Sainsbury’s Choco-Hazelnut Squares

I have to give some credit to Sainsbury’s here.

Most imitations are blatant, wholesale rip-offs of the branded good. Today we’re talking about an imitation product of the Kellogg’s Krave cereal: cereal squares filled with chocolate or hazelnut ganache.

Sainsbury’s took this idea, but with one pretty major difference. They’ve sold it in handy lunch-box sized packs, marketing it as an “on-the-go” breakfast cereal alternative which does not require milk. Although this concept is new in the UK (cereals as packaged on the go-no-milk snacks), an earlier review of Cadbury’s Chocolate Squares in SouthEast Asia on this blog shows that it’s been around in the eastern market for a year or two.

Sainsburys choco hazelnut squares(2)

Although Nestle has got it’s 5-in-1 sachets of Cheerios and Cookie Crunch in supermarkets, those aren’t advertised as “milk-free” alternatives (then again, eating cereal out of the box has been something so many of us have been doing!)

So you see: the packet itself is small, at 40g, constituting what “should be” one serving of cereal. I paid 59p for this; which is pretty expensive considering an average 375g box of cereal costs less than 2 pounds per box, and which contains upwards of 8-10 servings.

I don’t like the animal on the packet. I (think) it’s an Owl, and 20 guesses how Sainsbury’s related that to it’s Choco-Hazelnut squares. It clearly does not exclude the “children” target market, given its colours and graphics which could appeal both to young and old.

Small squares. Deformed. Bent? Sheesh. Talk about some bad product consistency here. In my history of eating “squared” cereals, I’ve never encountered such mishaps. Broken is fine, but totally misshaped? That points to some manufacturing defects in the product “baking / forming” itself, which shouldve been picked up early in the developmental process.

Sainsburys choco hazelnut squares

At least it’s light and puffy, despite it’s thi character. To me that’s a good thing, since this leads on to the thicker (texturally) ganache. Too thick an exterior wouldn’t let you enjoy the smoothness of the inner filling; and this cereal avoids that pitfall. It’s got a good crunch initially as well, which collapses into the light puff, and finally, the ganache.

I wonder if it’s worth mentioning this; but I thought the corners were  sharp; angular squares are appealing, but I can imagine something too “sharp” being dangerous to little mouths (I.e Kids).  This might be due to the thin-ness of each piece, since a “fat” corner wouldn’t be sharp would it; but I guess that’s something we’ll have to ask the manufacturer.

The outer shell of the cereal didn’t taste very wheaty: some might like this, some might not. It was more like a “pillow puff” version of Cornflakes, with a clear corn / grit taste to it. It’s also lightly sweetened; I did not detect any “distinct” sweetness worth mentioning on its own.

The ganache was dull as well. It wasn’t “bad” tasting. It had little hazelnut aromas, not even the cheap-sweet-nutella-esque that is so common in hazelnut confectionery. I suppose one can’t expect very much from a grocery store brand. Kellogg’s Chocolate Hazelnut Krave beats this on Hazelnut taste hands-down. There was “chocolate”. Nothing deep-cocoa-ey, but just plain sweetness. As you can tell, I’m having difficulty explaining the taste characteristics of this cereal. It’s just that bland.

A sad thing then, that what was the perfect “canvas”  (the puff) for the ganache had ultimately gone to waste. Sainsbury’s Choco Hazelnut Squares’ ganache was a let-down.

Nutritionally, I’d expect this to fare better, sugar-wise, then Krave. This wasn’t the case. There isn’t much too different between this cereal and Krave’s nutritionals. At 420kcal /100g, they’re roughly identical, sad to say. The 40g serving-size  pack that you buy this in will surprise you as well, as 40g isn’t very much.

(Sorry for not having a picture of this one. I snapped one, but it was blurry, and oddly enough didn’t show that it was blurry when I previewed the shot after.)

