Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola Review

Warning – major grocery chain housebrand ahead. Those who are strongly against purchasing goods from these “big” players, turn away.

Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola – such an average, non-bombastic name.


Let’s attempt the rational review: a cereal review dependent on logic and justification (I’m hoping to draw some relevance to my current degree here; practice some reasoning skills amidst writing this)

I bought this for two reaons, in order of significance:

1) It won a prize in the nation-wide Quality Food Awards 2011: which made me decide, even before leaving my home, that I’d go to Tesco’s to buy this. (Note the blue logo on the top left of the package)

2) I’ve been on a bit of a granola streak lately, so I had some leftovers from the previous weeks to taste and compare this with.

The difference between Tesco’s “Finest” and the regular granolas can be seen in several ways. Price is the thing we jump straight to on the aisle: this costs GBP3 for 500g; while the equivalents from Quaker and Jordan’s cereals are priced at GBP1.99 each.

Then we attempt to justify the price. Finest Granola is sweetened with Tesco’s Finest Honey (boy.) And contains premium nuts such as WHOLE hazelnuts, chopped pecans, sliced almonds, and some pumpkin seeds. The other mid-priced granola brands can dream of whole hazelnuts and pecans; Dorset’s Cereals gives you those, but they’re priced (gulp!) even higher than Finest Granola.

(END logical discourse: you can’t describe taste and texture without being subjective)

I absolutely love the packaging: ziplock bag, useful for retaining freshness. Not to mention that the interior of the bag is lined with aluminium foil. I’m not sure how this helps preserve granola, since there isn’t a specific temperature it has to be stored at, and given the UK’s temperate climate.


Ooh yeah: large chunks, small chunks, pulverized granola bits: you’ve got them all. Medium and minisule coconut shreds too. The textural sensations are quite remarkable, since the chunks are crunchy owing to the well-toasted oats (or, perhaps caramelized sugars); while the coconut shreds are lightly chewy.

The nuts are DEEPLY roasted too (in fact, they remind me of the roasted hazelnuts in Tesco’s Finest Roasted Nuts), where biting into one will reveal an inner “char”. (Darnit I shouldve grabbed a biopsy photo).

So, ok. Crunchy, chewy.

The most crucial element of such granolas which tout a variety of ingredients is how well they meld together. “Cinnamon Granola”, “Chocolate Granola“: these are easy. Just contain the name-sake ingredient in a balanced amount, and you’re safe.

Here though, balanced amounts are needed, but they need to COMPLEMENT each other.

Raw Pumpkin seeds – slight bitterness, yogurty-tang; mental impression of a dense forest.

Roasted hazelnuts – a warm fire; depth of a typical roasted nut.

Coconut – bursts of richness, akin to that of butter, but of a different flavour profile. I have no idea how to describe what “coconut” tastes like.

Pecans – these were the best. Partially roasted to retain the bitterness present in its raw form, yet bearing that crunch to match the textures of the other ingredients.

Honey – couldn’t tell. Tasted like Lyle’s golden syrup, or brown sugar to me; the taste of molasses was prevalent here.

After these descriptions, I wouldn’t say the above flavours “complemented” each other. There’s variety, yes. But it seems as if that’s the ONLY CARD Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola plays. I did not get any distinct flavour that would allow me to recall this granola on a blind test, since it is so dependent on each ingredient.


At 500kcal / 100g, this is hefty. Note that 500g is a small bag – ultimately containing 500 x 5 = 2500kcal (the daily calorie-total recommended for an average man)

I guess I can see how Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola won that award. It’s ingredients are certainly worth the label. However, the chemistry between the ingredients just isn’t there. I’d buy it again though, for the decadent quality alone.

-The Exercising Male

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Nature Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend

American granola always seems so much better than the UK varieties; more innovative flavours that never seem to disappoint in terms of satisfying chunks and delicious mix ins. I just knew then, that when one of my family members was going over to the US a month back that I had to say “pretty please” and do my sweetest smile and hope that they would bring me back some cereal I requested.

Thankfully they did and so here I am reviewing one of the delicious morsels that was brought back : Nature Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend.

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I’d tried the Carrot Cake blend before and had fallen in love therefore I was hoping that the Aloha Blend would be equally inspiring;  crunchy granola clusters, toasted coconut, juicy pineapple and huge white chocolate chunks..I mean really what’s not to like?!

I love how huge the clusters are in this granola; there’s certainly no skimping when it comes to the hefty crunchy oat morsels and the white chocolate chunks..all I can say is “wow”, this is the type of  cereal where you just know you’re gonna end up rooting around in the bag to try and find all of the ‘good bits’ and then when you come to pour yourself a bowl..all you’re left with is the oaty clusters!

