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.
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)!