Hmm. Where do I start? I want to be excited about a new Reese’s Puffs cereal, especially one that switches up the shape and doesn’t just supersize it for reasons I don’t fully understand (Big Puffs) or have box art featuring a musician I’ve only vaguely heard of (no offense, Lil Yachty, that remote control cereal boat was pretty cool). I like when the spheres are seasonally swapped for bunny and bat shapes. Those both take a classically good cereal like Puffs and change it up in a fun way.
When I first saw the box of Reese’s Puffs Cluster Crunch, I couldn’t help but approach it with a bit of trepidation. The shapes looked familiar like the berry pieces in Trix or, more inauspiciously, the “clusters” in the largely disappointing Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters. I think I see where you’re going with this one, General Mills. We’re looking at Clusters Plan B, and it’s still not exactly working.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with this cereal in terms of taste. It’s actually quite good, assuming you’re a fan of Reese’s Puffs to begin with. The same strong Reese’s peanut butter smell is present when you open the bag, and as usual, there isn’t as much of a chocolate component as you might hope for, but I’d be lying if I said I’d ever really docked Puffs for lacking this. The peanut butter-colored and chocolate-colored pieces are interchangeably flavored as usual. The issue here is the wording.
Picture this. You’re at the breakfast table with your cereal bowl in front of you, spoon in hand (or if you’re me, at your desk at four p.m. with no spoon and your hand just shoved inside the box. Kidding, I don’t have a desk). You’re about to go fishing in your bowl for a nice crunchy cluster, something that stands out from the other bites. I bet you’re envisioning something like a gob of flakes and oats and maybe pieces of nuts, all different textures and clumped together with the power of something sugary. Instead, you get…a few little rafts of aerated puffs that seem kind of like Rice Krispies but aren’t?
I can’t even tell if these are more aerated than usual, and I cut several pieces in half to check. Even if they were, this would be more of an “extra puffed” and not exactly my definition of crunchy. In milk, they fare the same as the regular ones do, and I know this because I ate them both side by side on a fruitless quest to discover the difference.
This cereal is identical to Reese’s Puffs in every way, except instead of regular round pieces, there are “clusters” of smaller balls. But they’re stuck together from the get-go, and this doesn’t produce any significant difference in crunch. They do have more flavor powder on them, thanks to the little bumps and crevices, and eating them feels a little different because they aren’t a shape that my tongue is totally used to when it thinks it’s getting Reese’s Puffs.
I consider the original Puffs to be an 8 out of 10, and it seems unfair to rank this any lower because it’s exactly the same, but I think the name Cluster Crunch evokes an idea that the product doesn’t deliver on. If you like Reese’s Puffs, you should be happy with this cereal. If you’re hoping for a new and crunchy twist, this underwhelms.
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 11.9 oz box
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of total sugars including 12 grams of added sugars), and 3 grams of protein.