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The sweet white chocolate, refreshingly juicy pineapple flavours and the earthy toasted coconut create a wonderful mix of flavours that when combined with the granola base just take you away on a tropical taste sensation (I know cheesy or what, but really I can’t express how good a cereal this is).

The granola clusters soften ever so slightly on the outside once popped into milk but still remain a deliciously crisp centre; whilst the milk is flavoured in a perfectly sweet creamy pineapple/coconut flavour..a bit like a non alcoholic pina colada. Wowza!   I know this cereal isn’t particularly cheap in comparison to other granola on the market, I think in the States it is priced around $5.99 for around a 400g bag which is pretty hefty; however if you want a special treat it is definitely worth it. It’s probably a good thing I can’t get my hands on it more easily or else I’m pretty sure both my waistline and purse would be suffering!

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Nature’s Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend
per 100g
500kcal
67g carbs (20g sugar)
7g protein
23g fat (7g saturates)
7g fibre

Mark’s & Spencer’s Summer Berries Granola

One of the main British brand-names in the market (I almost started with “the epitomy of..”, but realized there was Waitrose, Harrods, and many more which my ignorant self probably won’t be able to name), Marks and Spencer, or more affectionately known as M&S, doesn’t offer much of a cereal range. Pretty much the same cereals are available here in the UK as those I recall from my early teens, visiting an M&S in Singapore. Those of you in the know will have had the all-too-familar Marks & Spencer’s Triple Chocolate Crunch, Summer Berries Flakes, and their range of instant porridges.

Today we’ve got Summer Berries Granola, sold in a bag form. I actually like the Artwork on this. It’s got impressions of plants – leaves, ferns, corn crops, etc., with an avant-garde font to boot. Clearly aimed at adults here: I think the font itself needs some deciphering given its medieval hue, as I hope you can see from the picture.

I was surprised when I opened this open-and-reseal-ziplock bag. A fresh, lingering aroma of raisins and cranberries met the nose; and the sight of HUGE, plump raisins caught my eye. Smatterings of cranberries were there as well. Wow.

I retracted that “wow” soon enough. That’s too much fruit. Look at this. How much oat have we got? How many oat crumbles do you count?

More of a muesli than a granola then, since we’ve got more oat crumbs then huge granola chunks (which we all know we love and adore for that hefty bite). Furthermore, on a closer inspection, I’d realized that the initial impression of “too much fruit” was aided by the small crumb size. The large raisins and cranberries had settled at the top: the little oat crumbs gone to the bottom. That meant that some shaking had to be done.

Let’s get down to it.

As expected, the texture was gritty, with a chew of a dense, voluptuous raisin in EVERY bite. I actually liked that. Most wouldn’t like so many raisins in their granola or muesli; but note that these are LARGE, JUMBO raisins we’re talking about, so the chew fills your mouth with a burst of jelly and flavour. The cranberries weren’t so amazing though.

Then, a surprise. Some seeds; some grit, some distinct sour-berries. Ah! Dehydrated strawberry pieces. So small that they were mere red specks next to the rest of the fruits. These were impressive – sharp, clear, piercing.

INTERLUDE:
(I can’t help but descend into a discussion on taste now; the texture of this cereal melds so well with the fruity bursts)

Yes, I couldn’t help thinking “strawberries & cream” when the bursts of strawberry came through the milk. With the oat chunks imparting a “flapjack” aroma (without the butter-taste; just sweet oats) to this, it was like having a strawberries & cream tart.

A pity there weren’t that many strawberry bits. I guess we could go the same way to say that we had a “Raisin cream explosion”, but that just isn’t the same.

The fruitiness of this granola got to me. Summer Berries indeed.

The oat crumble was bad on the textural note: minor chunks barely matching my thumbnail, with small crumbs making most of the bag. The saving grace is that the aromas of oat were fresh: each oat grain had a flavour on its own that was not dependent on some lame-duck sugar syrup, but (wheaty?) goodness which lingered in the mouth to round off a wholesome, breakfast finish.

I was impressed with the nutritionals, initially. At 370kcal/100g it’s much less calorific than your typical granolas. However on further research / inspection, I realized that could be attributed to the high fruit content: 33% fruit, hence almost akin to a typical high-fruit muesli. (Compare Alpen’s no-sugar muesli, and Dorset Cereal’s high-fruit varieties). Not much protein at 9g /100g, as expected. It’s fruit, after all.


This one’s a winner, in my book. Even though the oat crumbles failed size-wise, we have a truly “mature” breakfast granola here. The fruit flavours come through nicely – distinct, crisp strawberry and dense, deep raisins: and these match the flat-ish oat depth as a canvas.

Oh; did I mention that it goes well with milk too?

-The Exercising Male