Choosy moms who want what’s best for their children might choose Jif, but twenty-five year olds who buy their own damn cereal haven’t had a reason to choose Kellogg’s when it comes to getting their peanut butter fix.
But what would you expect from me considering the last peanut butter flavored cereal Kellogg’s introduced was in 2007 when Chocolate Peanut Butter Pops hit shelves. Since that time Kellogg’s has given us a half dozen more versions of Special K, cereals endorsed by magical elves, and even a cereal reminding us of those days when Miley Cyrus was just a tween with a lisp on the Disney Channel. But peanut butter? They pretty much conceded that one to General Mills and Quaker.
So you might say it was about damn time for Kellogg’s to grow a pair and partner with Jif to create Jif Peanut Butter Cereal. Adorned in the familiar colors of everyone’s favorite minute West African country, Gambia, the red, green, and blue box becomes only the second name-brand peanut butter cereal on the market, joining Reese’s foray into cereal.
I give Jif Peanut Butter Cereal the full review treatment by conducting a comprehensive taste test with the “Big Three” of kid’s peanut butter cereals (sorry Cheerios and mothers, this ain’t a health food review). Sporting the name of a peanut butter company is all well and good, but if the cereal can’t match up to Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch, and Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch, than the name Jif doesn’t mean a thing.
When I tasted the four cereals side by side, Jif stood out from the rest—but not in peanut buttery way. (I separated the peanut butter Reese’s puffs from the chocolate ones. As an aside, they’re not nearly as good as I thought they’d be all by themselves.) In fact, it had the least amount of pure peanut butter flavor while having the most distinctive corn aftertaste. It’s a distracting aftertaste at first, completely opposite that of the richer, rounder finish of Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch or Peanut Butter Toast Crunch.
Slightly sweeter than both those cereals although noticeably less salty, the Jif cereal isn’t bad, but it’s not peanut butter. Notes of kettle corn and buttered popcorn jelly bean persist, as does a slight molasses and brown sugar depth. But the crunch is almost nonexistent when compared to the Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch and Peanut Butter Toast Crunch, although the familiar monoglyceride coating native to most peanut butter cereals renders an enjoyable experience for licking messy fingers. Texturally a disappointment, it nevertheless grows on you when eaten dry. Still, it has very little peanut butter or even peanut flavor.
The story is a bit different in milk, but unsatisfyingly the same. The salty factor and the heavy corn aftertaste gets dulled, but the peanut butter flavor lacks impact. The crunch, as you might expect, only dissipates further, while the end milk doesn’t even begin to approach slurp worthy. All things considered, I could appreciate the unique (but not peanut butter) taste of the cereal dry, but in milk I found it unremarkable on every account.
There’s one final point to make. Jif Peanut Butter Cereal’s price tag compared to other peanut butter cereals gives me pause. A box weighs only a little over nine ounces, less than all the major competitors. While I realize sales and prices differ, I can reliably grab a 20-ounce box of a very peanut buttery Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch from Walmart for the same price I paid for Jif cereal on sale.
If I was really in the mood for a bowl of kettle corn that would be an acceptable tradeoff—but I like kettle corn enough to actually, you know, buy kettle corn. Not distinctive enough to join the ranks of the best peanut butter cereals and not worth of its price tag in such a small box, both choosy moms and choosy twenty-five year old sugarholics will find it easy to agree to choose other cereals over Jif.
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup (26 grams) – 100 calories, 15 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, .5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, 2 gram of protein, and a number of vitamins and minerals.)
Item: Kellogg’s Jif Peanut Butter Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.99 (on sale)
Size: 9.1 oz box
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Unique kettle corn flavor that breaks new ground in the world of cereal. Yummy when eaten dry in a salty-sweet-caramel kind of way. Learning about obscure country flags on Wikipedia. An excuse to open up three other kinds of better peanut butter cereals.
Cons: No distinctive peanut butter flavor when eaten as a snack. Heavy whole grain corn aftertaste is distracting. Least crunchy of the major peanut butter cereal. Lackluster in milk. The economic implications of the shrinking cereal box.