Monday, March 12, 2012

My Modest KRAVE CEREAL Reviews

In a glutted cereal market, do Kellogg’s latest products bring anything new to the (breakfast) table?

A few months back, Kellogg’s unveiled a new breakfast cereal called Krave. Actually, the company released two new breakfast cereals simultaneously, with el nuevo product-o coming in dual incarnations - one a chocolate version, and the other, a double-chocolate permutation.

There were a couple of things that initially struck me about this newfangled product, the very least of which was the fact that it kinda’ shared its namesake with a line of gay discos. Was it the embossed cereal chunks on the front of the package, or the fact that the company paid a butt load of money to mass campaign the poop out of the new product, or was it merely the notion that, all in all, there’s really not that much deviation in the cereal aisle stock from month to month? It’s insanely common to see new variations of products in the cereal aisle (the next time you hit up the grocery store, make a mental note of just how many damn varieties of Captain Crunch are being hoisted upon you), but seeing entirely new brands of cereal is an exceedingly rare phenomenon. The breakfast game is one clearly dominated by the old guard, so seeing any form of new blood on the shelving is a sight that’s sure to grab your attention…and make your taste buds just a wee bit curious as a result.

Eventually, consumer curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to recently try out both products. So is Krave destined to be the “next big thing” in America’s pantries, or is it destined to go the way of Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy? Cereal connoisseurs, keep a-reading…

I suppose the first thing to note is that, compositionally, there doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference in the caloric make-up of the two. Granted, the double-chocolate incarnation appears to have a bit more chemical weight to it (which probably explains why it’s expiration date is a month earlier than its uni-chocolate kin), but for the most part, the two items are nutritionally equals.

As far as packaging goes, you’re dealing with the same lingo on both. Clearly, the double-chocolate variety is aesthetically different than the single-chocolate variety, and this is reflected on the packaging for said items. The back panels for each cereal, however, are identical, with Kellogg’s inviting would-be consumers to join the “Krave Nation” (although I’m not really sure if that’s supposed to be a republic of the “democratic” or “constitutional” variety, to be honest.) Also, Kellogg’s makes note of its target audience - “chocovores” - as people that really enjoy themselves some chocolaty breakfast items. Or as other marketers (and most of the laity) are prone to calling them, “diabetics.”

I guess there really isn’t too much to say about the cereal chunks themselves. Obviously, the two are differently hued, and are about the size of one’s thumbnail (pending you’re not part of Andre the Giant’s clan or something). I racked my brain for a few days trying to figure out what these things reminded me of, only to come to the realization that these things bare an uncanny resemblance to those old-ass Skoal Bandit pouches - you know, those mini-tea bags of chewing tobacco that many a crude stereotype can be seen sucking and spitting out on cable television programming, or perhaps your neighborhood’s more rural-looking gas stations. Whether or not that’s something you can overcome while chowing down on this cereal, I am afraid, is something that only the individual can decide for him or herself.

The big selling point for Krave - both varieties, mind you - is that each granule of cereal is loaded with a an inner-chocolate core that makes the cereal interiorly chocolaty as well as exteriorly. The packaging on the front of the cereal makes it sort of look like the chocolate core is almost liquid magma, so for those of you well versed on your Gushers etiquette - well, that may just come in handy once more here.

Before trying the cereal myself, I decided to do a little whole grain biopsy, to see just how chocolaty the inside of each chunk actually was. Since the exterior shell and interior filling of the double chocolate variety are virtually identical in color, it’s pretty hard to tell just how much bang for your buck you are getting there. With the “standard” chocolate variety, however, there is indeed an inner nucleus of chocolate to be found, although I was mighty miffed to note that the chocolate was of a solidified - and not gummy, oozy and Ovaltine-like - nature.

After determining that the foodstuff was most likely edible, I decided to turn on my camera and film my first experience with said product - remember, what you are witnessing is indeed my very first time inviting Krave in my body, and as such, my reaction is one hundred percent undiluted and authentic. “Blair Witch,” this shit ain’t, folks.

On the whole, I would say that Krave is a pretty good cereal, and after digesting both boxes, I reckon I can give you a more comprehensive review of each product.

First off, the “standard” version of Krave actually has a more pronounced chocolaty taste than the double-chocolate variety, which, clearly, is weird as all hell. I think this can be attributed to the fact that, since the standard version has something of a grain-tasting exterior, once you bite into the chunk and get a rush of chocolate, said chocolate flavor is more noticeable than in the double-choc offering, since you really don’t know if you’re chomping down on the outside or inside of the flake.

If you’re eating the cereals side-by-side (or blind-folded), odds are, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between them for the first couple of bites. Outside of the afore-mentioned pronounced chocolate-ness of the standard offering, the double-choc variety has more of a semi-bitter taste to it. That’s not to say it isn’t sugary or anything (because, dear lord, is it ever), it’s just that it has a sharper flavor than it’s “just-chocolate” sibling. It’s a distinct difference, but it’s not something you would really notice until you’ve gone through half a box of each - and even then, it’s not really that big of a difference between the two.

I really wouldn’t say that one variety is better than the other; if you’re looking for a more “traditional” chocolate cereal, I would go with the standard offering, and if you’re looking for a stronger bowl of cocoa, I’d vouch for the double chocolate blend. In all reality, the gustatorial discrepancies between them are so slight as to be negligible; in fact, if you mix the two into a single bowl and dig in, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell which cereal was which - which means that either Kellogg’s is slacking off in the formula department, or they’re making the absolute subtlest statement about the arbitrariness of race relations since “Ikaruga” on the Nintendo Gamecube.

So, at the end of the day, is Krave really worth your time, effort, energies and moolah? While I don’t think the stuff is on the fast track to dethrone Count Chocula anytime soon, it isn’t bad by any stretch, and both varieties have just enough uniqueness to their flavor to make them stand out from the million-billion Rice Crispies/Cocoa Peebles variations out there. All in all, it isn’t going to revolutionize the breakfast aisle in any regard, but if you’re sick of downing oatmeal and off-brand Pop-Tarts every morning, it might just be a pleasant change of pace for those of you seeking something different to stuff into your digestive tracts each morn.


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