Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: General Mills' Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch

General Mills' Cheerios is one of the most popular cereal brands on the market today, and the company knows it. From the original oat O's they extended the brand to now include 13 varieties, the latest being Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch. What makes this particular formula unique is that of all the current offerings it is the only one to include more than O's. Medley Crunch is a blend of the popular Honey Nut Cheerios, whole grain flakes, and clusters made with almond slices. So, how well does this new Cheerios stack up with the the others?

Most of the variance among Cheerios has been around taste, and they have an impressive array of varieties from which to choose, including chocolate, Dulce de Leche, peanut butter, and cinnamon burst. Medley Crunch seems to have been developed for more than just taste since at this level they are sticking with the tried and true Honey Nut Cheerios base, which have a sweet edge to them. I have never been overly excited about the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios, and adding the flakes and clusters doesn't really improve on it. The cereal is pleasant to the palate, but for me not a standout.

Texture is one area in which I am sure General Mills was trying to accomplish something special. And the idea of adding extra components certainly gives this cereal extra crunch, and gets beyond the limp texture of conventional Cheerios in milk. That said, this cereal is best right out of the box, and in this way makes for strong snack food. But, let it soak in milk and all the fun begins to disappear. The actual O's are still there and eventually degrade into their usual mush. Certainly the flakes and clusters stand up better, but in the end you have nothing more than three distinct cereals floating around your bowl.

Medley Crunch was not designed to stand out in any unique way, but provides consumers an alternative within the comfort of a very well-known and trusted cereal brand. And, that's about it. There just isn't much to get excited about here, unless you like the idea of having a cereal mix and don't want to be troubled creating your own.

I have never understood the nutrition hype behind Honey Nut Cheerios, and this Medley doesn't change my opinions. General Mills knows that the oat base behind Cheerios is nutritious and that there is some research which supports the role of the soluble fiber in oats in reducing cholesterol. For that reason they have utilized Honey Nut Cheerios as the vehicle to convey that message. Even the box of the new Medley Crunch has the heart shape with the words "Can Help Lower Cholesterol". So, this must be a health cereal. Right? Not so quick. First of all, the amount of soluble fiber is not that significant (the Nutrition Facts say "less than 1g" per serving). And, the high sugar content of this cereal (almost 30% of total weight) is far too high for this to be considered truly nutritious. Sure, there are no artificial flavors or colors, and it contains the typical fortified vitamins and minerals, but nutrition-wise this cereal is not as significant as the marketing would like you to believe.

As you can see from my comments and ratings above this is a fairly average cereal from my perspective. It's by no means a bad choice, but neither is this going to be a knock-out. I suspect in a year or two it will be replaced with yet another innovative Cheerios variety. As it stands now, this is a cereal lacking a clear identity, one of the hazards when you create a mix. Nevertheless, if you like your Cheerios, and want a slightly different texture for a change it's worth trying.

No comments: