Quaker has added a new member of the Life family, joining Original, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread, and (discontinued?) Maple and Brown Sugar. Strawberry Life is the only fruit-flavored version out there currently. Cinnamon Life is my all-time favorite cereal, so I was interested to see how this variation would stack up.
How is it?
When I tried a piece dry, it reminded me of Berry Berry Kix, a cereal I haven’t had in decades. But who eats Life dry?
As I ate the cereal doused in milk, I got the true experience, but it’s not much of an experience. For some of the bites, I could hardly taste the strawberry. It was just like Original Life. On other bites, I could taste the berry, but it had an artificial, almost chemical flavor, which is odd since it only uses natural flavors.
I was happy to finish my bowl(s) of this cereal, but only because of the standard flavor and texture of Life. The strawberry doesn’t do anything for me.
I did try real strawberries in the cereal, but personally I didn’t care for the combination.
Is there anything else I need to know?
I have a few lingering questions. Why do they use yellow food coloring for a strawberry-inspired cereal that is drab anyway? Like, what’s the point? And why is this new product being marketed with a minor character from a threequel that I predict will be forgettable?
I doubt I will ever buy this cereal again —- not because it’s terrible, but just because it doesn’t match its predecessors. When I go to the cereal aisle and see my beloved Cinnamon Life smiling at me, I have no need for Strawberry. Even Original is better than this version.
Purchased Price: $2.99 Size: 18 oz. box Purchased at: Target Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup (32 grams) – 120 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 85 milligrams of potassium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Purchased Price: $1.00 each Size: 5.3 oz. cup Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 8 out of 10 (Splendid Strawberry) Rating: 7 out of 10 (Blueberry Bliss) Rating: 8 out of 10 (Luscious Lemon) Pros: Fruit mousse is light and creamy. Strawberry and blueberry have authentic fruit flavor and ingredients.. Lemon is very tart – could eat a whole cup of mousse alone. Mousse and yogurt textures work well together. Mousse-to-yogurt ratio is just right. Cons: Shape of cup can make getting mousse and yogurt in the same scoop difficult. Yogurt is bland without mousse. Blueberry mousse has a less strong flavor that makes it pedestrian with the plain yogurt. Lemon may be too tart for some.
Nutrition Facts:Splendid Strawberry – 140 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, and 15% calcium. Blueberry Bliss – 140 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, and 15% calcium. Luscious Lemon – 150 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and 15% calcium.
When I think of potential names for artisanal, fancy-pants yogurt from Europe, I tend to think along the lines of classical homages to the aesthetic height of the Greek and Roman Republics. At least that’s what I imagine all those Voskos, Oikos and Fage brand represent. That, or some kind of pathetic European attempt to get a laugh out of my unrefined American accent.
The last name I’d expect from a fancy-pants European import brand of yogurt would be “Müller,” which mostly just sounds like the name I’d give a German Shepard or the big Nazi guy Indiana Jones beats the snot out of in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
These preconceived and potentially disastrous connotations notwithstanding, I tried to keep an open mind when sampling the new Müller “Corner” yogurts, which have invaded the Northeast United States with the kind of cross-continental fury not scene since the Soviets overtook us in the 1980s (and soon to be remade) cult classic, Red Dawn.
Thankfully, Müller isn’t coming to invade our high school footballs fields and disrupt our way of life. That is, unless eating candy within your yogurt is considered a threat to the American way of life, in which case you’re screwed. Sorry about that. As for the rest of us, the flavors of candy and crunchy mix-ins for Müller’s lowfat and Greek “Corner” varieties are pretty intriguing, especially if you’re looking for something different from granola or Oreos crumbs. I picked up three of these — including one Greek flavor — to try out.
Choco Balls comes with lowfat vanilla yogurt with a side of chocolate covered crispy rice. Right off the bat, I’m not impressed with the title. Maybe it’s that eighth grade sense of humor that never quite left me, but I tend to laugh when saying “balls.” Anyhoo, the balls clearly are quite small, dwarfed by the impressive artwork seen on the package. They have a nice crisp texture though, like little morsels of Nestle Crunch covered in an M&M coating. I liked them, but thought they were better off without the yogurt, which basically tasted like every overly sweet vanilla yogurt I’ve ever had. I would have liked a more assertive crunch and chocolate flavor to have countered the yogurt, and perhaps something a little less sugary. Mind you, this is coming from the guy who finds Froot Loops to be a bit sour.