Sorry Sainsbury’s, but Kellogg’s Krave takes the cake, and it’s cheaper for the box too.

-The Exercising Male

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Tesco Cinnamon Squares Breakfast Cereal

We’re back to the cinnamon cereal streak here in the UK. It beats me why we’re observing this trendhere. A year ago only Nestle made their Curiously Cinnamon squares, which are similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the US. We aren’t just limited to “mere non-textured cereal squares” though;  several weeks ago we had Sainsbury’s Cinnamon Malties with its Chex-like pattern. What have we today?

Tesco’s Cinnamon Squares, with cute gopher-chipmunk-animal-thing to boot.


These are pretty large squares, and textured with lines, similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They fit nicely in your mouth, 3-4 to a tablespoon (with milk).

2 things to note about the texture though;

1)Each square is thick. Like: so thick that it crunches in your mouth, as if it was the chunky outer surface of a freshly-baked baguette. I mean, look at it; it’s almost half the thickness of an old-school-sized thumbdrive (note my love for all things “thumb”)

2)Cinnamon sugar absolutely adorns these pieces, though not to the extent of the sugar coating in Nestle’s Curiously Cinnamon or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m not sure about this, but the sugar GRAINs themselves seemed more coarse than other cinnamon-themed cereals, complementing the above “chunky” squares even more.

Awesome; especially when some Os are thrown into the mix (Tesco brand, of course)

Taste is hard. It’s sweet, with that simple white sugar sweetness. It has a light (too light?) tinge of cinnamon in it that is just enough to “inform” you that you’re having a cinnamon treat. I like the subtlety here, because it matches the wheaty, almost BISCUITy taste of each square.

Cinnamon biscuits. That’s what we’ve got here. Put them in milk? You get bliss.

At 410kcal/100g, it isn’t TOO bad, neither is it good. “A source of fibre” and “wholegrain” is advertised on the box, which isn’t a lie per se;  though I’d take that with a pinch of salt. I’ve calculated the 100g equivalent for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, in order to get an approximation of the serving size in volume. 30g of this should be somewhere between 3/4 of a cup to 1 Cup.

Certainly beats eating Granola (to me at least; i’m sure my compatriot would disagree!), since here you get a luscious biscuity bite, without that hefty calorie-count that usually comes with it!

-The Exercising Male

Kellogg’s Nutri-grain cereal review

Kellogg’s Nutri-grain is a breakfast cereal in Australia, and a cereal bar in the US. The breakfast cereal variant isn’t commonly reviewed: hence the choice to write about it today.

The box is brown. Brown. Brown. Brown. Doesn’t help that the cereal is brown too. Essentially you’ve got something on the cereal shelf that looks like a block of wood, and doesn’t appeal to kids, or adults.

A quick search on the Australian Kellogg’s site revealed the target consumers.

Sportsmen. Nutri-grain Iron men, as they are dubbed. There are several Kiwi and Aussies athletes sponsored by Nutri-grain. As a triathlete myself, I have to say that I absolutely love this one.

Each piece is individually-shaped, piece-by-piece in a waffle-crisp way. I have no idea what the holes are for, since the cereal itself is porous and absorbs milk. Perhaps it adds to the “home-made” / artisan feel that the look for in that comforting bowl of cereal in the morning.

I liked the way each pieces gets soggy in milk. It becomes mushy, and contrary to the conventional notions of a good cereal; the fact that it retains absolutely ZERO “crispy-ness” is what I enjoy most. You’ve still got the shape of each individual piece – the holes in each are still recognizable, except that it COLLAPSES instantly on any pressure exerted by your teeth, or tongue (this is kinda gross, I know. But how else do I describe it?)

Taste is one-dimensional. I guess you can’t expect much from something which isn’t bursting with added sugar. It tastes very wheaty, in the “cheap wholemeal bread” way: and I am inclined to believe that this ties in with the higher-than-average protein content derived totally from wheat (more on that below). There’s a mild malt-taste in this cereal which was enjoyable when taken together with milk (albeit not as strong as a malt drink per se) that provided some depth to the cereal that is (thankfully) unrelated to sweetness.

