2020 is the year of many firsts, including what I’m calling “fancy cereal.” Starting with General Mills’ $13 Morning Summit cereal that made headlines earlier this year to KIND’s newest $6.98 box of cereal. We’re on a new level of bougie cereal, y’all.
Best known for its fruit and nut bars, KIND has quadrupled down with four new cereal flavors – Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Almond, and Honey Almond.
These sound like standard, well-known flavors, but they’ve been amped with super grains (sorry Paleo-ers, they’re full of sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth). Two of the four flavors – Dark Chocolate Almond and Cranberry Almond – are also bar flavors, so there’s added familiarity.
The shiny, expensive-looking packaging helped a bit with my initial sticker shock. Perception is such a funny thing, but the cardboard’s heavier weight and beautiful food images were very appealing and helped me begin to rationalize the price.
After examining all four flavors, the concept seemed pretty formulaic: same base flake with fruit and nut inclusions. These base flakes looked like thicker, brown, and lumpy corn flakes. I guess that’s what happens when it’s made of super grains! They were generally plain tasting – lacking even the toasted fragrance found in usual cereal grains like corn and oat. But, it was a proper backdrop for all the added goodies as it has a non-intrusive, but unmistakable grain note.
But the Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate Almond included an accompanying colored flake – pink and brown, respectively. This plays an important role as you’ll read on later, but these did subtlety taste like their respective flavors.
But back to the formula. Inclusions aren’t game-changing as we’ve seen cereal jazzed up with marbits, two scoops of raisins, etc. for decades now. I find the fancy nut inclusions, like the pepitas in the Apple Cinnamon flavor, are more like something I’d find in muesli or granola.
But, what really stood out was the consistent delivery of each component with every pour. Usually, it’s a slim ratio of the expensive stuff to cereal bits, but there’s no skimping here. This is crucial because I found that the flavor comes from these inclusions — from the sweet pops of dried fruit to the rich, nutty almond notes.
With all the different textures from the dried fruit, nuts, and the super grain flakes themselves, it was quite crunchy. Even when I left it sitting just a bit longer, it didn’t turn immediately into mush. As an ice chewer, I personally enjoy texture over soggy cereal!
There was truly no bad egg of the four. However, the two that surprised and delighted me the most were Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate Almond.
As I mentioned earlier, each of these included a different color flake and the plain base flake. The natural coloring washed into the milk and produced millennial pink-colored and chocolate-colored milk. So fun!
The Cranberry Almond pink was purely visual as the subtle cranberry flavor was overpowered by the milk. The chocolate one seemed more indulgent as it did actually create chocolate cereal milk. The little, semi-sweet chocolate rectangles added a nice extra bit of choco-goodness as well.
Honey Almond, surprisingly, didn’t give me as much delight as the previous two. While it clearly listed toasted coconut as an ingredient on the box, I didn’t expect that to be the dominant flavor. I know they probably wanted to be consistent in saying that almonds are the number one ingredient across all four, but they should’ve at least named it Coconut Almond to reflect what it actually tastes like!
Apple Cinnamon was more middle of the road for me – not offensive but didn’t surprise and delight like the others. The base flake did slightly deviate from the rest as it was the cinnamon flavor source, but it was very lightly flavored. So, it reminded me of good ol’ cinnamon Cheerios.
I didn’t think that I would like dried apple pieces in cereal, but I was proven wrong. Also, unlike the other varieties, there were some red puffed rice pieces. I was unclear what purpose they served as they didn’t really add any additional flavor or visual interest.
If I’m going to gripe about anything, it’s the prominent touting of 5-6 grams of protein per serving. Is that supposed to be a lot?! My usual nowadays, Special K Protein, is three times that! So, the nutrition isn’t quite there to replace my go-to, but a Dark Chocolate Almond bowl as a regular treat sounds like a great plan to me.
Purchased Price: $6.98 each
Size: 15 oz boxes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Apple Cinnamon), 8 out of 10 (Cranberry Almond), 9 out of 10 (Dark Chocolate Almond), 7 out of 10 (Honey Almond)
Nutrition Facts: (55 grams) Cranberry Almond – 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Dark Chocolate Almond – 240 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Apple Cinnamon – 220 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Honey Almond – 250 calories, 11 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.