Choco Flakes didn’t make me giggle like Choco Balls, but it did satisfy my appetite more than the latter. Featuring chocolate covered corn flakes, the flavor mix-in is everything Cocoa Krispies aspires to be. The chocolate coating is surprisingly rich and bittersweet, creating a wonderful contrast to the crispy flake underneath.
The downside is, again, the yogurt itself. It tastes far too sweet and doesn’t do anything to convince me that German cows are some how superior to our own (never minding the fact that Müller yogurt is produced in Batavia, New York.)
MY favorite of the three flavors I sampled was the Greek Corner with Caramelized Almonds. The almonds are just the right size, with a crunchy balance of sweet and buttery almond flavor to compliment the yogurt. Because the yogurt is plain flavored Greek yogurt the combination wasn’t as cloying as the regular yogurt flavors I tried, but was familiar enough in the contrast of textures and flavor that it more than hit the spot. With 13 grams of protein it actually even felt kind of healthy.
My biggest gripe with the Müller yogurt is the size and price. No doubt some of the flavor mix ins are good, but retailing for $1.25 each at my local Safeway, they’re a few coins more than the familiar YoCrunch yogurts featuring M&Ms, Butterfingers, and Oreos. Likewise, YoCrunch yogurts don’t come with the eerie looking Quaker man, who thanks to his new brand of yogurt, should probably be referred to as Mr. Müller. My suggestions? If you’re looking for a little bit of a different twist to your regular yogurt excursion and don’t mind something more than a little sweet, go to town on these. Despite the name, they’re not bad at all.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 container – Choco Balls – 210 calories, 25 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein, and 20% calcium. Choco Flakes – 220 calories, 25 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, and 20% calcium. Greek with Caramelized Almonds – 220 calories, 35 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein, and 20% calcium.)
Item: Quaker Müller Corner Yogurt (Choco Balls and Choco Flakes) and Quaker Müller Greek Corner Yogurt (Caramelized Almonds) Purchased Price: $1.25 (on sale) Size: 1 container/ 150 grams Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 5 out of 10 (Lowfat with Choco Balls) Rating: 7 out of 10 (Lowfat with Choco Flakes) Rating: 8 out of 10 (Greek with Caramelized Almonds) Pros: Real chocolate covered corn flakes. Creamy yogurt. Eating candy in my yogurt. Caramelized almonds have great crunch and buttery sweetness. Red Dawn references. Cons: Lowfat yogurt is too sweet. Choco Balls would be better if each ball was chocolate. A bit pricey and small. Buying yogurt from Mr. Müller the creepy Quaker guy.
St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and I’ve chosen to take the fast food company approach to celebrating. As long as it’s a nice, radioactive shade of artificial green and it’s edible, it’s holiday appropriate. This brings us to Quaker’s Chocolatey Mint Granola Bar, one of the new, real cocoa-laden entries into its Chewy line of snackables. It contains eight grams of magical whole grains and absolutely none of that banshee HFCS.
In the past I’ve found that the only thing at the end of granola rainbows is a very dry mouthâ€¦ and sometimes, if I’m really Irish-level lucky, honey or berries. Quaker, however, has always taken the concept in a very rice-puffed, kid-friendly direction. Chewy bars aren’t meant to see much non-paved wilderness action or to blend serendipitously with Kombucha. These are the snacks that litter the ground below the granola rainbow. That is why I chose them for St. Patrick’s Day instead of Earth Day. For Earth Day, they’d have to ramp it up about a thousand notches, maybe add some actual clover.
The bar itself imparts little to no flavor beyond a whispered hint of cocoa. It’s basically just a whole grain home for the wee little flavor chips, which are left to do all the heavy lifting. While delicious, they’re constantly falling off the bar and finding places to melt at bizarrely low temperatures, so that by the last bite, I’m left with green spotted pants and a bland rolled oat has-been bragging about a cacao tree it once knew.
