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

Sainsbury’s Wholegrain Cinnamon Malties

It is with this review that I have to bring you some shocking news my friends – I think there has been some slight inter-continental cereal “hanky panky” going on in Sainsbury’s cereal innovation department. When I popped into my local Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago I noticed these new own brand Cinnamon Malties gracing the shelves; cinnamon is so often a flavour that is completely overlooked in the UK and despite me despising it as a child I can’t get enough of it now so was pleased to see something a bit different compared to the usual boring flavour combinations we are subjected to.

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

 

Essentially, from the packaging, these “Malties”..oh wait no, not just “Malties” but “Wholegrain Malties”, looked as if they were the same structure as the popular Nestle breakfast cereal “Shreddies”; albeit with cinnamon flavouring and accompanied by a flying super-hero type figure who obviously thinks these Malties are so good that he just cannot resist pointing at them with his big yellow finger whilst eating a spoonful of the things in the other hand (be careful Superhero Malty that you don’t crash into the gigantic sized bowl!)

Obviously these are marketed at children yet are trying to portray they are also a healthy choice so parents don’t have to feel too bad about buying their kids a box full of them – “wholegrain”, “full of fibre”, “low fat”..need I go on.

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

So you may wonder what I am babbling on about with “inter-continental cerealy hanky-panky”; well you see these aren’t really like Shreddies – infact I’d say these were a cross-breed between Shreddies and the well known American Cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch. When I poured myself a bowl full of them and took the initial bite I immediately noticed that these had far more of a “crunch” and “bite” to them than the usual Shreddies; much more akin to the texture of Cinnamon Toast Crunch..maybe even crunchier! I know is that possible?!

It feels as if the “Malties” are coated in a sort of sugar glaze..however looking on the ingredients list they aren’t..whatever it is these hold up superbly in milk and stay crunchy for a remarkable length of time. As usual I preferred mine warmed up and they did start to soften a bit then, but still held an unusual firmness to them that gave a nice extra “bite”.

The flavour is exactly as described really – “cinnamon” and “malt”; nevertheless they do have quite an overall sweet flavour to them but the wheaty malty flavour stops this becoming one of those sickly breakfast cereals where you are worrying about how much sugar you are actually consuming first thing on a morning; although looking at the nutritionals it still does pack quite a hefty sugar punch!

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

So there you have it folks – Sainsburys have produced something that look like Shreddies yet taste/texture wise are similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch and have a surprising firmness when poured into a bowl of ice cold milk – maybe its because these aren’t “knitted by Nanas” but instead seem to have been plucked out of the air from strange “Superhero Malty”.

Sainsbury’s Wholegrain Cinnamon Malties
per 100g

366kcals
8.3g protein
75.5g carbs (27.3g sugar)
1.5g fat (0.3g sats)
8.4g fibre
0.57g salt