Chances are if you’ve spent anytime in a grocery store over the past week, you’ve probably seen a veritable smorgasbord of new products. From chips to frozen diet dinners to cereals, the passing from one year to the next finds companies pushing new products with all the kind of energy and enthusiasm of Tony Perkis’ pushing his diet system.
Mmmm. Skim Milk. Speaking of diet program, that’s exactly what many companies are pushing. New Year’s Resolutions almost always revolve around food (unfortunately, if you ask me), and they’re not just confined to the proverbial eating healthier. These days, it’s not enough to just eat something that someone says is good for you, but it’s apparently our civic duty to eat something that’s good for the planet and the people involved in making it.
I’m all for doing good for the planet and supporting hardworking people, but there are times when I how far we are supposed to go when it comes to doing our small part. I bring all this up because I was rudely mocked on a recent facebook post by an individual who found it humorous that I looked forward to a cereal (the new Cheerios Medley Crunch) that did not conform to non-Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) standards. Frankly, the only thing more annoying at this point in our country than arguing about politics is to argue about food politics, and how you can find fault with America’s favorite cereal is beyond me. If you want to embrace a secular religion of wheat grass and $5.99 organic, avocado oil fair-trade potato chips and put down everyone who likes “the regular crap” as disastrous, money-grubbing fiends; well, I can’t stop you. But please. Don’t act like I’ve leading to the downfall of western civilization because I enjoy actual sugar in my cereal and could care less whether it’s been modified. I’ve been eating this ‘crap’ for years, and I’ve yet to sprout into Godzilla, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.
That comment got me thinking, however, and led me to seek out a new cereal that apparently meets just about every standard for being as close to nature as possible. I mean, if said cereal is affordable, and it tastes just as good as my mainstream favorites, then there’s no reason to think I can’t become a regular buyer, right? Kashi’s new Berry Fruitful seems to be one of those cereals. It’s organic, its non-GMO verified, and it packs six grams of fiber and protein in only 170 calories. I, however, could care less about the first two parts of that equation. I’m more interested to see if this copy-cat version of the popular Frosted Mini Wheats Touch of Fruit variety has the potential to be more than just a cereal for “organic aisle” people.
While I enjoy the GoLean varieties of Kashi cereal, I’ve found the company’s wheat biscuit flavors to be underwhelming in the past. They just seem to lack the enough sugar coverage to make the taste anything but boring and plain, while the biscuits themselves shed wheat layers faster than Beethoven sheds fur on a humid day.
As you can see, each biscuit has a cyclops like “eye” of injected purple jelly. It’s really quite scary to look at, and reminds me of the creepy SAL 3000 from the cartoon Recess (watch here.) The amount of jelly in each biscuit is almost microscopic, while there’s no exterior sugar-coating for crunch (think Frosted Mini Wheats.) According to the ingredients on the box the filling consists of concord grape juice concentrate, apple powder, raspberry puree concentrate, and strawberry puree concentrate. I am reminded, in no uncertain terms, that each ingredient is organic.
Each biscuit certainly tastes organic. Meaning it tastes just like the stereotype; bland, underwhelming and plain. To be fair, I actually enjoy the filling. It has this comforting grape jelly flavor that’s not overly sweet, with a pectin like consistency falling somewhere between fruit leather and actual jelly. The problem is that there’s just nowhere near enough of the filling to give the rest of the biscuit flavor. Evaporated Cain Juice might be listed as the second ingredient on the box, but as is so often the case with the corn-syrup/sugar fill-in, it’s hard to detect. Seriously Kashi. Why can’t you just use good old-fashioned plain sugar? Or even honey for all it’s worth! At least I would be able to taste it!
The biscuits take on milk quite easily and turn pleasantly mushy when you bite down on them, but the flavor of the filling itself doesn’t get any lift, nor do the relatively tasteless wheat layers. It’s not bad, but I chalk it up more to an equal cut of skim milk and half-and-half, which I swear will endear any cereal with a certain creamy taste.
Once again, Kashi’s attempts to recreate a more “wholesome” version of Frosted Mini Wheats have failed. At only 8 grams of sugar for a 55 gram serving, it runs at a sweetness of just over 4 grams/ounce. To put that in perspective, the cereal has about the same sweetness profile as Wheaties. But in terms of discernible sweetness it might be even less, as the dull taste of evaporated cane juice syrup tastes like it evaporated right out of the cereal. With a dull exterior wheat taste that doesn’t have a toasted or malty flavor, the biscuits can’t even be saved by a sophisticated and slightly tart grape filling. It’s a shame, because that filling would have pushed these over the top had Kashi made several tweaks to their wheat biscuit template. As it is though, this is just another flavor that has too little sugar and to break the stereotypes about organic cereals, and too little innovation to be anything but berry disappointing.
Kashi Berry Fruitful
- Price: $2.50 (on sale at Weis Markets)
- Ranking: 4/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 0%