America's only certified Skyrace course. Race Beast of Big Creek on Mt. Ellinor in Hoodsport, WA on Aug 3rd, 2024.

America's only certified Skyrace course. Race Beast of Big Creek on Mt. Ellinor in Hoodsport, WA on Aug 3rd, 2024.

Yesterday on iRunFar Brady Burgess and Johanna Ohm shared the results of their GoFundMe campaign for getting Spring Energy’s Awesome Sauce and other (competing) products tested by a lab:

Multiple third-party tests on Spring Energy’s Awesome Sauce gel confirm Reddit users’ suspicions that calories and carbohydrates are mislabeled. How do other products compare? Should we trust nutrition labels?

Yes, these results confirm what Jason Koop had been raging about on Instagram all last week. (natch, he was faster and paid out of his own pocket for the testing, praise be to him!) Well, he also took the conversation to a completely unnecessary place and so it’s great to have this article and these results to focus on and move forward with.

The lab results confirm that the printed nutrition facts on Spring Energy’s Awesome Sauce and Canaberry (another one of Springs product) are completely from another dimension and have no basis in reality. With all the competitors’ gels’ numbers coming in as the package promised, this clearly leaves Spring in a difficult situation, and the bed they made for themselves.

We can certainly rule out the idea that somehow all gels suffer under these fluctuations and “this is just an industry problem”. For note: this is not something that Spring ever claimed, but it certainly would’ve been convenient and opened the door to a completely different conversation.

Will Spring recover from this?

That’s the question. Spring, while an ever-present name in the trail and ultra world, isn’t some giant corporate power-house that is just going to brush over this and release a new flavor next month with a flashy marketing campaign making us forget everything that has happened. I’m not trying to feel sorry for them, but am wondering what their possible paths forward might be.

  • One: They’ll never recover, disappear and become a cautionary tale and or the butt of a joke for a while.
  • Two: They really only let their guard down and too many quality control issues slipped past them. They are able to ‘fix’ the original recipe, without going bankrupt first, and are able to bring Awesome Sauce back to what it previously was. This seems unlikely in my opinion, and would require independent retesting of course, but would be fascinating to see. Awesome Sauce was tasty after all.
  • Three: If they have the financial runway, they might be able retool, fix and release Awesome Sauce 2.0. This might work, and if the new product is delicious and the numbers aren’t too different to the original ones, including the price, people might forgive and forget, keep buying the product and move one. But this would also be somewhat of an admission that the numbers on the original product were never really rooted in reality.

In the iRunFar article Spring CEO Rafal Nazarewicz is quoted with the following:

We reached out to Nazarewicz for comment, and he responded that the brand has investigated their products in response to the data the public has generated. Nazarewicz said Spring Energy has “identified a couple of factors — a cooking method, processing of some ingredients and variation in supplier ingredients — that were leading to some batches becoming overly diluted, and unfortunately, failing to translate as desired with the calculations used with our formulation.”

So, at this point they are sticking with the story that this is something that can be fixed on a product level.
Will be seen if public perception will go along with it.