REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes Cereal

Kellogg s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes

I am a grump during the summer, so I generally welcome any hint that fall is around the corner. I was excited to try the Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes, especially since it was 90 degrees out and I. Am. So. Done. With. Summer.

I opened the box eagerly, hoping for the essence of autumn to wrap me in its crisp coziness. Whoa. The scent was artificial and strong — pumpkin spice wool sweater, pumpkin spice window cleaner, pumpkin spice plastic wrap, but definitely not anything edible.

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Before pouring in the milk, I tasted a few of the dry cereal pieces. Less sugary than regular Frosted Flakes, it was more like corn flakes with a dusting of nutmeg. Unfortunately, I couldn’t imagine eating these dry no matter how desperately I wanted to move on to autumn.

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I was nearing the point of resigning myself to more days of summer by the time I poured the milk. Lo and behold, visions of campfires, football games, and open windows slowly emerged. Faint notes of pumpkin pie were in each spoonful, though the “spice” was a hit or miss in each bite. Some bites were more nutmeg forward, while others were more cinnamon-y. It was hard to detect any pumpkin, leading me to wonder if there was any in there at all, because it was definitely more spice than pumpkin.

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Not wanting to give up on this fall flavor quite yet, I prepared myself another bowl. It was better than the first, tasting more and more like pumpkin pie with each bite. I was pouring even more cereal into the bowl before I knew it, perhaps distracted by the artwork on the back of the box touting “Tony’s Pumpkin Up the Jams Festival.” I used to have a pair of Jams (as did any other hip kid in the 80s) and the idea of having gourds up in them did not sound comfortable. Soon I was daydreaming of fall music festivals, the state fair, hot chocolate, and PSLs.

Aha! Now I know why I was enjoying each bowl of this cereal more than the previous one! The left-behind milk increasingly tasted more and more like the creamy Thanksgiving pie as more spice infused it as I ate. The spice in the milk was balanced and a faint pumpkin flavor peeked through. I almost enjoyed drinking the milk as much as I enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.

Almost.

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Unfortunately, this was a lot of mediocre cereal to endure for a small amount of goodness. Next time, I’ll get my pumpkin spice fix elsewhere. If I want it on my cereal, I’ll sprinkle some on regular Frosted Flakes instead.

(Why haven’t I thought of that before???)

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not overly sweet. Mild flavors were not cloying and tasted natural.
Cons: Strong plastic smell. Minimal pumpkin flavor. Needs to soak up milk before best flavors come out.

QUICK REVIEW: Kellogg’s Wild Berry Froot Loops Cereal

Kellogg s Wild Berry Froot Loops Cereal

What is it?

Froot-flavored loops and froot-flavored staars that mostly don’t look like regular Froot Loops. There are red pieces, which I assume represent strawberries, purple pieces, which may stand for blackberries, teal pieces for blue raspberries, and green pieces that don’t symbolize any berry and are there just to throw us for a Froot Loop.

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How is it?

As expected, it doesn’t have a generic amalgamation of a wide spectrum of fruity flavors like original Froot Loops. Instead, it’s like a generic amalgamation of a wide spectrum of berry flavors.

It’s not bad. Sometimes it reminds me of berry smoothies I’ve made for myself and other times it tastes like snack bars with dried berries. Can I pinpoint particular berries by eating individual pieces? No, but who, besides birds and infants, eat cereal pieces one by one. Okay, maybe a few of you, but not spoon-wielding me.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Froot Loops’ mascot, Toucan Sam, has said to follow your nose to the fruity taste of the cereal he represents. But if I did that with his new Wild Berry Froot Loops, I’m sure my nose would lead me away from it because it smells weird. Inside the bag or right after pouring it into a bowl, my beak noticed a plasticky and berry smell. It reminds me of those scented play dolls my sister had in the 80s whose eyes would follow me around the room. The aroma subsides once I pour the milk, but it’s odd and a little unappetizing.

Conclusion:

Kellogg’s Wild Berry Froot Loops Cereal is a decent cereal, but I have to say it doesn’t compete with the original. It’s different and a nice change of pace, but I’m not wild about it.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample from Kellogg’s, but this didn’t influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 110 calories, 5 calories from fat, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Bananas

Kellogg s Raisin Bran with Bananas

What is it?

