I Paid: $3.65 for a 17-ounce box (prices may vary by region)
Careful scrutiny of the recent public record reveals that there has been no national grass-roots movement calling for the removal of the flakes from Honey Bunches of Oats. In fact, a clear case can be made that the flakes provide a pleasurable balance to a cereal that would otherwise merely be ultrasweet granola chunks.
Nonetheless, Post now offers a bunches-only version of its popular cereal. The controversial gimmick works. Immediately one asks, “Why mess with a lovely, well-balanced cereal?” And yet, one also asks, “What would it be like to dine upon only bunches, in all their sweet, crunchy glory?” Such gimmicks have been applied to sugary breakfast cereal before. Lucky Charms comes in a “Just Novelty-Shaped Marshmallows” version that’s equally seductive. (If only.)
It turns out that the resulting bunches-only product is downright delicious. The bunches lack some of the rugged, natural flavor of more traditional granola, and are sweeter, but they possess a pleasantly crunchy, milk-resistant texture. The Caramel variety of the cereal is mellow, with a legitimate caramel taste that’s pronounced but certainly not overstated; the Honey Roasted incarnation is much closer to the original Honey Bunches of Oats flavor, lighter and quite similar in taste to Honey Nut Cheerios, which are produced by rival cereal vendor General Mills.
Arguably not quite as durable as the original (the odds of getting sick of Just Bunches! are probably double the odds of getting sick of Bunches and Also Flakes), Just Bunches! nonetheless manages to provide an entertaining and fairly delicious breakfast experience.
Also, it’d probably be pretty good covered in yogurt.
I Paid: $2.99 for a 10.5-ounce box (prices may vary by region)
Give the people at Kellogg’s some credit for creative marketing: The concept of a cookie-based cereal (à la Cookie Crisp, of course) is far more intriguing when it purportedly contains two different “cookies” based on their full-size real-world analogues. In the case of Cookie Crunch, miniature Fudge Shoppe Fudge Stripes and Chips Deluxe cookies are the relevant building blocks.
Delightful concept. But when it comes to execution, there’s no need to mince words: This cereal is a yellow cornmeal–based atrocity.
While the Cheerio-shaped Fudge Stripes and the tiny pebble-shaped Chips Deluxe do a reasonably good job of looking the part, their actual cookie (and/or chocolate) flavor is fleeting and low grade, at best. What dominates is the linty taste of cardboard; a dour, off-putting mash of grain products that overwhelms the mouth, no doubt the fault of ingredient number one: yellow cornmeal. These little “cookies” are every bit as rank and mealy as generic cereals sold in enormous plastic bags—perhaps more so. Thirty minutes after eating a bowl of this stuff you may, as I did, feel the need to go back to the bathroom, brush your teeth a second time, and restart your day.