For 120kcal per cup of dry cereal, you get 6g of protein. This is more than Special K, and the bran cereals out there. You’ve also got a hefty dose of carbohydrate here, perfect for a pre or post workout snack.

I love this cereal, and is one of the few which I’ll make purchase again and again.

Good on’ya Kelloggs Australia.

Now: how do I get a hold of this in the UK when the University term starts?

-The Exercising Male

Morinaga Choco Flake – Cookies and Cream

Our very first Japanese cereal review. We’ve got a weird one at that. It looks to be an iteration of Cookies and Cream flakes, even with small chunks of black cookies to boot. This was from a Japanese supermarket in Singapore, and cost me S$3.80 (GBP1.90)

For those of us out there who dont quite know what or who Morinaga is, they’re a well-distributed (i.e globally) Japanese brand of confectionery, savoury snacks, ice cream, buns, (i can’t think of any further categories of foodstuff). they make mini chocolate pie puffs called Pie-no-mi, which claim to be masterful 28-layered pastries that taste wonderful after a bout in the microwave. That alone should show you the lengths to which their creativity extends, and the manner in which they exercise culinary-confectionery know-how. Perhaps an exclusionist rendition of their industry segment would work: they make anything that ISN’T the main meal, and which contains some iteration of a sweetener in them.

So we have established that Morinaga is an established snack brand. So the question is: just how far can their cereals go?

Morinaga’s main cereal offering is the Choco flake, which is pretty self-explanatory.  Chocolate cornflakes arent quite as mainstream in the Western markets as they are in Japan and Korea; i’d say that we’re all more familiar with chocolate rice crispies, chocolate cheerios, chocolate puffs, and other odd shapes; but not the typical “cornflake”. The closest we know of would be chocolate frosties; but even then, I guess you could say that isnt really a “chocolate” cereal.

Enough chatter.

Morinaga has gone one step further, with some vanilla ice cream / cookies and cream variant.

The packaging itself is sufficient to convey the target market. In a medium-sized bag (105g), fully-coloured, bright renditions of sugary flakes, large pictures ice cream, and large, large Japanese words. Could we call this the Lady Gaga of packaging in its loudness?

Not so big, not so small either. Almost perfect-sized flakes, if you ask me. As you can see, they’re about the size of Special K flakes. Nothing out of the ordinary, in that sense.

Boy have we got a winner though, when it comes to taste. The sugar coating on each flake is ridiculously thick. Imagine something with a solid layer of sugar on each side of each flake. Not just that; this doesnt dissolve in milk to give you some sugary syrup a la Fruit Pebbles. These hold their own as nuggets of flaki-sugariness.

Gosh i have difficulty even describing it. It’s THAT unreal.

A blitzkrieg of sugar of the most simple variety (ie white, refined sugar) culminating in the bits of (what’s meant to be) Oreo cookies that adorn every, single, flake. They are so common that instead of hoping to bite into a cookie piece (as is the case with other food products which feature co-stars);

Morinaga blesses you with an abundance of cookie chunks. That said, the cookie chunks werent fantastic tasting. They had a mild cocoa kick to them, but which doesn’t hit you the way Oreos do.

These traits make this a snack that can hold its own even when eaten “dry”. It’s a delight that does not need milk as a “supporting cast”.

That said, the snack is way too sweet for “normal” people. The entire 105g bag had 455kcal in it, and it measured out to a 2 cup serving. Gosh. That’s quite a punch in each tablespoon of cereal (1 cup contains 15 tbsp)

Hence, it’s 227kcal / 1 cup / 52.5g, which is pretty darn calorie-dense for a flake cereal.

 

All in all, this has that level of sugary dryness that Fruity Pebbles have. Certainly it unhealthy, and too sweet; but hey – my problem is that i have a serious sweet tooth.

