Ultrarunning Edge

Energy Gel Packets—A Pocket Full of Goo?

Written by Bruce R. Copeland on July 29, 2010

Tags: carbohydrate, cycling, electrolytes, endurance, energy gel, nutrition, running

Today I experienced my fourth leaking energy gel packet in as many months. I’ve had it!!! Three different manufacturers: PowerBar, GU, and Hammer Nutrition. In every case the gel packet was not punctured; instead it was leaking from a seam in the packet or a crease where the packet was folded.

For years energy gels have been substantially overpriced—somewhere between eight and ten times the cost of the gel ingredients. Manufacturers have mostly justified these high prices on the basis of the packaging. That was fine as long as the packaging worked. I’ve been using gels for over seven years, and my handling of gel packets hasn’t changed. If anything my usage of gel packets has declined over time. So why all of a sudden are so many gel packets leaking?

Starting today, I refuse to put up with it anymore. We now have lots of options when it comes to getting carbohydrates and electrolytes for endurance running, cycling, etc. Gel manufacturers can either start producing bullet-proof gel packages, offer a money-back guarantee, or deal with lots of very negative publicity and loss of business.

What are your experiences with gels?