After our initial orders, the next few orders seemed off. The Protein Hot Chocolate and Frosted Cookie flavors were not tasting how they once did. They were not cooking like they once did. I did some research and found some news I wasn’t fond of. Not only were people reporting the same things I was experiencing, but they were also filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau. People were also claiming that Bowmar was filtering out negative reviews on their site.
[inline_related_posts title=”You Might Be Interested In” title_align=”left” style=”list” number=”3″ align=”right” ids=”” by=”categories” orderby=”rand” order=”DESC” hide_thumb=”no” thumb_right=”no” views=”no” date=”yes” grid_columns=”2″ post_type=”” tax=””]I’m not one to just post things to blast a company. I’m not going to just share word-of-mouth type information, so I attempted posting reviews on their website, only to find that they shared my 5-star review, but my 2-star review was never to be seen. So with proof in my hands, I posted my second Bowmar Nutrition-related post.
I never intended my second piece to persuade people from using Bowmar Nutrition products, but wrote it simply to inform. Previously I had told people they should buy Bowmar, and while I wasn’t yet telling people not to buy their products, I wanted to make sure I was sharing all the information I had. I wanted this to be as friendly and transparent a source of information as I could make it.
So that brings us to now. I never intended on having a trilogy of Bowmar Nutrition posts on this site, but 14 months after my last post, here we are. So I’m going to cut to the chase; Bowmar Nutrition is an untrustworthy company.
A nutrition company that comes across as untrustworthy, is one that you’re likely better off avoiding. (In my opinion.)
So how did we get to this point?
Let’s start with the same product I’ve highlighted in the past, their Protein Hot Chocolate.
Since last year when I published my last post, Protein Hot Chocolate is still boating 5 stars on Bowmar’s website, with an added 63 reviews for a total of 1126. Despite the claim of 5 stars, some scrolling through reviews shows a bit of a discrepancy in that claim, including a post from December 2020 titled ‘Zero Stars’
This was terrible!!!! Taste bad. Doesnt mix at all. Tried with cold water, hot water and milk. Nope comes out all clumpy. I even had my best friend (by the way orders Bowmar products as much as me) try it as well. She had the same results. I even had bought the larger one seeing all the reviews were amazing. WRONG! If I had tried sooner I would had returned it and asked for my money back. Oh well maybe I can dump it and reuse the container.🤷♀️
A Google search brought up a few additional websites that sell Bowmar Nutrition products. Not a ton of reviews, but the website Influenster lists Bowmar Nutrition Protein Hot Chocolate, with 47 reviews and coming in at 4.2 stars. Not horrible, but, feels much more honest than the review claims on Bowmar’s website.
One of the Influenster reviews, giving Protein Hot Chocolate 3-stars says:
This tastes really good, but isn’t very easy to mix. I tried to prepare it as a hot chocolate, but every time I thought I had it smooth, I would take a sip and always have clumps in my mouth which were not very appetizing. I recommend mixing this with a blender or something similar.
Another review with similar feelings
This is good, it has a whey after taste, and doesn’t mix too well. The macros are good.
Going back to their Better Business Bureau profile doesn’t shed any brighter light.
One review states:
Yikes. They filter out low star reviews on all of their products so their customers think they’re going to receive products that everyone and their mother loves. Some of their flavors are straight up gross and mix horribly but you won’t find any reviews about it! Stop being frauds.
This review was one of a few that received an official response from Bowmar stating:
We do not filter comments. We post all verified reviews as discussed yesterday when you messaged me, the owner, directly.
Unfortunately, as a verified customer, I did not have my 2-star review posted on the site when my 5-star was.
Another review states very similar experiences, but they did not give this review an official response from Bowmar.
I have enjoyed some of their products. However I, like many other customers, have noticed products tasting different than the last time I ordered. No I did not reach out, I took the loss. I also have posted 5 star reviews and lower rated reviews and don’t see those lower rated reviews on site. I have spent at least $1k on Bowmar the last year and even had an item on subscription so I know my email could be verified. I also think their excuse of using emails to verify purchases further confirms that they are filtering their negative reviews out. Many businesses do not filter their reviews!! *************************************************************** *************************************************************** *******************. Bowmar needs to stop lying about their reviews.
As the saying goes: where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
A common thread throughout is that Bowmar Nutrition products now have a different taste than they once did, and no longer mix smoothly, but have become clumpier.
In my previous post, I said I wish I had my original Protein Hot Chocolate tub, to compare to the latest labels. Well, that post eventually found its way to being shared on the Sarah Bowmar subreddit. While I do not condone all the petty posts ripping Sarah Bowmar to shreds for practically every breath she makes, there is occasionally helpful information shared on there. Case in point, my previous post being shared on there, lead to a Bowmar customer emailing me photos of an original PHC tub’s label, showing the nutritional information and ingredients:
Now, let’s compare that to the nutritional information on Bowmar’s own website for Protein Hot Chocolate:
So right off the bat, we can clearly see that something has changed as the following values have changed between the old and the new:
- 1 Scoop: 28g —> 32.8g
- Calories: 112 —> 130
- Total Fat: 1g —> 2g
- Saturated Fat: 0g —> 1g
- Cholesterol: 32mg —> 65mg
- Sodium: 36mg —> 160mg
- Total Carbs: 2g —> 4g
- Protein 22g —> 23g
Now, one might point out that with the serving size increasing from 28g to 32.8g we should expect that other aspects may increase, and that would be fair. However, an increase of 4.8g to the overall serving size, plus an increase of 33mg of Cholesterol and a whopping 124mg increase in sodium does not equate to the 1g more protein you get per serving.