Which is why i loved this snack/cereal.

I don’t even know how to classify it.

-The Exercising Male

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Coco Shreddies, ah, just the thought of them reminds me of my childhood; as a small child they were my favourite go-to treat cereal. There was something oh so delicious about tucking into a warm bowl full of them on a cold winter’s morning before I was sent packing to school with my tummy full of comforting chocolate cereal goodness. Despite Shreddies being one of the major cereals in the UK they very rarely update the varieties so I was pleased to see that something new had eventually hit the market in the form of this Limited Edition Orange Coco Shreddies.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like these as much as the original Coco Shreddies variety; although I am partial to orange flavoured things here and there I wouldn’t leap for excitement at the prospect at the idea of a bowl full of these, but of course, for cereal reviewing purposes I was willing to try them out.

For all you guys out there that like to eat your Shreddies cold I tried them out this way first to see how they fared up (even though I pretty much only ever eat mine warm); the orange flavour wasn’t too overpowering and added a nice refreshing tang to the light chocolate flavour that is usually prevalent. Like regular Shreddies these held up pretty well in milk thanks to their woven structure..”knitted by nanas” and all that razzmatazz, but softened enough to help leak some of their cocoa orange goodness into the cereal milk below.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Sipping the chocolate orange milk it was deliciously flavourful; if any of you have experienced the Frijj chocolate orange milkshake I can say that it pretty much tasted exactly like that, albeit just a tiny bit thinner due to me using skimmed milk, and it obviously not having thickeners in it; but perfect for any chocolate orange lovers!

Now how did it fair when I ate it “myyyy wayyy?”, as Frank Sinatra so wonderfully sang. Well it was even better, heating it up in the microwave until the Shreddies had started to lose their shape slightly seemed to intensify the flavour; the chocolate/cocoa taste was stronger the orange more refreshing and adding a nice fruity tang and the heat from the cereal added that all important comforting factor that we Brits so often need on many a cold morning!

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Although I wouldn’t rate these over the classic Coco Shreddies I would still say these are pretty good, thankfully they aren’t too sweet and the orange flavour isn’t artificial tasting whatsoever, in fact it’s got quite a natural taste to it, if you see these in your local supermarket and you’re a fan of the classic Coco Shreddies then I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to pick these up but I highly recommend that you try them warm, they just make the experience a whole lot better.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

per 100g
374kcal
8.5g protein
76.2g carbs (28.9g sugar)
2g fat (0.7g saturates)
0.63g salt
8.6g fibre

Hubbard’s Big Bugs n’ Mud – Chocolate Clusters Cereal

Another chocolate-themed cereal. I hope the readers don’t hate me for this, but how do you divorce your favourite treat from breakfast? Ok maybe we could say that this one’s slightly different from the rest – the name itself is kinda gross: “bugs”, “mud”. Ah well.

Hubbard’s is an established cereal brand in Australia, and New Zealand. I was able to get a hold of it in the expat / fairly upmarket grocery store here in Kuala Lumpur. It’s priced lower than the American cereals (proximity, perhaps?) Though it’s… Just as tasty.

 

Something I’ve realised when it comes to box art: it differs from country to country, according to the origin of the brand. American brands, I’d say we’re familiar with. Mascots, creatures like Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch, with separate, non-generic identities adorn american cereal packages. I’ve found that Hubbard’s and Nestle use more general characters, unnamed things to represent the image, relying on colour and little else to convey their brand.

Big Bugs n’ Mud from Hubbard’s uses a crocodile, and other background entities to convey its branding. I can’t quite draw a direct relationship between the crocodile and the nature of the cereal, other than jaws + crunch. Then again, what the heck does a tiger have to do with Frosties?

(C.f. read The Great American Cereal Book for some info on this. It’s a lovely book for all cereal lovers!)