“Like hell,” I say. “Little cocoa bar, you’ve no more rubbed elbows with Brazilian beans than you’ve hung out on the cliffs of Moher in the late evening mist, pining for your lost love, Little Debbie.”
If that isn’t a woeful pub ballad in the making, I don’t know what is. I’m pretty sure I’m like three green beers away from penning the defining junk food anthem here. Shall we make it two?
In response to my disbelief and persistent need to make this culinary experience all about me, the chewy bar drops several more mint chips onto the carpet in my living room.
Turns out my fridge contains no green beer. My options are Belgian ale or week old two buck chuck with green food coloring. Both seem like fitting choices for this completely non-Irish snack. I graduated from a college that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day two weeks earlier than the rest of the world and, honestly, I’m not even slightly Irish, so I feel neither compelled nor qualified to include anything authentic in my holiday choices. I need a shirt that says, “Kiss me for my minty breath and do not question my heritage.”
Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to get back to writing that soon-to-be-beloved folk ditty. Oh, chewy bar, my taste buds they are call-ing!
(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 8% calcium, and 4% iron. Not a significant source of any vitamins whatsoever.)
Item: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars Price: 3/$5.00 (on sale) Size: 10 – .84 ounce bars Purchased at: Albertson’s Rating: 5 out of 10 Pros: Yummy mint chips liberally sprinkled about. Inspires me to write folk ballads. Pairs well with festive spirits. Unguarded pots of honey and berries. Minty fresh breath. Cons: Lacks hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons. Chocolate bar is a tasteless brick. One must eat multiple bars to equal even a child-sized breakfast. Unrequited snack food love.
As someone who gets dietary fiber via Pop-Tarts and Omega-3 fatty acids from gummy fish, I should be stoked about the (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars, but I’m not.
Because if an iPhone can be not only a phone, but also a music player, video player, Internet device and portable video game machine, then I should expect more from the (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars.
If Quaker was able to enhance a granola bar with 35 percent of your daily value of dietary fiber and 320 milligrams of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, then why can’t they also include antioxidants, caffeine, B vitamins, minerals, ginko biloba and fluoride. Because I believe that you either go all the way or go home.
Sure, there aren’t many graphic designer who would want to attempt to design the packaging for a product with the name (take a deep breath), Quaker Fiber, Omega-3, Antioxidants, Caffeine, B Vitamins, Minerals, Ginko Biloba & Fluoride Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars, but that granola bar, my friends, would truly be considered a superfood.
One granola bar to rule them all.
Each (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars is 3.5 inches long, three-fourths of an inch wide and about half an inch thick, which is kind of small, but also somewhat the norm when it comes to granola bars. The bars get their chocolate flavor from semisweet chocolate chunks in them and a chocolatey drizzle on top, and combined they give it an enjoyable chocolate flavor, which makes me think these could be really bad for me.
The bar’s downfall is how fragile it is. It falls apart faster than a Jenga tower in a game between a drunk Nick Nolte and a coked up Gary Busey, both of whom will think they’re playing against hallucinations of themselves. It’s quite irksome to have the granola bar breaking down in my fingers and possibly causing pieces to fall on the floor; because my DustBuster no longer works, the maid service I use will no longer accept jobs from me due to “sexual harassment” issues and I don’t own a dog or goat that could eat it up off the floor.
To solve this problem, perhaps there needs to be a (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber, Omega-3, Antioxidants, Caffeine, B Vitamins, Minerals, Ginko Biloba, Fluoride and Elmer’s Glue Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bar.
(Nutrition Facts- 1 bar – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein and 4% iron.)
Item: Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars Price: $3.49 Size: 5 bars Purchased at: Target Rating: 6 out of 10 Pros: Good chocolate flavor. 35% of daily value of fiber. 320 milligrams of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed. Getting fiber from Pop-Tarts and Omega-3 from gummy fish. Cons: Breaks apart really easily. Kind of small. Only five bars (whatever happened to even numbers). Doesn’t include antioxidants, caffeine, B vitamins, minerals, ginko biloba and fluoride. Long product name. Trying to fit long product names on packaging. Being a Jenga tower in the same room as a drunk Nick Nolte and a coked up Gary Busey.