REVIEW: Kellogg’s Jif Peanut Butter Cereal

Kellogg's Jif Peanut Butter Cereal

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.

Kellogg's Jif Peanut Butter Cereal Battle Royale Boxes

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.

Kellogg's Jif Peanut Butter Cereal Battle Royale

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.

Kellogg's Jif Peanut Butter Cereal Wet

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.

QUICK REVIEW: Kellogg’s To Go Vanilla Breakfast Shake Mix

Kellogg's To Go Vanilla Breakfast Shake Mix

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 6 mix packets
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent artificial vanilla flavor. Slightly creamy consistency. Quick and easy to prepare. With all its vitamins and minerals, it’s like a liquid multivitamin. About the same amount of fiber as a large apple. Good source of protein. Makes skim milk taste better.
Cons: Has an oaty aftertaste. Vanilla isn’t listed in the ingredients. Large mix packet looks like it’s meant for 16 ounces, but instructions say only 8 ounces of milk. You may get hungry soon after drinking this because it’s not very filling. Kind of makes me yearn for a real breakfast with solid food.

Kellogg's To Go Vanilla Breakfast Shake Mix Closeup

Nutrition Facts: (just the mix) 130 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 270 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, and lots of vitamins and minerals.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal

Kellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal

Every time I buy a box of Raisin Bran, I hesitate. “This is the second box of Raisin Bran I’ve bought this month. Where has my childlike whimsy gone? Have I gotten stuck in a routine? Stopped being spontaneous? Stopped growing? Stopped living? What is life?! What is a cereal?! How could I drift so far from them both?!?!”

Maybe it’s the shriveled raisins or the absence of a frosted coating, but I encounter this existential crisis every time, trembling to reach for the box as I come to grips with my mortality right there in Aisle 8.

But then I look at the purple box. I think of the whole grain, the slight honey sweetness of the flakes, the two scoops of raisins, and that happy-dappy little Sun-Man. How can I resist?

Obviously, I can’t. And I snagged a box of this new Raisin Bran with Omega-3 from Flaxseeds.

If you haven’t yet acquainted yourself, Omega-3s are high-octane fats that, according to oodles of researchers, Dr. Oz and my fishmonger, can do potentially great things like keep your heart in check, lower your cholesterol, and permit your brain and muscles to tick along, thus allowing you to pursue that dream you’ve always had to be an Olympian ice skater. Dare I say, Omega-3s are Magic Fats, and while flaxseeds may not be the most aesthetically beautiful seed out there, they hold plenty of Magic Fats, and what happens when you eat a Magic Fat? Well, let’s find out…

Kellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal Spoonful

I poured a bowl and prodded a tentative spoon into the swamp of the dark brown whole grain. Would the flax give me an electric shock? Or make my body reel, cartoon-style, mutating me into an anthropomorphic animal bent on fighting for justice? I foresaw myself transforming into a crime-fighting llama. Or at least a My Little Pony.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal Fats

Unfortunately, neither occurred. However, what did occur was pleasant enough to make me go back in for another spoonful. See those speckles above? Those are magical speckles of flax. While the flax itself doesn’t add much flavor, it does add a nice seedy texture, and, if I close my eyes, I can hear my cholesterol lowering with each flax-filled bite.

The old adage of, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” could be no truer than with Raisin Bran. It’s brown, shriveled, and, if you hold it at the right light, you may mistake it for mulch, but beneath all that roughage fringe, a layered flavor experience awaits. The flakes have a grainy, slightly nutty, almost rye-like wheatiness, a depth which is balanced well by a hint of honey sweetness. They’re more crispity than crunchity, mainly as a consequence of the slimmer flake profile.

With milk, the sweetness of the wheat, bran, and honey shine and the raisins plump up a smidge. While these flakes easily fall prey to the “Mushy glop of bran in milk” effect, they are well suited for a morning dry snack, especially with the chewy sweet of the red raisins involved in each handful.

And there are plenty of those little shriveled grapes. Each box holds the promise of “Two Scoops,” of raisins. While I can’t state for certain Kelloggs’ scoop size, I imagine it to be the size of at least five ice shovels, if not Muck the Bulldozer’s scooper. No matter the dimensions, the 1-3 raisins in every bite reinforces that the Sun Man is certainly delivering on his Two Scoops promise.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal Sun Man

These new flakes reinforce one of the beauties of Raisin Bran: it’s a cereal not afraid to be itself. It doesn’t pretend to be a raisin-y Lucky Charms or bran-infused Cocoa Puffs. Nay, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran lets its grainy, bran-y Freak Flag fly, and the addition of flaxseeds, while not necessarily a milestone in cereal-making history, highlights that identity. It may not be revolutionary, but most of the time, I don’t need a revolution to be happy. I just need to plop my Cereal Lovin’ patootie into my sofa, watched some cartoons, and enjoy a bowl of crunchy goodness, and that’s what I did here.