Clusters. Well, that’s what this cereal claims to be anyway. The cereal bag was filled with broken chunks, problem being that each chunk was small – the largest, about the size of your thumbnail. I guess these qualify as “clusters” when you compare them to Honey Bunches of Oats, with similar clusters. But boy was I hoping for hefty chunks. I thought “Big Bugs” meant Beetle sized pieces. I wasn’t sure whether to fault the importer / distributor (poor shipping methods), or to fault Hubbards (truly small clusters) – but what might be useful to note is that the clusters are awfully fragile: even lifting one could cause it to crumble.

They’re crunchy alright. Light, puffed wheat, rice, and barley tossed in a cocoa compound, giving it that “dried mud” look. I guess it’s quite hard to NOT be crunchy if you’re puffed, especially in air-tight packaging. I liked the bite. It was refreshing, and it stayed like that in milk for the entire duration of the cereal experience, without going soft and putrid.

I also liked the fact that the variety of grains was discernible: puffed rice grains were intact, long; puffed wheat was pillowy, as if biting into a pocket of air.

Maybe that aspect of the cereal could be seen to be analogous to… The “Big Bugs”, a variety of bugs in your cereal. How appetizing.

On to taste. Off the cuff – I had expected myself to be dismissing Big Bugs n’ Mud cereal right now, for being “overly sweet in a Cocopops” way. Surprise surprise. It was lacking in chocolatey-sweetness to the extent that I wouldn’t even say it was sweet, but rather, that it had a “tinge / touch / morsel / nibble” of sugar, juuust enough to give it some flavour.

In short – it’s pretty tasteless, for something which calls itself “chocolatey clusters”.

That could be forgiven if the cereal had some darker, mature chocolate notes. But this had none of those characteristics, and only had its “wheaty / grainy” taste, that comes with having a grain base.

Problem with the above? The less-sweet motif doesn’t quite match up with its nutritionals.

You get 160kcal for a 2/3 cup serving, which isn’t much. You could eat a similar amount of some sweeter granolas for that. Protein content isn’t particularly high either, less than 4g in that serving. You get more from a bowl of Bran, or Special K.

Well – to end off: i have to insert this picture – all my reviews thus far have it.

 

The Thumb Shot.

This cereal was boring, other than for the crunchy variety of grains. Not very “chocolatey” at all. Guess those of us not from Australia and New Zealand aren’t missing out on much, from this offering by Hubbard’s then.

-The Exercising Male

 

Honey Monster Choco Puffs

What is that puffy creature that seems to look like the Sun doing on the front of a box of cereal? Honey Puffs are the UK version of Sugar Smacks, and are, quite simply, sugar-coated wheat puffs.

They’re a bargain here in the UK, where you can get a 400g box for a pound. This means that the Honey Puffs don’t just attract kids, but attract the budget-cereal eater too, for the price point is only slightly higher than the House Brand versions. (In fact I haven’t come across any house brand versions yet)

These are the simplest cereals imaginable: little puffs, hard, crisp with the sugar coating.

As you can see, the puffs are (by my standards and expectations, anyway) fairly large. The size of small pebbles, such that 6 – 8 fit on the average spoon at any one time.

This size also makes them more-ish, if eaten dry and with your fingers ( I found myself quite enjoying this method of eating with Choco Puffs; slow, yet satisfying)

Two characteristics to note:
1) External Crunch
2) Slight, “thin” internal Puff.

The crunch is provided by the cocoa-sugar crust, which was surprisingly well-done, as it was a thin, delicate shell that requires minimal biting to break. I’m particularly impressed here, as with this shell, the Choco Puffs stayed crunchy for a long time – even down to the last quarter of my bowl. A possible comparison could be a Crispy M&M, just dialing down the sugar shell a notch. Not bad for a “budget” cereal, eh?

