When you get as passionate about cereal as I am, it’s hard to resist developing a hierarchy of brands and flavors. Like an analyst pouring over college football statistics and the perception of certain teams, I not only recognize a hierarchy in terms of the best and worst cereals, but attribute labels such as over and underrated to them.
Among my most cited and favorite underrated cereals, you ask? That would e Fiber One’s Honey Clusters, which features a delectably sweet combination of toasted, hearty multigrain flakes and crispy oat clusters. I mean, what more could a guy want, besides, you know, some marshmallows and chocolate chips thrown in there for good measures? Well, now that I think about it, some fruit and nuts would work great too. Which is probably exactly why I was drawn to the newest addition to the Fiber One cereal family, Nutty Clusters and Almonds.
I think Fiber One’s marketing people do a swell job for the most part. I mean, nothing makes me want to run out and buy something more than a witty Englishman, and when you basically make fiber taste like candy, you’re going to get my attention. But Nutty Clusters? That’s the best they could come up with? The Fiber One team is almost as bad at coming up with cereal names as I was coming up with newspaper headlines.
The good news is that you can, in fact, see the Almonds. Likewise, the hearty flakes are just as good as they are in the Honey Cluster cereal. They’re crunchy and slightly malty when eaten plain, developing a stronger sweetness during the process of mechanical digestion. Like many Fiber One products, a light chicory flavor stands in as a banknote, but it contributes to the depth of flavor and woodsy sweetness. In milk you get a better sense for the subtle molasses flavor of the flakes, which turns an al dente soggy.
The almond slivers add a bit of anise flavor, but they don’t come across as intensly flavored through toasting, and lack the ideal crunch you’d get from a whole almond. You’ll be able to pick up the flavor if eaten dry, but in milk, they’re kind of moot point.
The biggest disappointment, however, is the clusters. They seem few and far between, and fundamentally different from the crunchy, sweet, and glazed clusters of the Honey Clusters and Raisin Bran Cluster flavors of Fiber One. For the most part they look the same, but they just lack the same crunch and sweetness, and don’t often enough. Likewise, there are a few scattered puffed wheat pieces in the bag, which add about as much value to the team as the third string long snapper does for your college. In other words, why?
I like Fiber One Nutty Clusters, but I wouldn’t choose it over Fiber One’s Honey Clusters or Raisin Bran Clusters, or Honey Bunches of Oats for that matter. Despite having more sugar than the Honey Clusters it doesn’t taste as sweet, and the lack of a chewy aspect in dried fruits holds the experience back. If you’re an Almond fan like me, you might just want to throw some almonds into the Honey Clusters, and maybe even go ahead and add some marshmallows while you’re it.
Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds
- Price: $3.00 (On sale at Safeway)
- Ranking: 6/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 40%