Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anatomy of a Review

As I explained at the beginning of this year, the Breakfast Bowl will be expanding its contribution to cereal lovers by providing regular reviews of new, and at times classic, cereals. Hopefully it will be way to help you discover new cereals that might be of interest to you.

In planning for my foray into reviews, I want to make sure that they are more than subjective drivel, even though things like taste do often come down to preference. Instead, my intention is that these features will give a good, informed overview of a cereal's features, and how it compares to others on the market. This requires a somewhat methodical and consistent approach, while keeping the writing fresh and interesting.

In the end I have decided to implement a rating system, using five "bowls", and based on four different evaluative criteria, and an overall score:

Quite basic, but probably the most important criteria for most people. Does the cereal tantalize the taste buds, or does it compare to soggy cardboard or hyper-flavored candy?

Eating involves more than taste. The entire physical experience plays into one's enjoyment of the food. Does the cereal maintain a good balance between crunchy and easy to down - out of the box, and after 5 or 10 minutes soaking in milk?

I am convinced that the success of breakfast cereal over the past century has been because of the way that companies have made its consumption an emotional experience. The cereal often has its own story, and is conveyed in the marketing behind it, especially with the box and perhaps the shapes, etc. The question to ask when rating a cereal is: How does eating the cereal contribute to my personal fulfillment and needs?

I don't want to take the fun out of cereal, but let's face it, ultimately we need our cereal to provide us some level of nutrition, even if just to give us the energy boost we need to face the day. Without being a killjoy, it still is a legitimate question to ask: Does the cereal provide a healthful range of carbs, protein, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals?

To wrap it up, I will give a final rating to the cereal. The number of "bowls" will be an indicator of how this cereal fared, and will be especially useful in providing comparisons once a number of these are completed.

Let me know if you have any questions on my review protocol. And, watch for the first one to appear this week!

UPDATE: 2/10/13 - Note that unless otherwise indicated, when conducting these reviews I will have purchased the cereal on my own. I am in no way affiliated with any cereal manufacturer or marketing firm, and these reviews are purely my own opinion.


Jim Rayball said...

These criteria look great. Looking forward to first review.

Flakey said...

Kelloggs cornflakes (UK) are now absolutely tasteless. They used to have a lovely 'corny' flavour, especially when fresh out of a new box, but now - bland is not the word, totally tasteless. The cheapest supermarket own brand cornflakes now taste so much better than these.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering if you have ever tried barbaras morning oat crunch? I love oatmeal squares and I want to know how they compare!

Lloyd said...

Sorry, not sure I've tried them.