Spring Energy Gel Controversy Explained: Awesome Sauce Allegations Breakdown

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Spring Energy Gel Awesome Sauce

Spring Energy was recently exposed for providing inaccurate nutritional labels on its Awesome Sauce Gel product.

The Awesome Sauce Gel is an energy booster, seemingly meant primarily for runners, that a person can drink. The label says that it provides 45 grams of carbohydrates and 180 calories.

After more than a month of speculation, those numbers have been proven wrong. Following new test results from health and fitness coach Jason Koop, the product has since been removed from Spring Energy's website (though there is no official proof that it was because of Koop's recent posts sharing the test results).

Customers and Retailers Test Awesome Sauce

Jason Koop
Jason Koop

In an April 12 Reddit post, user siirachamayo discussed how they tried to recreate the Awesome Sauce Gel recipe at home and found a discrepancy.

Siirachamayo realized that there was nothing on the ingredient list that would amount to the carbohydrates/calories totals reported on the label (besides the maple syrup, which is fifth on the ingredients).

They experimented to find out more. They tested the original product by weighing the contents of the gel, then dehydrating it and weighing it again. The results revealed that the dry weight amounted to only 16 grams of carbohydrates/60 calories, despite the label reading 45 grams/180 calories.

After this post, other users performed their own experiments and found data very similar to siirachamayo's.

Still, when Spring Energy responded to their initial inquiry 10 days later, the company said that its analysis matched the label, but there would still be some kind of reevaluation just in case.

Soon after, German sports retailer SportHunger sent the product for testing, and those results came in with the same numbers that siirachamayo initially found. SportHunger released an apology to its customers, saying they want to get in contact with Spring Energy and learn more.

Then, Spring Energy sent out an email discussing the situation. The company stated that its third-party testing proved that "on average" the reported nutritional information was accurate, but that it would be changing some of its recipes to help alleviate the concerns, which it acknowledges:

"In early May we submitted Awesome Sauce for third-party caloric and bimolecular analysis. Although the results indicated that on average our products deliver the designed nutrition value, we have recognized weaknesses in our processes and ingredients which can introduce unwanted variations in some batches.

To mitigate those variations in our small batch production, we decided to modify some of the formulations, revise and innovate processes, and re-evaluate ingredient sources."

Then, a user received analysis data provided directly from Spring Energy itself (collected by NutriData), which reported that the labels were correct. This was met with continued skepticism from Reddit users.

What Did Jason Koop's Tests Say?

Health and nutrition coach Jason Koop seems to be the first person to get Awesome Sauce tested who is financially disconnected from the brand. It also seems to be the first data officially collected by an American lab on Awesome Sauce.

The SportHunger data is relatively similar, to a degree, and given that said data would not benefit SportHunger financially, it should be trusted. Still, having an entirely separate third-party report data is concretely telling.

Koop got the Awesome Sauce gel tested through the RL Food Testing Laboratory. The results in the report are for a serving size of 100 grams, which is about 1.85 packets of Awesome Sauce. To get the findings for one packet, simply divide the tested result by 1.54.

In doing this, Koop found data similar to all prior tests, revealing that one packet has 76 calories and 18 grams of carbohydrates, rather than the labelled 180 and 45, respectively.

On May 28, Koop posted a video explaining his findings to Instagram. He called the discrepancy "an absolutely obscene miss," and discussed how this all matches the previous testing over the last few weeks.

Koop Talks The Roches, Ambassador Responds

As Koop explained in the video, part of this gel's selling point was its connection with coaches David and Megan Roche.

He criticized the Roches for very publicly endorsing the product and touting its benefits, before more recently revealing they don't use it:

"That’s a powerful storyline, because you have a high-carbohydrate product with a cool name, it’s awesome, it’s endorsed by two very well-liked coaches whose personal brand is neatly aligned with the awesome name of the product. And here you can see some of the marketing assets that were used at the time and over the years. … Fast forward to today, and that storyline has changed just a little bit.”

He highlighted articles, posts, and other similar ways the coaches publicized a product. Koop said that he found the Roches' apology on their podcast to not be "authentic and accurate" enough, arguing that the "partnership was deliberately embellished" to help advertise Awesome Sauce gel:

"Now I’m going to say out loud what everybody else is thinking. This partnership was deliberately embellished by both Spring and the Roches to make the product seem more compelling, sell you more of the product — a fraudulent product, at that — and to gain clout. And for the record, because I know the Roches are well-liked, and anytime they’re underneath any scrutiny, their fan base gets all in a tizzy … I would have kept the Roches out of it had their apology on this podcast be, shall we say, more authentic and accurate than this."

Sage Canaday is an ambassador for various brands, including Spring Energy. He has seemingly been involved in the conversation from very early on in the debacle, given a comment he left on the original post about the false labeling (though there is no surefire way to verify this is actually him, as claimed).

Following Koop's comments toward the Roches, he took to his Instagram story to respond. He asked his followers to not immediately blame the ambassadors for mistakes like what happened with Awesome Sauce. He said that often, these ambassadors are not part of the continued production of what they recommend:

"Folks, just because an Athlete/Ambassador/Influencer is sponsored by a brand/company, it doesn't mean that they are involved in the production and quality control of that brand/company's products.

Often, much like the average consumer, their experience with the product is merely subjective and they have no control over product specs.

Choose compassion and kindness"

Can You Still Buy Awesome Sauce?

Quickly after Koop shared his results, Spring Energy removed Awesome Sauce from its online shop.

Currently, clicking the link that once led to a page to learn about or buy the product brings users to a 404 Page Not Found screen, saying "The page you were looking for does not exist."

However, Awesome Sauce still seems to be available for purchase on sites like The Feed. Additionally, a Reddit post reports that Awesome Sauce is still included in variety packs.

It is unclear if that will be Spring Energy's only response to this situation, or if a more official statement will come soon.

- About The Author: Gillian Blum

Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.