Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: Love Grown Power O's

It's been awhile since I've last done a cereal review. I like doing them and would love to do more, but I'm not into reviewing every new variety of Special K, Cheerios, etc. that hits the grocers' shelves. Instead, for my readers' sakes I want to try new cereals that are truly interesting or innovative.

Love Grown Power O's are a great way to get back into review mode. I wrote about them a few weeks ago, intrigued by the fact that they are made with some unusual ingredients, namely beans (navy beans, garbanzo beans, plus lentils and brown rice). Curiosity alone prompted me to want to try them. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them in any stores near me, so the good people at Love Grown sent me a box of each of the four flavors so that I could discover whether this is all hype or truly the next great thing in cereal history.

I do occasionally receive cereal samples from companies, but do not feel compelled to review them. In fact, this is the first time I have actually done so - normally I buy my own cereals. This is definitely an exception. I think we all want to know whether breakfast cereals made from beans are worth buying, and for your benefit I will be the guinea pig.

I am also going outside of my normal protocol by reviewing four different varieties at once. This is such a unique, niche product that I felt it would be best to lump them all together in one review. The four flavors are: Original, Chocolate, Honey and Strawberry.

So, let's pour four bowls and see what the fuss is all about.


The most obvious question I had, and I'm sure most of you have, is: How do Power O's taste? This could be the healthiest cereal on the planet, but if tastes disgusting or like cardboard no one will really care. In the end breakfast cereal is an experience that is part of our culture and, for many, an important way for to start their day. Taste matters. So, what's the verdict? Three of the four are not bad - actually taste reasonably well, especially considering their position as health food. Perhaps the biggest barrier for most people to try Power O's is psychological. If they don't know the cereals are made from beans they probably wouldn't notice anything unusual. There is one exception, however. The Original flavor is awful. On the front end it's just plain bland, and on the back end it leaves a taste of burnt milk. So, unless you want nothing but the benefits of beans in your diet avoid the base flavor. Chocolate, Honey and Strawberry, on the other hand, taste fine. Of course, there is nothing that sugar and flavorings cannot fix! The flavors and sweetness are not overpowering, but just enough to keep them pleasant. Overall these cereals are not going to win any food taste awards, but if you are intrigued by what these cereals have to offer you can be assured that three of them will work on your palate. My advice is stay away from the Original, unless you want to use it just for complementing other cereals.

Another question in my mind before trying Power O's was: What is the texture of cereals made from beans, and how will they stand up in milk? The fat little O's are fairly light, and lacking density they are easy chews, and in milk they quickly get soggy within just a few minutes. The Honey ones have the best texture out of the box, and the Chocolate and Strawberry formulas seem to hold out best in milk.

Let's get to the emotional side of eating Power O's. This is serious stuff, definitely not "kid's cereal", but there is a strong experiential aspect to them. Just the fact that you are eating cereal made from unusual ingredients is an adventure in itself. It says you are bold and willing to go outside the box (no pun intended!). Aside from that, the packaging is contemporary and contributes to a positive breakfast.

The whole reason for the "bean" thing is health. At the core of Love Grown Foods is a commitment to nutritious foods, and it extends to their oat-based cereals as well. Power O's, of course, with their beans are novel and speak nutrition loud and clear. The claims include high protein and fiber, low-fat, non-GMO and only natural flavors. The Original flavor offers the best nutrition profile. Unfortunately, however, the sugar content of the three better tasting varieties is higher than the optimal maximum 20% of weight.

If I could rate these cereals on innovation alone this would be a "five bowl" winner. In the real world, however, Power O's are unlikely to become mainstream champions anytime soon. Nevertheless, give Love Grown credit for trying to make something highly nutritious that meets the expectations of today's consumers. They haven't yet fully succeeded, but they are on the way. This could be the future of cereal. At minimum I'd encourage you to give them a try (but stay away form the Original)!
(Review protocol HERE)

12 comments:

Renee Loomis said...

I tried the strawberry and the chocolate and they were both awful!!! The bean flavor is so bitter the sweetness of the flavoring doesn't come close to masking it. Just so that my purchase wasn't a complete waste I let the cereal turn the milk into chocolate milk and strawberry milk and strained the actual cereal out and right into the garbage disposal. They do make for some tasty flavored milk but that's about it!

Anonymous said...

Most cereals don't have much nutritional value and, coupled with a high carb count, leave me feeling hungrier than ever. Finally a crunchy snack without lots of unwanted ingredients that can be enjoyed right out of the box. The Original flavor is mild with a slight tang, and the sweeter Chocolate flavor (thanks to cocoa) is a satisfying dessert type fix without going overboard. For me, the Honey was too sweet and I haven't tried the Strawberry. Kudos and thanks to Love Grown. Anon only because I don't want to look up my password.

Fernando said...

I already used one box of the strawberry and I love it. I'm going to buy another box of a different flavor. To me the must important thing is not the taste, but the components and the nutritional value. This cereal apparently is very good for your health.
Fernando

diana steele said...

Tried these yesterday. Chocolate and strawberry. Both awesome. !!! Great out of the box tasted like fruity pebbles and Coco puffs great job guys!!!!

Unknown said...

To be honest I really liked the original I was satisfied .It was so tasty to me cause I like foods plain no sugar and artificial flavoring. thanks love grown!

Unknown said...

I love the chocolate, finding it quite chocolatey. I use a coconut almond milk or egular 1% milk it, and it makes the milk super chocolatey too, which is awesome. I haven't worked up the nerve to try strawberry... But people say it tastes like cocoa pebbles, hm? So long as it doesn't taste like that creepy strawberry milk mix, I would try it. I think I'll gamble on a box next week.

Cool Stang said...

I am a bodybuilder, at some point in the off season a lot of guys buy and eat other cereals but I always found myself spending way to much time eating it and being hungry 20- 25 minutes later. This is way more filling and great taste (strawberry and also the honey one) they have a customer for life if they keep the great quality and price. Not to mention the ingredients... outside of citric acid and lecithin, the rest is natural.

Cool Stang said...

I am a bodybuilder, at some point in the off season a lot of guys buy and eat other cereals but I always found myself spending way to much time eating it and being hungry 20- 25 minutes later. This is way more filling and great taste (strawberry and also the honey one) they have a customer for life if they keep the great quality and price. Not to mention the ingredients... outside of citric acid and lecithin, the rest is natural.

Anonymous said...

Lower in carbs and sodium than most cereal. I like the taste and their crunchiness. They do not taste like beans. They have a customer for life.

Anonymous said...

I just bought the strawberry flavor and it is amazing. In fact it was better then the leading brands. Sweet but not overwhelming. I think my daughter will love these. For a fun flavor add a soy cocanut milk and it is the best breakfast. Also they are surpisingly filling.

Christin Brooks said...

I really like the strawberry. I would love to try the chocolate and honey. They also have other cereals too. I really like the mighty flakes. It's their version of frosted flakes. AWESOME stuff.

Anonymous said...

I like the original as I prefer my cereal without "extras". As I have to avoid wheat for awhile, I tried the oat cereals and they are amazing. Again, they taste good, have things like coconut *and not small pieces" in it. I also like the chocolate and honey power'os. Zehrs and food land carry them as well as health food stores, which is where I first found them two years ago. Finally a cereal that is pretty good for you. Although I have not had Cheerios for several years, the original remind me of them. Hope more people try them.