Snack Review: Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos, New School Snackwells, Jell-O Temptations
Oh, the things I subject my body to in the name of testing out new products. It would be one thing to sneak a few Oreos as an afternoon pick-me-up here - or break open a frozen desert as an after-dinner treat there - but to throw 60+ grams of sugar into my body within 3 or 4 minutes? Only my youthful spirit and devotion to mindless Walmart wondering could lead me to do that, which, with the help of a very gracious and outgoing Kraft employee named Angie, is exactly what I did a couple of weeks ago.
Ok, side story time. I first met Angie in a local Utah grocery store a few weeks ago. She saw me staring at a box of Oreos, contemplating if $2.99 was worth my investment (that is, after all, like three small Frostys). Anyways, one thing leads to another, and I ended up telling her about GrubGrade, as well as my infatuation for all things highly artificial and a nutritionally worthless. Angie, who represents Nabisco, was more than happy to indulge my curiosity, and helped set up a product tasting of several of Kraft and Nabisco’s latest offering. On tap? Nabisco’s brand new Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos, Snackwells’ revamped line of portioned treats, Jell-O Temptations, and the brand new, uber chic Mio beverage (which I’ll tackle in a future post).
A large appetite I do have, but even I wasn’t going to go at all of this without a little backup. Joined by my buddies (and loyal GrubGrade readers) Todd and Steve, I sampled all the products Angie picked out for me. Here’s a rundown of my thoughts.
Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos
I was really stoked to try these despite a somewhat lackluster review on the Impulsive Buy (really Jasper, a 6?) As far as I’m concerned, no sandwich cookie is as good as an Oreo, and it’s one of those few name brands which I will not give up for a store brand. The filling is nice and thick (I’d say even more than a Double Stuf), but has a little more fluff than a traditional Oreo filling. It’s almost artificial mousse-like in texture, and very overpowering in strawberry taste and smell. That was totally cool for me, and even for Todd, who admitted he does not go for fruit and chocolate. Steve said it was like a bunch of mayo got together with a Strawberry Pop Tart, and aside from the weirdness of his marriage analogy, I kind of understood his point. The filling is very likable and did remind me of a strawberry milkshake. It’s overwhelmingly sweet, but pleasant for both twisters and biters alike. Personally, I’d recommend buying these only if you have several children, as eating them on your own will lead to dramatic weight gain in oh, about 7 minutes.
GrubGrade: 8.50/10 (Very Good)
SnackWell’s Rich Vanilla Creme Brownie Bits
I seriously hope eating these portion controlled packs doesn’t compromise my manhood, because I’ve been throwing these things down like peanuts at a bar. Sure, their packaging screams “cougar” and their familiar, 100-calorie pack ethos screams fake, 40-year old woman diet food (and I say that in a lovingly way, having been raised on the awesomeness of 100 calorie packs) but the Brownie Bits are very good. You’ll be impressed with the chocolate brownie coating, which tastes just like those Betty Crocker mixes your mom whips up with eggs and oil. It’s got a moist and sweet taste, although the cream is a little weak. Still, the cream provides an interesting snap to the brownie, which is best dissolved in your mouth. Alright, so the ingredient list might read like the first five books of the bible, but this is Snackwell’s after all, the same brand name which has long been tarnished as the biggest offender in the empty sweets world of making Americans fat. Well, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah; it might be empty calories, but that’s why they make ‘em in controlled packs. And for the taste of a brownie without the risk of eating the whole, uh, sheet, I’ll take it any day (just as long as I get to keep my manhood.)
GrubGrade: 8.00/10 (Very Good)
Snackwell’s Fudge Drizzled Caramel Popcorn
Tod and Steve both really liked this one, giving it high marks. Problem was, they summed it up perfectly when they stated the best part of the snack. “You really can’t go wrong with caramel and chocolate” said Steve. True that, but you can’t go wrong with butter toffee peanuts in there either, and these don’t have that. I like the lickable chocolate glaze and the exceptionally sweet caramel, but the taste and texture of these is something we’ve seen before. I actually wonder if the chocolate (excuse me, fudge) drizzle detracts from the crunch on the corn, and wonder if a little more salt wouldn’t have rounded out the sweetness. In either case, the ingredient list is much more “au natural” friendly. 18 grams of sugar may be a little high for some, but again, the packet keep you from, you know, eating that entire bag of Cracker Jack’s which you might regularly down at a baseball game (wait, only me?)
GrubGrade: 7.25/10 (Decent)
I felt really weird eating this desert for a couple of reasons. One, because the top layer of red Jell-O jiggled like something out of Heavyweights, and two, because the “Temptations” moniker is anything but dude food oriented. And because three guys sitting around a Walmart going crazy on sugar is definitely a celebration of dude food, it seemed out of place. Still, I but was pleasantly surprised by the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor I sampled. The “Jell-O” seemed denser and more full flavored than the sugar-free pudding packs you find in the the baking aisle (it was actually more like a cross between Jell-O and strawberry jelly) while cheesecake bottom was rich yet whipped and had an airy, milky sweetness about it. I liked it, but I don’t know if I’d pay the sticker price of $3.49 for a three pack. I mean, that’s like a Ben and Jerry’s pint right there. And that’s a temptation anyone can get behind.
GrubGrade: 6.75/10 (Average)
I want to thank Angie for hooking my buddies up and I with the samples. I won’t lie – if you like sugary, artificial tasting stuff, all three of these snacks will definitely do the job. But I can’t help question if the Temptations and Snackwell’s lines are still catering towards too much of a female audience. Also, both products seemed overpriced given what they’re offering, and aside from their portion control convenience, neither line is delivering something truly remarkable or groundbreaking in the world of snacks. All things considered, that leaves the new Berry Burst Oreos as the only real innovation in the new Kraft snacks we sampled, although we’re dying to get our hands on the Triple Double Oreo, whenever that comes out.