REVIEW: General Mills Jolly Rancher Cereal

General Mills Jolly Rancher Cereal

What is Jolly Rancher Cereal?

Regular readers of The Impulsive Buy will have noticed in recent years the bounty of breakfast cereals based on other sweet confections. Whether it be Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, or Dippin’ Dots, there seems to be no limit to manufactures’ desire to rebrand known properties into something that will fit in a bowl.

The latest is General Mills’ Jolly Rancher Cereal. A hard candy doesn’t seem like a natural candidate to convert to breakfast time (we get these before Ding Dong or Ho Hos cereal?), but let’s see if The Big G can move these from the office candy bowl to the kitchen cereal bowl.

How is it?

General Mills Jolly Rancher Cereal Dry

Upon opening, I can tell these are going to be more than a rebranded Trix. There’s a tangy scent that I’ve never encountered in a cereal before. I pour a measured 36 gram portion into my bowl and am once again disappointed at how small a suggested serving of cereal is.

General Mills Jolly Rancher Cereal Wet

As I pour in the milk, I notice that the cereal pieces are more pillow-shaped than the spherical pieces on the front of the box. The flavor has some of the tang I detected, and that really works to remind me of the cereal’s candy namesake. Each different fruit piece has a distinct flavor, though you can’t really tell in a mixed spoon. The green apple has an especially nice green apple flavor.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I have to admit I’ve never really cared for the original Jolly Rancher candy. It’s amazing how they manage to take an ordinary flavory like “cherry” and make it taste just a little bit weird, like the manufacture gave free rein to the guy who designed the artificial watermelon flavor.

Still, I have to admit this cereal somewhat won me over. Most fruit cereals only manage to be overly sweet and generically “fruity.” These manage to offer a more distinct fruit flavor, at least if you manage to get a spoonful of a single flavor. Which I did. Multiple times. Because I live a full and interesting life.

Conclusion:

I’m not going to wake up excited to have my bowl of Jolly Ranchers, but it’s a good option if you’re looking to change things up. I have a feeling that we’re at peak novelty cereal, so I don’t know how long these will last on store shelves. Give them a try.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 18.7 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (36 grams) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: General Mills Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms Marshmallows Cereal

Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms Marshmallows Cereal

What is Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms Marshmallows Cereal?

If you are the kind of person who reads this blog, you know exactly what this cereal is. It’s standard Cocoa Puffs — chocolatey corn spheres — with colored marshmallow bits shaped like hearts, shooting stars, horseshoes, clover hats, moons, unicorns, and balloons.

How is it?

Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms Marshmallows Cereal Bowl

Not once when I ate Cocoa Puffs (or more commonly Coco Roos, the Malt-O-Meal knockoff) did I ever think to myself, “This would be better with marshmallows.” The oat cereal of regular Lucky Charms is a little bland and needs the extra sweetness and textural contrast, but Cocoa Puffs are sweet and enjoyable on their own. Also, we already have Chocolate Lucky Charms.

Luckily (ha!), the marshmallows don’t have any negative effect on Cocoa Puffs (except nutrition-wise).

Lucky Charms are the gold standard of cereal marbits: they aren’t too crunchy, and they get softer in milk. So they aren’t too distracting here. But they also don’t greatly enhance the experience.

I did a side-by-side comparison with Chocolate Lucky Charms, and I thought CLC was better. That might have been the texture more than anything, because the ingredients and nutrition facts are very similar.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Cocoa Puffs with Lucky Charms Marshmallows Cereal Milk

I must say, I can’t think of any cereal that leaves behind a better-tasting milk than Cocoa Puffs. It almost seems like drinking regular chocolate milk, and the leftover milk might be my favorite part of the whole bowl. It’s even better than what Chocolate Lucky Charms leave behind.

Conclusion:

Lucky the Leprechaun’s marshmallow charms are an acceptable, but unnecessary, addition to classic Cocoa Puffs. 

Purchased Price: $5.98
Size: 2 lb. 3 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar (including 12 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: General Mills Hershey’s Kisses Cereal

Hershey s Kisses Cereal

What is Hershey’s Kisses Cereal?

General Mills and Hershey’s have joined forces to bring the Hershey’s Kiss to your breakfast table with Hershey’s Kisses Cereal: chocolate-flavored corn puff pieces shaped like the classic candy.

How is it?

Half of the fun of candy- or dessert-inspired cereals is discovering how closely the it physically resembles the original product. While Hershey’s Kisses Cereal does not precisely replicate its namesake, its appearance is clearly inspired by Hershey’s Kisses: its dime-sized pieces are shaped like triangles with flat sides and smoothed edges.

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Comparison

Most of the pieces boast a droopy, rounded stem in place of the candy’s signature pointed tip, so whether you perceive the cereal as tiny Hershey’s Kisses or something else is a matter for Rorschach. (To me, they resemble the poop emoji. I’m sorry, but it had to be said, and I promise not to bring it up again.)