Now, as for taste, you get what you pay for. As how I usually describe chocolate cereals which don’t appease the chocoholic in me;

“these reminded me of CocoPops / Cocoa Crispies”

It’s a lightly textured cocoa hit , almost like a cocoa-dusting (maybe that’s why the sugar-coating is so delicate). It’s not a “deep” cocoa flavour though; it nips you on your periphery senses, juuuuuuust enough to qualify as a chocolate cereal, given its namesake “Choco Puffs”.

A comparison may help: I found this cereal similar to Chocolate Lucky Charms in its chocolate-y-ness, and if you recall, I had thought this light chocolate hit to work against its favour(https://milkandspoon.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/chocolate-lucky-charms-general-mills/). However, as a fellow blogger commented: some do enjoy this light cocoa taste; having REAL chocolate in your cereal can be achieved by buying chocolate granola, or making your own chocolate muesli – which is clearly not the point when you shop at the cereal aisle in a supermarket.

Nutritionals: 114kcal / 30g (approximately a one cup serving, assuming its the same weight as Sugar Smacks. Here in the UK serving sizes are in weight). A high amount of sugar, like your usual chocolate cereal, yet less calorific owing to the “high-volume= low density” character of puffed grain.

I liked this. I’m flying home to Asia for the Summer, and have half a box to finish by tomorrow. I don’t think that will be a problem.

Stay tuned for some “odd”, off-the-beaten path cereal soon!

(Hopefully: depending on what I get back home)

-The Exercising Male

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon doesn’t seem to be as big a thing here as it is in the States, we rarely get specific cinnamon based cereals; sure there’s the odd one here and there but no where near as many, we don’t have the joys of cinnamon Cheerios, or Apple Jacks with their apple and cinnamon flavours and there’s certainly no Cinnamon Toast Crunch lurking in the aisles but thanks to the guys at American Soda you are able to get your hands on some to delve into what these little toast babies are really like!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Obviously aimed at kids, what with the big smiling baker man on the front..although to be honest it looks like someone may have spiked his Cinnamon Toast crunch; he has this sort of manic expression as he holds of tray of Cinnamon Toast..just what could he be thinking?! Well it’s obvious that his plan is going to be to trick parents into buying this cereal..giving out the healthy image that it’s made with “wholegrain”. Ok yes, it’s made with wholegrain but I guess that doesn’t make up for the fact that this is loaded with sugar, around 30-35g per 100g, putting it way up there with the sweetest of cereals.

However manic baker man really knows what he’s cooking up is gooood! As despite the bad nutritionals, this is obviously meant to be a treat cereal, and boy oh boy is it good! After being deprived of any really good cinnamon cereals in the UK this comes as a blessing, I can see what they mean when they say a “real cinnamon & sugar” in every bite. This cereal is extremely sweet but combined with the cinnamon provides a wonderful warming experience; almost like biting into a sweet sugary cinnamon bun!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Looking for a sugar rush? Look no further, you can actually feel the sweetness of the sugar running around in your mouth…and what do we normally get with sweet cereals? Awesome cereal milk! The stuff at the bottom of this bowl is nearly even better than the cereal itself; sweet, milky and full of a good strong cinnamon flavour I could just drink a pint of this stuff.

And does it live up to its name? Is it crunchy..does it deserve that “Crunch” title? Yes sure on first bite this cereal sure is crunchy; it has that distinctive snap to it that is just ideal, and this cereal would be certainly delicious to eat dry. However due to it’s relatively flimsy structure it doesn’t hold up all that great in milk and within a few minutes Cinnamon Toast Crunch turns to Cinnamon Toast Sog, which is slightly disappointing if you really want to savour this cereal as the flavour is gorgeous.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

If you want to get your hands on Cinnamon Toast Crunch make sure to check out Amercican Soda.