You’re not gonna believe this, but it’s Raisin Bran with bananas added in! No false advertising here.

How is it?

It’s everything you expect it to be. Do you like Raisin Bran? If so, this improves on the original. I mean, think about it, how could you possibly go wrong adding in banana flavor?

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I’ve actually been on record about not really being a big “fruit in cereal” guy. While I’ll eat banana in just about anything, I always found adding banana slices in milk a little too slimy for my liking. This cereal takes care of that.

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The banana chips are great. Actual banana is too wet and mushy. The standard banana chips you buy in bags are too hard and caramelized. These are a perfect width, flavor, and texture. They really knocked it out the park. The banana pieces have a nice little crisp and a perfect banana flavor without it tasting too sugary and artificial.

Sometimes raisins can be overwhelming but mixed with the early crunch of the bran flakes (they sog up super quick) and the crisp of the banana chips, this cereal really blends textures nicely.

Also – and don’t hold me to this – I think the flakes had a tad of banana flavor added to them. It tasted that way to me at least.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Don’t expect a banana in every bite. If Raisin Bran gives you two scoops of raisins per box, you’re probably looking at about a half scoop of bananas. Sure, I’d prefer a few more, but I didn’t think the ratio was too bad. The banana flavor is constant.

Conclusion:

There’s something about Raisin Bran that just feels like a fulfilling start to the day. Adding bananas to the mix was a brilliant move, and this cereal is a big flavor and textural win in my book.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 14.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 200 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Super Mario Cereal

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal

Released last December, finding Kellogg’s newfangled Super Mario Cereal hasn’t been easy. Long story short, each package has some sort of QR-Code type thingy on it, and if you scan it with your Nintendo controller it unlocks some kind of new in-game content. Naturally, this has led to collectors/hoarders snatching up the product in droves, with online merchants reselling the cereal on eBay at triple, quintuple, and even 100 times the MRSP.

While strolling through the aisles of Walmart on a recent mechanical pencil and instant coffee run, I stumbled across a freshly stocked pyramid of the ultra-rare breakfast foodstuff. And while I was tempted to buy about 20 of them, hold on to them for 25 years and resell them at $200 a pop, I decided to be a good little consumer and only scoop up one. Hopefully, the karma will lead to the re-release of Dunkaroos, or mayhap even the resurrection of the Bell Beefer, in due time.

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Aesthetically, the packaging is pretty pleasing. There are a lot of Easter eggs and in-jokes on the front box, so hardcore Nintendo fans will get a kick out of that. The activity panel on the back, though, is way too rudimentary. Even for a children’s breakfast item, the trivia questions on this one are far too easy. And of course, you have that little QR-Code scanny thing. I’m not sure what it does, precisely, but I’m sure your eight-year-old nephew can fill you in on the details.

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As for the cereal itself, well, it’s pretty mundane. It’s marketed as having a berry flavor, but it doesn’t explicitly tell you what kind of berry. So as soon as you crack open the box, you’re greeted by this weird, artificially fruity scent that’s one part strawberry, one part blueberry, and one part scented unicorn sticker.

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The puffy rice stars are decent looking, but the taste is quite bland – they absorb all of that pseudo-berry chemical flavoring and wind up tasting like Franken Berry and Boo Berry’s illegitimate love child. And maybe it’s just me, but I SWORE there was a mild (yet strangely convincing) bacon-ish undercurrent to each piece. Please, somebody out there back me up on this, for my own sanity.

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The marshmallows, though, are the most disappointing thing about the cereal. Not only do they taste alike (which are like the regular cereal bits, except slightly chewier), they don’t even remotely resemble the classical Super Mario insignia they’re supposed to represent. The 1-up mushrooms are kinda decent, but the mystery blocks and Super Mario hats are just abominations.

Outside of the Mario branding, this is a really generic cereal that reminded me a lot of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cereal Kellogg’s released three years ago. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the exact same formula, albeit with slightly tweaked marshmallow shapes.