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Pieces

Anyway, a chocolate cereal by any other shape would be just as sweet, which Hershey’s Kisses Cereal definitely is. It tastes very similar to Cocoa Puffs, with its cocoa powder sweetness and crunchy texture. It took a few bites to discern a difference, but I tasted just a hint more richness with this.

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Milk

Adding milk enhances the dry cocoa flavor to something closer to milk chocolate. With only one or two stirs, the milk begins to turn brown, and with more time (or if you are like me, impatient agitation), a rich, thick chocolate milk appears.

Although I haven’t broken out my crazy straw in a couple of decades, the cereal milk did remind me of using Hershey’s syrup to make chocolate milk, as visible chocolate swirls move throughout the milk and streak the sides and bottom of the bowl. As this transformation occurs, the cereal retains its taste and texture. Although this is a solid chocolate cereal when eaten dry, I highly recommend adding milk for the full chocolate-y effect.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Hershey s Kisses Cereal Bowl

In a blind taste test, I could not have pinpointed the Hershey’s association, but the list of ingredients does include Hershey’s Cocoa Processed with Alkali as the brand’s contribution.

Conclusion:

Although comparable to many chocolate cereals on the shelves, Hershey’s Kisses Cereal is enjoyable and, with milk, will give you two chocolate treats for the price of one.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 19.8 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: General Mills Mermaid Cereal

General Mills Mermaid Cereal

Last year, Kellogg’s trotted out a limited edition Unicorn Cereal. With unicorn off the board, the Big G didn’t want to be left out of the mythical creature cereal category, so here we are with Mermaid Cereal.

There’s no universal consensus to what unicorn products should taste like, but the same can’t be said about mermaid products. All brands that have come out with mermaid food products seem to agree that they should not taste fishy. According to the box, this cereal is naturally fruit flavored sweetened corn puffs with other natural flavors.

Two different pieces swim in the box — pink-colored stars and green-colored mermaid tails. I don’t know if I’ve watched The Little Mermaid, Splash, or the 18th episode of season two of Snorks, “The Littlest Mermaid,” too many times, but it’s a little unnerving to me to be eating mermaid tails. I can almost hear the underwater screams in my head with every chew.

General Mills Mermaid Cereal Closeup

The sizes of the pieces are a lot smaller than I thought they’d be. I know the image on the front of the box is enlarged to show detail, but it skewed my perception of how big they would be. They’re less puffier than most corn puff cereals that I’ve eaten before. I also thought, at first glance, the green pieces were marshmallows. As someone who loves cereal marshmallows, I’m a bit disappointed they’re not.

The flavor of the brightly colored pieces remind me of Trix, but more like Trix Lite, if that existed. So if you want to trick the Trix Rabbit, blindfold him, tell him you’re feeding him Trix, but feed him this. It’s fruity flavored, so he won’t know.

And if you’re super evil, when he takes off his blindfold, laugh like Kawhi Leonard in his face, show him it’s Mermaid Cereal, then say, “Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!,” and then hand him a carrot.

Mermaid Cereal is an average fruity cereal. It tastes fine and stays crunchy in milk for a decent amount of time, but doesn’t leave behind a fruity milk. There’s nothing mythical, mysterious, or magical about it.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 11.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Received from General Mills
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fillows Creme Filled Cereal (Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme and Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll)

General Mills Fillows Hershey s Cookies  n Creme Cereal

Can I say that of all the cereal types here-to-now discovered by humanity, stuff-filled cereals by far have the most potential? Yes, I know corn loops, toasted oat rings, whole wheat squares, and (maybe) even sweet seasoned crisped rice all have roles to play in a complete breakfast, but the flavor-stuffed cavities of cereals like Kellogg’s Krave are structurally in another dimension.

Think of them as the chocolate eclairs of the cereal world. Don’t like eclairs? Fine, a creme-filled donut. And thanks to General Mills’ new Fillows cereal, we now have a competitor to Kellogg’s Krave.

Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme

General Mills Fillows Hershey s Cookies  n Creme Cereal Wading in Milk

Call me an overly visual taster, but the appearance of chocolate squares with the promise of a creme filling inside made me expect the taste of Oreo cookies. However, I was massively disappointed when, on the first bite, the cloying taste of nothing but vanilla and sugar assaulted my taste buds. With the oh-so-slightest hint of cocoa on the backend, each square felt like a façade, as if I’d been served a veggie burger instead of a bleeding disc of cow. This marked the high point of my cereal disillusionment for the day.

To be fair, Hershey’s do not make Oreo cookies; they make Cookies ‘n’ Crème candy bars. And with that as a baseline, I tried the cereal again and appreciated it more for its unabashed vanilla sweetness. Still, there are some off flavors going on — notably, an artificial marshmallow taste that really seems to come out in milk. They don’t help the cereal stay true to either cookies ‘n’ creme the bar or the flavor.