The changes don’t stop there, however, if you look at the ingredients you’ll see that they no longer claim 100% Whey Protein Concentrate, and have added Xanthan Gum and Acesulfame Potassium.
So, there’s zero debate the formula has changed since the original releases. I think the addition of xanthan gum to the protein power is playing a part in people now being unable to mix their protein as smoothly as they once did. So we have a smoking gun right there.
New formulas happen all the time though! Anytime something changes in a process or a tweak is made to a formula, brands typically use it as an excuse to promote it with big “New, Better Formula” labels plastered on their products. So maybe there’s a good reason for the changes. I’m not out to bad mouth or degrade anyone. I wanted to post something once I received the images and reviewed the labels, but I only had one side of the story.
Before I wrote this piece, I wanted to see if I could get answers. I knew, from other posts online, that Sarah Bowmar doesn’t take kindly to people asking too many questions. I had to try though. So while I admit I may have catfished her a bit posing as a returning customer, I was still trying to gather information, if for no other reason than pure curiosity. Plus, if it was a reasonable reason for the formula change, I wanted to make sure I had that information to share.
So, I sent the first message. Pretty straightforward, and lucky enough, I got a reply!
So, she admits they switched manufacturers two years ago. Nothing is wrong with changing manufacturers, that’s all part of the business. However, her timeline of when they switched lines up with when people started complaining about the flavor. Also worth noting, look less at what she said and more into what she didn’t say. I asked if the formula changed and if I ordered now, would I be getting the same stuff I had a few years ago? No answer. All I got was “the taste is better than ever” and an attempt to sell me a sample pack.
Look, I will not hold it against someone when they try to sell their products. That’s how they make a living. But when you blatantly skip over my questions and give vague side-step answers, I’m going to raise an eyebrow. However, I still remember back when I loved their products, so I tried a slightly different approach.
So this time, I’m more direct. I want direct answers, so I go with direct questions. It took her only 2 hours to answer my first question. This time, my message was read, but I received no reply. Sarah Bowmar was leaving me on read. (But so far, I’m not blocked!)
I gave her 2 days before my last attempt (I realized I was already pushing my luck)
So yeah, I tried pushing buttons just a bit, but I was trying to get a response. Any response would have made me happy frankly. All I got was the silent treatment and unanswered questions, which I did not feel were unfair or accusatory.
So where does that put us? Well, we have a company that clearly, undeniably changed its formula. They adamantly deny they changed anything. They do their best to sidestep it and play smoke and mirrors with their responses. Honestly, if they came out and admitted they changed the formula and gave a reason, then this post wouldn’t exist.
This continued sidestepping of the facts could eventually catch up with Bowmar. There are rumblings online of a Class Action lawsuit filed in California against Bowmar Nutrition. The suit is claiming they falsify their nutrition facts. I will link nothing to this case, nor reference anything it claims explicitly. A search for it online or in the previously mentioned subreddit can give you the general information. By the looks of it, the attorney who filed this complaint did so incorrectly back in May of this year.
Also of note on this lawsuit: the attorney in question has his own supplement company. Take that information for what you will.
So when the smoke clears, where does all this leave us?
In my previous post, I said that I would still put Bowmar above other protein brands. In all honesty, I probably still would. However, I now raise an eyebrow when it comes to the content of the protein itself. Sure, does Bowmar taste and still mix better than other proteins on the market? Yeah, sure, but the question now is, can we trust Bowmar Nutrition? Can we trust the labels, and can we trust what they’re telling us regarding their products?
Unfortunately, at this time, with all the evidence that continues to pile up, I feel all signs point to no, we can not trust Bowmar Nutrition.
Here are a few recent updates that I felt were worth noting. – As of 2/2/23.
FTC is cracking down on fake online reviews.
The Federal Trade Commission has come out saying that they plan on cracking down and penalizing companies that are caught misrepresenting their products and using fake reviews.
From The Hill: “The rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising, leading to an explosion in deceptive endorsements across the marketplace. Fake online reviews and other deceptive endorsements often tout products throughout the online world,” the FTC said in a press release.
The organization has reportedly already started sending out Notice of Penalty Offenses. Those will enable the FTC to seek penalties against a company.
Considering how painfully petty the whole Sarah Bowmar subreddit has become, I’m sure the FTC was inundated with reports as soon as this news was released. Still, it will be interesting to watch and see if reviews on the Bowmar website change in the coming months.
The Bowmars entered a guilty plea for a misdemeanor conspiracy charge on October 2022, as part of an agreement that saw multiple other charges dropped. On January 2023, they were sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a fine of $75,000. As a condition of their probation, the couple was banned from hunting in Nebraska and prohibited from owning or using firearms or archery equipment for the duration of the probation period.
However, in February 2023, the court made a modification to the terms of the Bowmars’ probation, allowing them to possess bows and archery equipment for business purposes only after they petitioned the court for a change.
As if the poaching charges and being on probation weren’t enough, Josh Bowmar is set to start a trial in April 2023 on criminal charges related to a fire on his property in 2022, which was posted on social media. Josh was charged with reckless use of a firearm or explosive due to the fire spreading to a neighbor’s land and allegedly destroying a cabin.
The story continues it seems…