Sorry, Mario. You might still be super, but your tie-in cereal here is merely average.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: The packaging has a lot of neat nods and winks to the video games. The 1-up mushrooms are pretty nice. The cereal itself may or may not be secretly bacon-flavored.
Cons: The artificial berry flavoring is ho-hum. The puffed rice pieces are uninspired. A disappointing lack of marshmallow pieces shaped like Tanooki suits, King Boos, or Thwomps

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal

This autumn, tens of thousands of students will head back to school with great expectations for their upcoming social and academic year. By the end of their first week, though, they’ll have those expectations checked; or as I like to say, completely and miserably crushed.

Such is also the case for millions of Americans, who’ll be reminded that eating something labeled “pumpkin spice” in August or September does not always equate with being served a rich and indulgent slice of pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table. But that doesn’t mean all pumpkin spice products are the equivalent of your 11th hour essay for which you received (and deserved) a D-minus. As a matter of fact, some of these pumpkin spice products are actually pretty good, even good enough to disguise the fact that there’s no actual pumpkin in the product.

Take the new Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal. When I first heard a mainstream cereal company was doing a pumpkin spice (and not pepita) flavored cereal, I pretty much decided my life was complete. I mean, we’re talking about my two great loves here, and combining them had the potential to answer the “what do you want for breakfast” question for the rest of my life.

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But when I finally bought the Mini Wheats and realized there was no pumpkin in their eight layers of whole grains and fiber, I realized I may have fallen into the yearly trap of getting my pumpkin hopes set too high. Sure, there’s cinnamon, allspice, and ginger, but the lack of pumpkin puree gave me second thoughts. Experience tells us the pumpkin spice spectrum ranges are pretty wide with just as many misses as hits. Would this be the pumpkin spice of the excellent Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookies? Or, as I suddenly feared, a repeat of the Pumpkin Spice M&M’s?

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Much to my taste buds’ delight but my guts’ chagrin, those eight layers of fiber coated in pumpkin spice tasted much more like the former. The pumpkin spice is sweet, loud, floral, nutty, and hardly resigned to being the proverbial afterthought of vague cinnamon flavor and orange hue that some products hide behind. I thought the spices complemented each other nicely and tasted extremely fresh when eaten as a dry snack. When I sampled them against an industrial-sized bag of pumpkin spice (eh, like I said, pumpkin is one of my great loves), it compared favorably.

The downside of the cereal is that, like so many other cereals, it just has no way to convey a sense of richness. This is definitely a must for any product trying to capture some of the seasonal synergy of pumpkin, and it would have distracted my taste buds from the much-too-healthy wheat-y underside of each biscuit.

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This wheat-y taste was actually more apparent when I ate the cereal in, go figure, whole milk. Unfortunately, the “frosting” of the biscuits is very one-note in sweetness. Unfortunately, the “frosting” of the biscuits is very one-note in sweetness, and it’s not the kind of brown sugar and cream sweetness which, for lack of a better explanation, transforms a squash into the most iconic of fall sweets. Knowing that Frosted Mini Wheats has nailed Cinnamon Roll and Maple flavors before makes accepting the sweetness’ lack of depth all the more disappointing.

Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal is a reminder that it’s easy to get caught up in unrealistic expectations during pumpkin season, and in hindsight, expecting a pumpkin spice cereal to taste like pumpkin pie is like expecting to graduate summa cum laude while also being an All-American on the football team and Homecoming King.

Possible? Yeah, but no worse for wear if you only nail one of the three honors. Because in capturing the multifaceted spices that make up “pumpkin spice,” Frosted Mini Wheats breaks new ground in a seasonal cereal realm usually reserved for Apple Cinnamon, and kicks off pumpkin spice season with a worthy addition in a saturated market.

(Nutrition Facts – 25 Biscuits – 190 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 15.5 oz box
Purchased at: Giant Food
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Very good representation of pumpkin spice flavor. Doesn’t taste too heavily of cloves, which everyone knows is the most heavy and distracting of fall spices. Crunchy, sweet biscuits with mock icing. Eight layers of fiber and whole grains.
Cons: Getting a B when you’re expecting an A+. Doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie. Lacks richness of cream and maple flavors in milk. Binging on cereal. Back to school.