If I get nit-picky, I’d say I could’ve used some more sweetness, maybe a little more crunch (Maybe some cinnamon almonds? Or peanut butter granola?), but if you’re in the mood for a quality Raisin Bran with some flaxseed mischief, you’ll love this.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Cup – 180 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Omega-3 from Flaxseed Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.06
Size: 14.3 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crispity flakes. A little honey sweetness. Fulfills promise of raisins. Not afraid to embrace its bran identity. Magic Fats. Muck the Bulldozer. Crime-fighting, anthropomorphic llamas.
Cons: Nothin’ bad, but nothin’ great. Could be too grainy for some. Could use one more crunch element. A little more sweetness wouldn’t hurt. Flakes get soggy in milk fast. Existential crisis in Aisle 8.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Froot Loops Treasures Cereal

Kellogg's Fruit Loops Treasures

If one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, then the new Froot Loops Treasures are something I would expect to find at a Bald Eagle’s garage sale.

Mind you, a Bald Eagle, if he were having a garage sale, would have some really good ‘junk.’ What with being the symbol of America, freedom, and numerous sports teams, but when you get right down to it, it’s still selling stuff considered junk.

Kind of like the new Froot Loops Treasures, which with a veritable rainbow of artificial food dyes and 12 grams of sugar per completely unrealistic one cup serving, could be either junk or treasure in the eye of the beholder.

If the concept behind Froot Loops Treasures looks familiar, then award yourself a +1 in the nostalgia department and consider the case of Hidden Treasures.

It was a General Mills cult favorite that had an otherwise unimpressive two year run during the early days of the Clinton administration. The gimmick behind the corn cereal with a fruity center was that not all of the squares contained actual fruit (and I use the term ‘fruit’ incredibly loosely; as in anything with color). Thus, eating Hidden Treasures was like going on a treasure hunt in cereal bowl. Man, the early 1990s were some wild times indeed.

Kellogg's Fruit Loops Treasures In Bowl

Froot Loops Treasures avoids such trickeration completely and just packs each red square with strawberry-flavored filling. While I didn’t verify the exact ratio of standard Froot Loops rings to strawberry squares with an exhaustive hand count, I’d put the ratio at about 8:1 or so.

In other words, you’re still getting plenty of that standard Froot Loops goodness. The loops aren’t as crunchy as they were back before the days when Kellogg’s made them slightly healthier with multigrain elements, but they’ve still got the cloying-in-a-good way taste that’s vaguely coconutty and fruity with a slightly glazed mouthfeel. If you love them, you love them; and oh how I love them.

The red squares lack that faux-donut glaze that the loops have, and when nibbled plain, they don’t have any taste. The good news is the filling actually has a bit of discernible strawberry flavor and even a backend note of tartness.

Kellogg's Fruit Loops Treasures Innards

It’s a strawberry goo/puree deal that has become standard for fruit-filled cereals like the Frosted Mini-Wheats Touch of Fruit in the Middle varieties. It’s not quite as candylicious as the filling of a gusher and has a little more viscosity than fruit leather. I’m sure it would make a fine spread for tea and crumpets and somesuch. 

The problem – and it’s a major one – is the same problem most filled-cereal pieces have: there’s just nowhere near enough filling to make a major impact. Given the over-the-top and one note sweetness you either love or hate with Froot Loops, the addition of a berry-flavored kick on the backend just doesn’t do much enough to make you feel like you’re eating a different kind of cereal.

Kellogg's Fruit Loops Treasures In Milk

I will say the filled-pieces are more enjoyable in milk than eaten plain. There must be something about the addition of moisture that draws out the texture of the filling, and breaks up the monotony of the standard Froot Loops flavor. To that end, I’ve become increasingly less enthusiastic about Froot Loops eaten in milk since a reformation of the formula to a multigrain texture a few years ago. They just don’t seem to stay crunchy enough, unlike, say, Malt-O-Meal’s Tootie Fruities.

If you’re a fan of Froot Loops, then you’re going to find a trove with the new Froot Loops Treasures. They’ve got everything regular Froot Loops have plus a welcomed change-of-pace that actually gives the cereal a bit more flavor and texture than the classic.

But if you’re like me, and you’re the kind of person who feels like each expedition down the cereal aisle is a search for a new and sugary treasure, then the lack of strawberry filling and textural contrast in the latest Froot Loops don’t mark the spot.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Froot Loops Treasures Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: No change to the super sweet taste of standard Froot Loops. Red squares all come with at least some strawberry filling. Noticing an actual tartness and genuine strawberry taste in a cereal with more food colorings than a paining supply store. Now with fiber!
Cons: Not enough strawberry filling to make me feel like I’ve found a cereal treasure. A standard bowl mostly tastes just like regular Froot Loops. Froot Loops rings lack crunch of the good old days. Not remembering what Hidden Treasures tastes like. Animal garage sales.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal

If you say Baltimore, I think crab cakes and pit beef. If you say Memphis, I can already smell the BBQ. And if you mention chocolate, I’m transported to Hershey Park and that hokey but lovable chocolate factory ride. Well, unless you’re talking about the chocolate in the new Limited Edition Kellogg’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond cereal, in which case, I’d be at a complete loss for association without a little background research.

