Price: $20.94/box, 6 per box ($3.49 ea)
Flavors: Green apple, Strawberry, White grape
Pouch size: 6.35 oz, 180 grams
Obtained by: Company samples
RBR advertiser: No
Get Instant Energy for Your Next Ride
In Jim Langley’s Sea Otter report, he mentioned coming across the Chargel booth and liking the instant energy the product gave him. So I contacted the company’s rep to get a few samples to test for myself.
Chargel is made by Morinaga & Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s largest food and beverage companies. The Tokyo-based company has global operations and manufacturers Chargel in the Chubu Region of Japan.
What’s Inside the Pouch
The product is designed to be consumed before exercise for instant energy. The 180-gram, 180-calorie pouch is from a proprietary blend of carbohydrates that deliver instant energy. Chargel is also packed with Vitamin B-Complex, which according to the company, may help convert those carbohydrates into the fuel needed for a workout.
Chargel does not contain caffeine, gluten, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors and is free of 9 major allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybean, and sesame). The product comes in three flavors, green apple, strawberry, and white grape. Not able to stomach anything grape flavored, I opted to test the other two flavors.
Field Testing on Short But Challenging Rides
I decided to test Chargel on two separate evening group rides. On weekdays I usually ride in the early mornings because, by the evening, I’m either too tired or working late. But this past week, I had a 23 mile hilly ride and a 25 mile gravel ride.
On my drive to the ride start, not knowing what to expect, I unscrewed the resealable cap and sucked the liquid out using the built-in straw. It had an unusual consistency with little flakes of a gelatin-like substance mixed in. It reminded me of a boba drink with tapioca balls. Something about the texture made it kind of fun to consume.
I put some of the Chargel on my finger to get a closer look. It was a clear gel with clear gelatin-like flakes mixed in. The flavor was sweet as I consumed the whole pouch, but not so sweet that I craved water. It was more of a refreshing flavor.
I believe my energy level was high on both rides due to consuming the Chargel, and I finished strong. I had no post-ride gut issues or sugar coma.
At 180 calories per container, the resealable pouch allows you to consume as little or as much as you want. If you don’t drink it all at once, the company recommends keeping it refrigerated and finishing the pouch within 24 hours. Unopen the shelf life is 15 months from its production date, so check the date stamped on the container. Since the product is new to the USA, sell-through is not as brisk, and the expiration dates on my samples were July of this year.
The reason for my 4-star rating is twofold. First, I’m bothered by the packaging. The single-use foil pouches are not eco-friendly. I prefer to be able to purchase a large size and put it into my reusable container. Second, it is a bit pricey at almost $3.50/pouch, and I’d be more inclined to use it sparingly and not before every evening ride when I need some energy.
Chargel is a unique option for instant energy. It worked well for my evening rides when my energy level was low, but the rides were demanding.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.