Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?

Last week our household received a selection of Be Natural cereals and cereal bars to review; the arrival of which provoked an unprecedented level of ravenous excitement within the family (breakfast cereal has recently become one of those staples I've completely bypassed in my weekly Trolley Derby Dash of Terror).

On occasion, the back of our pantry has become a weevil paradise of failed breakfast cereals. It's not that I want to breed these creatures, it's just that I buy *insert bad cereal* with good intentions, find neither myself nor anyone else in the house are able to get beyond the first bowl, and it sits in the pantry waiting for me to find a starving animal to feed it to. Before long it gets nudged out of sight. From the Uncle Toby's flavoured  porridge in single serve sachets (fail) to the Vogels Cafe Style muesli (Epic Fail - and although the Teen informs me it's no longer cool to say that phrase any more, in this case, it must be said), many a cereal has become weevil fodder in our household. Thus, I have learnt to stick to the basics (Weetbix and thereabouts). And to perhaps clean out the pantry more often.

So, it goes without saying that I approached this trial with my Skeptical Goggles on...

In under a week, we have consumed the contents of everything you see in this picture. Including the wooden coffee table. Did we enjoy the product? I bought more Trail Bars from the supermarket today.

FIRST IMPRESSION: The natural look packaging is of course the first thing to grab attention.  100% recycled, the cardboard has a nice feel to it. The people who created these cereals paid attention to the details when ensuring their product comes across as 'natural'.

The first cereal we feasted our eyes upon was Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin. The Lad was intrigued by the word 'Flame' (for the record, he's not a pyromaniac, but he is a bloke who likes flame paint jobs on cars, thus a connection was made). The Teen liked the colours in the packaging and I liked the promise of fruit.

The box told us we were about to consume '5 whole grain flakes mixed with pink lady and granny smith apples, flame raisins with linseed, pepita & amaranth clusters'. Sounded interesting. The promise of 'whole grains' was appealing.  

Marketers, you've done your job well.

Of course, eco-friendly packaging and clever phrasing are all well and good at face value, but if the product itself lacks appeal, then all you're really left with is a pretty box and food for the weevils. So... How did it taste?

THE BREAKFAST CEREAL TASTE TEST: Fortunately, Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin tasted as appealing as it sounded.  Delicious - and with perfect crunch. So much so, I was tempted to sleep with the cereal box beneath my pillow so no one else in the house could scoff it before me. The Teen declared her wish to marry the cereal and have its babies. I'm the jealous type. I want to have its babies.

Clutching the last vestiges of my skepticism, I wasn't sure if we were enjoying this stuff because it truly tasted good, or because we were sick to death of runny grobbles?  So I personally had to eat a couple of bowls in a single sitting before I could properly determine the answer to that question. ;)

Yes... *chomp chomp* It's still good.

The Cashew, Almond, Hazelnut & Coconut was a favourite for the Lads (pluralised because the Teen had her Lad over on the day the courier arrived, thus he became a patron of the cereal smorgasbord). I'm not a big fan of coconut and one of the Lads agreed it was maybe a smidge heavy on the coconut, but the vote on that issue was split down the middle - the other two taste testers thought it was perfect. I definitely enjoyed this with yogurt and chopped banana.

The 5 Whole Grain Flakes had a subtle, slightly sweetened flavour, and perfect crunch. If you're a fan of cornflakes, you will LOVE this stuff because it is so much tastier. It has a higher sugar percentage than Skippy Cornflakes but I didn't find the need to add sugar as I would do with regular cornies. Also, the Grain Flakes had far more fibre. It was awesome with yogurt, and if you throw in some fresh fruit you've got Nirvana right there (I'm talking about the a state of transcendence involving the subjective experience of release from a prior state of bondage, not the band).

The most awesome thing about these cereals is that the kids really enjoyed them. I expected the Lily Bug to give them a taste and then request something else, and I expected Guy Smiley to send the bowl sprawling across the room without even trying. (He is a seriously fussy eater. Whenever he sees me coming towards him with a plate of food, I can all but hear him mutter "Sam I Am, Sam I Am, I DO NOT LIKE that Sam I AM.")

However, the munchkins sat nicely at their little table, and ate every last scrap of their Grain Flakes Nirvana with a sprinkling of Flame Raisin Stuff. Seriously, even Guy Smiley. I know right? I am officially a believer.

ON TO THE TRAIL BARS: With their 5 whole grains...

Nut & Fruit was the first cereal bar our household tried, and the initial thought was that it was too dry. However, half way through and we each collectively agreed it was not too bad. A bit middle of the road in taste, but probably nutrionally preferrable to the bars I usual buy. And the kids ate them quite happily!

EVEN THE LILY BUG'S FRIEND CALLED *DEXTER WHO IS A FUSSY ONE. YES, I HAVE TO SHOUT THIS OUT TO YOU. Because that my friends, is quite possibly amazing. One in four kids at the park did not eat this, but that one's mildly obsessive-compulsive when it comes to food so I wouldn't take it personally. As yes, yes her mother said it's okay for me to say that. I hope.

Berry was the delicious winner out of the Trail Bars. The berries were enough to prevent the bars from tasting a bit too dry. The Teen Who Usually Eats Air For Breakfast zombie-shuffled to these bars each afternoon as soon as she woke up. Cried when they were all gone. Made me buy more. Amazing.

I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat...
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

The Lily Bug's kindy has recently adopted a strict healthy food policy, and anything deemed as junk is sent home unopened.  The fact that the munchkins are happy to eat these without needing them to be slathered in chocolate, is a good thing. Compared to another brand we buy, Be Natural Trail Bars are much lower in sugar and fat (albeit higher in sodium).  Would I buy these? Already stocked up.
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

(Sorry about that, I just have that story stuck in my head.) 

End note:  Man, can I ramble.