According to both commenters on this site and the back of the cereal box, it turns out the Colorado-based chocolatier is kind of a big freaking deal. The box sings all kinds of praise for the company, talking up “traditional methods” and “premium ingredients,” while using familiar buzz words like “premier” and “gourmet.” Basically, this is a company billing itself to be the Rolls Royce of chocolate, so you’d think that if they were going to team up with Kellogg’s to craft a chocolate flavored cereal, they might, you know, actually include chocolate in it.


Those of you familiar with Kellogg’s cereal have probably run across “chocolatey” cereals before. Like Special K’s Chocolatey Delight, the Rocky Mountain Chocolatey Almond Cereal feature chocolate-flavored squares that lack the legal definition of what chocolate is — cocoa butter. Made up instead of partially hydrogenated oil, sugar, and something called PGPR, the squares looks like chocolate, but they’re not chocolate.

Sneaky, I know.

But frankly, as long as it tastes like chocolate I don’t care if it’s made out of Brussels sprout powder, I just want something I can pass off as breakfast, but feel like I’m get dessert.

Opening the box up, I’m immediately greeted by an aroma similar to Cocoa Pebbles. There are sweetened corn flakes and what looks like a version of Chocolate Frosted Flakes. Both are well represented, but I’m struck by the sheer amount of the chocolate-but-not-really-chocolate chunks. 

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal Dry

The cocoa-coated flakes taste a lot like those in Chocolate Frosted Flakes, meaning, unfortunately, they taste a lot like corn, sugar, and a wee bit of cocoa powder. They’re fine, I guess, but I find myself more drawn to the golden flakes. There’s a delectable and light honey flavor to them with a touch of malt syrup, making them more interesting than your standard frosted flakes and giving them a crispy but lickable mouthfeel. They reminded me fondly of two of my favorite discontinued cereals, Frosted Flakes Gold and Corn Flakes Touch of Honey.

I considered the flakes to be the high point, because the chocolate is a major disappointment, especially when eaten dry. The squares hardly taste like anything, lacking any richness or even sweetness. If the Rocky Mountains are to represent the pinnacle of chocolate confectionary, this was, I suppose, something produced in Death Valley. 

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal Wet1

I didn’t enjoy the cereal very much as a dry snack, but felt it much improved in organic whole milk. Of course, that’s cheating a bit considering most cereal boxes try to goad you into pouring skim milk on your cereal by listing nutrition facts with added skim milk, but if you ask me, you might as well be pouring water on cereal.

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal Wet2

Anyways, the cocoa-coated flakes take on a nice malted milk flavor with a smooth taste, while the glazed corn flakes taste of honey and cream. Unfortunately, the “chocolate flavored pieces” still suck. I had hoped they might take on a sort of milk chocolate texture with added milk, but instead they turn into a vaguely cocoa-flavored, marshmallow-type square that tastes like what I assume dehydrated chocolate is like (although, having never gone into outer space myself, I gladly defer to any NASA experts on this matter.)

For good measure and in the interest of fairness I made sure to go back for a bowl in skim milk, finding, as expected, any richness gained from the whole milk to be gone, and the complete spoonful to be lacking.

Aside from being majorly disappointment in the chocolate, the cereal failed to also deliver a punch when it came to the almonds. Sliced small and thin, I suppose they add a nice touch on the cover art, but I didn’t notice them much while eating the cereal both dry and in milk. A damn, damn shame.

Even though the honey-glazed flakes of Kellogg’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company Chocolatey Almond Cereal reminded me of two of my favorite discontinued cereals, it’s still a major disappointment. Failing to deliver actual chocolate is bad enough given that the cereal is supposed to represent one of the country’s top artisan chocolatiers, but offering only meager almond and mild cocoa flavor puts it below other Kellogg’s chocolate cereals, like Krave and Frosted Mini-Wheats Chocolate Little Bites.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 210 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 gram of fat, 2 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 90 milligrams of potassium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and some vitamins and minerals.)

*made with partially hydrogenated oil

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 11.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Wegman’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Delectable and light honey flavored flakes which remind of Frosted Flakes Gold and Corn Flakes Touch of Honey. Really good cocoa flake taste and crunch in whole milk. Limited Edition box to add to the collection. Spending time Googling food additive acronyms and feeling all Bill Nye the Science Guy because of it.
Cons: Fake chocolate tastes nothing like actual chocolate. Almonds get lost in the shuffle. Overall cocoa flavor is weak when eaten dry. Eating cereal in skim milk.