Saturday, January 24, 2009
One of the "true delights" of this lucrative food writing career is product review. This time I received a sneak-peek installment of Quaker's new "True Delights" granola bars. So let's start with the product description.
"An amalgam of real fruit, whole nuts, dark chocolate, and honey-drizzled oats..."
Okay, let's stop right there. The word "amalgam" just isn't working for me. But then again, I am prejudiced against dental terms at this particular time in my life. "Real fruit"--good. "Whole nuts"--double good. "Dark chocolate"--well, dark chocolate will get me to eat just about anything (but I'm drawing the line at chocolate covered insects).
"Honey-drizzled oats"--okay, let's just check the listed ingredients...wait a minute. The number one ingredient is rolled oats. Is honey next? No, oh, look there, corn syrup...other things....brown sugar....oh, there's the honey way down the list. But, I guess "corn-syrup drizzled oats" doesn't sell.
The final description alludes to the bars as "guiltless indulgence." All the bars contain 140 calories, with fat contents ranging from 3.5 to 5 grams per bar. Three grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 8-10 grams of sugars, a wee bit of iron and nothing in the vitamins category. All contain some artificial flavors and also whey, ruling them out for those with dairy allergies. So, a bit of nutrition there, but the amount of sweeteners used is hardly "guiltless"! And I'd like to know what "oligofructose" and "invert sugar" are.
Moving on, the packaging is a matte chocolately burnt umber probably trying to appeal to the "green" crowd who don't like shiny wrappers. Illustrations of the various fruit/nut/chocolate combos decorate the packaging adding a splash of color.
I received three different varieties...Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, and Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut. This was the order in which we sampled the granola bars.
Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry: Whew! It just smelled so sweet. The mixed berries included dried sweetened cranberries and "infused" dried cherries. This one was by far the sweetest...not our favorite.
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond: I was looking forward to this one because I love raspberries and dark chocolate. This bar was less sweet than the first even with all those chunks of chocolate (which, by the way, were listed as semi-sweet on the ingredient list). Definitely better than the mixed berry.
Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut: Without the chocolate or the dried fruits, I wasn't expecting to like this one as much. However, it turned out to be our favorite! It was the least sweet of all the bars and that totally worked in it's favor. I'd eat this one again!
Thanks to FoodBuzz and Quaker for giving me the opportunity to review this product. With most people wanting to eat better by incorporating more whole grains and less refined sugars, I'm sure there is a big push in the snack industry to produce healthier-sounding products. In addition, these bars seemed to be attempting to appeal to an adult palate with the nuts and dark chocolate (instead of s'mores or m & m's). It was a good start, but still too sweet. They'd do well to check out the flavor combinations produced by Sahale snack makers (think cranberry, orange zest, pecans, and black pepper).