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


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

Tesco Hazelnut Crispy Pillows

It’s always nice to start off a review on a nasty note. This is a rip-off of the Kellogg’s Krave cereal. It’s a whole Pound cheaper than the Branded one (at 1.69 vs 2.69), and comes in a cardboard box that’s thicker as well. Not much in terms of a description – the box-art tells you pretty much all you need to know.

In fact, I think the pictures here are WAY more realistic than those used by the original: note how –

1) there aren’t any corny cereal “creatures” here.

2) You can actually SEE the texture of each piece

3)The shade of colour used is equivalent to the actual cereal specimen.

So with that – I’d say Tesco isn’t misrepresenting itself here (I apologize for going over this first – I am a Law student, after all)

THE SPECIMEN: The Pillows are large; about the size of the top digit of your thumb. Not as big as a Bite Size shredded wheat, but still enough to constitute a mouthful (together with milk) when you’re eating it.


Crispy, in a wafer-sort of way, airy as well. the insides are generously filled with a little dollop (I’d estimate 3ml worth) of filling. The cavity isn’t ENTIRELY filled though, I’d say about 3/4s filled. This bodes well – and doesn’t give such an empty bite to it.

Biting into this thing is a separate matter altogether. Thoughts of a confectionery pervade- this isn’t a breakfast cereal! It’s like a separate biscuit delight altogether, something you snack on as a guilty indulgence, something OVER-QUALIFIED as a breakfast cereal. How did Tesco achieve this?
It seems they outdid themselves on quality here. The taste is reminiscent of a cheaper variety of Nutella, yet it delivers the hazelnut message clearly. It isn’t as sweet as you’d expect – in fact it’s less calorific /100g than the typical Krave cereal.
Nutty whiffs amidst the wafer background; breaking into milky smooshiness if you eat this with milk. Oh dear – cereal-gasm there.


There IS one problem with this one. You either get through a bowl too quickly; with each mouthful collapsing and compressing so well in the milk, or, you get through a bowl too slowly, like me, eating them one by one, savouring the texture and subtlety of the hazelnut-wafer amalgam that each piece is so delicately made to resemble.

I do have one question, that I suppose can be posed to any complex cereal product out there – how in the world are these manufactured? I think some credit should be paid to not just he who came up with the concept of such “filled cereal puffs”, but also to he who devised the manufacturing process.

Gotta be some high-flying Food Engineer, or something.

-The Exercising Male.