sugar content, would not recommended this product for use for people with diabetes needing to be built up.
In terms of using this product as an energy dense snack, there are lots of other similar bar type products available on the market too.