Snack Review: New! Quaker Chewy Chocolate Swirl Granola Bars
Summer grocery shopping makes me giddy with excitement. Not only does the season reveal a bounty of fresh and tasty produce, but the release of new products is in full swing. You may have noticed a number of new goodies on shelves as of late, including the latest in Quaker’s kid-friendly line of Chewy Granola Bars. Seeing the plump ‘ol Quaker farmer guy is just too tough for the kid inside of me to resist, so I had to pick up a box of the new Chewy Chocolate Swirl flavored bars when I saw them the other day.
The picture on the box looked good enough. Touted as being made with “real cocoa,” these bars feature the familiar chewy granola mix that has been covered in a cocoa flavored coating broken up only by small pieces of semisweet and white chocolate that resemble miniature Hershey Kisses. With only 90 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 6 grams of sugar (not to mention 8 grams of whole grains) they have an impressive nutritional profile as well. But do they deliver in taste?
The answer is “kind of”. I won’t lie; I grew up eating Quaker chewy granola bars when they still included partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, and although I’ve been told such ingredients are bad for me, I do have to admit that the granola bars of my youth seemed moister and sweeter than current Quaker bars (oddly enough, with the exception of the ‘Lower Sugar” variety, which strike me as super moist and sweet). These particular bars have a nice flavor of cocoa, but it’s rather mild, and not terribly sweet or deep. Likewise, the white and semisweet chocolate pieces, while flavorful if individually eaten, get lost amongst the granola, and are so small that it’s tough to distinguish their taste in a full bite.
Which brings my biggest peeve with these bars; their size. Is it just me, or have Quaker granola bars been getting smaller and smaller? Each bar is a paltry 24g in size, and even a small mouth will only be able to get 2-3 bites out of the bar. They’re not disagreeable bites by any means — and I have to give the company credit for coming up with a relatively new flavor of granola bar in an already saturated market. But still, even calling a single bar a “snack” might be exaggerating things. I guess that’s the price you pay for putting a lot of good sounding, but not necessarily good-for-you ingredients into an only 90 calorie bar.
To be fair, I like the idea of Quaker’s newest bar. They have a nice cocoa flavor that represents a good change of pace from the usual granola, while the swirl pieces add a buttery and milky dimension to the chocolate flavor. But for as interesting and flavorful as these bars are, they are rather unfulfilling because of their size and (relative) lack of chewiness compared to older versions of Quaker granola bars, as well as the ‘lower sugar’ variety. I think the new flavor is worth a try, but when it comes to Quaker granola bars, I’ll be sticking with my personal favorite of the 25% Less Sugar Cookies and Cream bar.
Pros: Nice change of pace cocoa flavor works well with multiple chocolate elements. Flavorful pieces of semisweet and white chocolate. 8 grams whole grains. Just 90 calories a bar.
Cons: Ridiculously small. Not as moist as old version of Quaker granola bars. Could be sweeter. Cocoa flavor doesn't wow you, and white chocolate pieces get lost in the shuffle of the natural brown sugar taste of the granola.
Price: 2.88 (at Wal-Mart)
Overall GrubGrade: 7.00 (Decent)
More Info: Check 'Em Out: QuakerOats.com
Quaker Chewy Chocolate Swirl Granola Bars
Total Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Trans Fat: 0g
Total Carbs: 18g