General Mills Fillows Hershey s Cookies  n Creme Cereal Spoon

That, to be honest, might be part of the problem. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Fillows are too sweet to be enjoyed with milk, and probably on the verge of being too sweet for most people as a snack (full disclosure: I’m not like most people). But at least when eaten dry the cocoa becomes a little more rounded, with a mild but enjoyable Cocoa Puffs flavor. It’s lost in milk, though, which makes the cereal a slight disappointment.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 22 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3/4 cup) 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll

General Mills Fillows Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Cereal

The legacy of bakery-inspired cereals is a mixed bag. While there are some great ones — such as Kellogg’s bygone Cinnabon cereal — more often than not even the good ones don’t really taste like donuts or french toast or cinnamon rolls.

Let me be real with y’all: Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Fillows legitimately tastes like a cinnamon roll. What’s more, they might even be better than an actual Pillsbury cinnamon roll.

General Mills Fillows Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Cereal Wading in Milk

Like the Cookies ‘n’ Creme Fillows, these are overwhelmingly sweet at 19 grams of sugar per 52 grams of cereal. However, the sweetness feels like a match with the concentrated cinnamon flavor. Even eaten dry, there’s a certain richness in each square, mimicking the gooey buttery interior of a cinnamon roll. This flavor heightened in milk, where the squares take on an indulgent churros appeal.

General Mills Fillows Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Cereal Spoon

Granted, when you review cereal you learn to write a lot of vague crap, but let me state this unequivocally: This is the best Cinnamon Roll cereal I’ve had in 30 years of eating processed sugar for breakfast. Buy this.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 22 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3/4 cup) 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Overall, it’s good to see General Mills partner with Hershey’s and Pillsbury to join the filled cereal market. While the Cookies ‘n’ Creme flavor doesn’t seem to work in a cereal, they’ve definitely found a winner with the Pillsbury Doughboy. Let’s hope it sticks around.

REVIEW: General Mills Dippin’ Dots Cereal (Cookies ‘n Cream and Banana Split)

General Mills Dippin Dots Cereal  Cookies  N Cream and Banana Split

Are actual Dippin’ Dots still a thing anymore?

I used to beg my mom to buy it for me all the time when I was a kid, but I can’t even remember the last time I saw a Dippin’ Dots kiosk. For something that used to tout itself as being the “Ice Cream of the Future,” it sure seems like it hasn’t aged well. Perhaps a reason for its lack of success was that the ice cream had to be stored in ultra-cold super-freezers, which prevented people from buying and eating them at home.

Thankfully for those of us who don’t have freezers that can hold ice cream at -40° F, the kind people over at General Mills lent their breakfast-making prowess to Dippin’ Dots to recreate two of its most popular flavors into a much more easily distributable cereal form.

General Mills Dippin Dots Cookies  n Cream Cereal

The Cookies ‘n Cream flavor features tan and brown cereal puffs mixed with clusters of milk chocolate-coated cookie bits. Opening the bag, there was an aroma that reminded me more of Corn Pops mixed with a few crushed Oreo wafers than it did of ice cream.

The corn-heavy smell of the cereal foreshadowed its flavor, which didn’t taste like Cookies ‘n Cream at all. I had hoped the brown and tan puffs would emulate both flavors respectively, but they instead had that generic “corn-y” taste shared by most cereal puffs.

The chocolate cookie clusters were the only element that actually tasted like how they were supposed to, but there weren’t nearly enough of them to go around, and I found they had a tendency to sink to the bottom of my bowl once I added milk.

General Mills Dippin Dots Banana Split Cereal

Banana Split is constructed like the Cookies ‘n Cream version, but the quality here is a different story. I was hesitant to try it at first since banana is a flavor that often oversteps into the territory of being overly artificial. But it turns out it was what this cereal needed to overcome the flavor coming from the corn flour in the puffs.

Every bite I took tasted like authentic, sweet bananas and the banana-flavored white chocolate crunchies brought that creamy element of vanilla that really let this cereal hone in on being an ice cream-inspired flavor.

General Mills Dippin Dots Cereal  Cookies  N Cream and Banana Split 2

While I’m on the topic of those crunchies, they’re the best part of the cereal. Dippin’ Dots should consider boxing them up and selling them as candy. But there seemed to be way more of them in my box of Banana Split than in my box of Cookies ‘n Cream.

Both flavors got soggy quickly in milk, but the Banana Split flavor was able to use this to its advantage by getting the dairy to work alongside the white chocolate crunchies to produce a flavor reminiscent of a melting banana split. Cookies ‘n Cream didn’t fare as well. It sopped up the milk and tasted like mushy Corn Pops that had jarring chunks of chocolate coated sandwich cookies in it.

So, has Dippin’ Dots created the Cereal of the Future? Probably not, but it sure is fun to be able to say that you’ve just had a bowl of Dippin’ Dots for breakfast.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – Cookies ‘n Cream – 120 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, 15 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein. Banana Split – 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, 15 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.64 each
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Cookies ‘n Cream)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Banana Split)
Pros: Not needing a super-freezer. Great flavor in the Banana Split version. Awesome crunchies in both flavors! Getting to tell people that you’ve just had Dippin’ Dots for breakfast.
Cons: Not enough flavor in the Cookies ‘n Cream variety. Neither one holds up well in milk. Crunchy bits are not available in stand-alone candy form.