Nestle Original Shreddies, Nestle Coco Shreddies

Shreddies. I have to admit that I had never taken much notice of this cereal prior to coming to Oxford  to commence my studies. Nestle Shreddies never quite caught my eye in the supermarkets in Singapore; there were tonnes of other options like Waffle Crisp, Cheerios, which you read so much more about online. Also, I couldn’t source the Shreddies maker-equivalent in the States, though I had read that Post used to make a version of it. (More on this at the end)

Nestle Shreddies seem to be a “bare-bones” cereal that no one quite bothers about. You could say that they are analogous to Cheerios, as a “base” cereal, hence the Coco Shreddies and Frosted Shreddies incarnations.

These were offered as an option during college breakfast in my first year, and I usually chose these over the muesli also offered; as these were plain, and I could top it off with some nutella diluted in milk, or with some Honey Sugar provided for the morning porridge.

Enough banter. Let’s get to it. The plain Shreddies will be discussed first; the Coco one later, as they only differ in an aspect or two.

A squarish creature with eyes, a mouth, arms, and legs, jumping in, or out, of your bowl of cereal. That’s what’s on the Nestle Shreddies Box. Clearly targeted towards kids / teens; not exactly marketed as a health food since it doesn’t make huge claims of “Cholestrol-lowering” powers or Fiber.

Nutrition-wise, this cereal is actually decent! The ingredients list shows that you’re essentially eating shredded wheat. So not too different from Shredded Wheat Biscuits; that explains the 4 – 5g of protein you get as well. The amount of sugar isn’t TOO alarming; not like Lion cereal (w/ 13g of sugar per serving!) Or the traditional Cocoa Krispies.

Texture and appearance-wise: you can see the obvious “net” structure; akin to a stiff deep-fryer basket. It’s hard too; as hard as you’d expect any “shredded wheat” cereal to be.


The picture should be able to show you its thickness. This gives it a crunchy, biscuity bite that reminds you of water crackers. They’re dense too; and sink to the bottom of the bowl.


There isn’t a caramelized exterior in the plain Shreddies, nor any shiny / glitzy coating akin to Nestle’s Honey Stars. I think that’s why the next point comes up…

In milk, these turn soggy fairly quickly. 2 to 3 minutes, I’d say. I think they lack the “armour” that some cereal manufacturers employ to keep their creations crunchy even in milk (such as a thick exterior ala Peanut Butter Bumpers). They don’t discolour in milk; which is a good thing I guess – it shows that you really ARE eating a plain, unadulterated wheat masterpiece.

Cardboard. That was my very first thought when I bit into this, soaked in milk, back in my first year. I regretted my choice of this cereal immediately. But; after a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth bite, it grows on you. I realized this was the taste of wheat, that I had misinterpreted. It was earthy, and dull in a good way.  It was “well-bodied” like a solid 70-85% dark chocolate, or a “thick” Colombian coffee.

I doubt kids would like Nesle Shreddies though. I’m perplexed as to why the box-art is so kiddy-minded.

It’s time we talk about Coco Shreddies. They’re the same as the plain variety, except with a brown coating that’s meant to emulate chocolate.

As you can see from the first picture above- it’s a darker shade of brown here, akin to Koko Crunch, unlike Cocoa Krispies which are slightly lighter coloured. This coating is a sugary-one; it’s ALMOST caramelized as a shell on its, but dissolves quickly in your milk, and loses a fair amount of its colour. 

The brown coating gives it a powdery bite when you eat it dry, but yet retains the original’s texture in milk.

Chocolate-hit? Average. Making it similar to your average chocolate crispy cereal, without any rich dark chocolate hit; but simple. I have to admit – Coco Shreddies nails this chocolate bit in a basic, crave-ending sense. It’s like having Hersheys or Cadbury chocolate – you know what you’re in for, and you appreciate the simplicity.

Nutritionally, Coco Shreddies obviously have more sugar in them then the plain variety,  but it’s a worthwhile addition given the chocolate “add-on” it entails.

That’s that. Nestle Shreddies is something more of us should sample as a healthier cereal alternative. For those in the States, I haven’t been able to source who makes these on your end. Perhaps these exist as Chex? I know Post does these in Canada though.

Give Shreddies a chance.

-The Exercising Male

Kashi Honey Sunshine

More cereals from America, bought through iHerb, which offers reasonable shipping to the UK (quote QID159 at checkout for 5 bucks off your order.)

You might think:

“Meh… Another stupid healthy cereal. Another one of those replacements of sugary cereals catering to the health nuts who compromise on taste just for that wee bit of fiber that the cereal contains”.

Guess what – I thought the same, and boy, do I retract those words.

As many have noted, Kashi Honey Sunshine breakfast cereal is their version of Cap’n Crunch original, those crunchy square-shaped corn pieces that many have considered to have that “mouth-shredding” characteristic.

So here our impression of this cereal doesn’t start off on a blank slate; rather we’re starting with some expectations of how it SHOULD taste (I.e. With Cap’n Crunch as the starting point).

Nutrition-wise: whoa. Good job Kashi. A mere 90kcal / 3/4cup; Less than 10g of sugar (6g per serving), and with 6g of dietary fiber to boot. Not bad so far.

These are small. Nice and “cute-sy” (my new favourite expression) squares exactly the size of my thumbnail. They’re pretty thick too, resembling those sofa cushions that look so plush that you just want to jump into them, or dunk them in milk.

Yes: the milk test – the all-important factor. Different people have different criteria for this: for some it has to stay crunchy, for some it has to be mushy on the outside, but crunchy on the inside.

Kashi’s Honey Sunshine is the former. It stays crunchy for a solid 5 minutes. It doesn’t have a mushy outer layer (maybe a really thin one, but nigh-unnoticeable). I say: this has matched Cap’n Crunch in the crispy aspect. Imagine half the crispiness of cornnuts, and you should be right on target. Impressive!

Although one should note that the cereal does get slightly discoloured after a good milk-soak (which cereal doesn’t right?) But I thought it necessary to state that the discolouration is amazingly minimal, unlike Cocopops which lose their dark hue after a minute, and Reese’s Puffs which loose that bright orange after 2 minutes. The one on the left has been soaked, the one on the right fresh from the box.

I think this “non-discolouration” factor works in Kashi’s favour here; one tends to think that there isn’t any artificial colouring in this – and that its colour is truly, truly due to cornmeal.

I also liked the fact that you could fit so many onto a spoon, making the cereal incredibly more-ish (in a breakfast sense). On that note, my cereal drawer is right next to me at my desk, and I can’t help but reach for it in the middle of the day, owing to its size and crunch for that pick-me-up that is required on days of looong workouts.

The small size also allows small children to enjoy the cereal, since mothers may easily pop a piece or two into their mouths.

One may ask why, of all things, I would reach for this as a sugary-pick-me-up, when there’s chocolate and candy that I may rely on. That, is a question of taste.

Despite the lower sugar levels mentioned above, this cereal meets, and exceeds, the expectations set up Cap’n Crunch. In fact, I prefer its sweetness much more to that.

It’s not a plain sugar sweetness. Neither is it that indulgent, luxurious honey sweetness. Neither is it that Malt coating akin to Cascadian Farm’s Clifford Crunch, or Nestle Honey Stars. What we have here is a subtle but flavourful honey “lick“. You can tell that it’s TRYING to taste like honey, but that it simply isn’t. I don’t blame Kashi for this: achieving that honey taste would push the price of manufacturing through the roof. Then again, they’ve achieved a sweetness which other grocery cereals haven’t – I don’t have a word to describe it. What about this:

Subtle in intensity, and a lengthy sugar hit 

Density provided by the heavier, substantial “corn” taste you get from the cornmeal used in this cereal.

There. I like this. I really do.

It’s reasonably healthy, and subtly but sufficiently sweet. It stays crunchy, and doesn’t stain your milk.

Go get it!

-The Exercising Male