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New-cereal taste panel gives Fiber One Chocolate thumbs up

Cereals seem to multiply on grocery store shelves quicker than any other food items. Many new brands are sugar-filled and designed to appeal to children, so we looked for "grown-up" cereals or some with less fat and sugar than most. Our judges preferred the cereal they considered the "healthiest" of the bunch. But, it was because they liked the taste rather than the ingredients.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductGreat Grains

Protein Blend
Fiber One

Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical Blends

Huge flakes and what one taster described as granola clods gave this cereal an edge among our panelists. "It's very rustic looking and not at all sweet," said one. "It tastes very fiber-rich." Another especially liked the nut clusters and sunflower seeds. "It tastes like buckwheat flavored Wheaties," said a judge who liked the texture. "It would pair nicely with some fresh berries." Only one really disliked this latest option from the Post company. He compared it to some of the "impenetrable food coatings" invented by the Chevy Chase character, Clark Griswold. "Yep, you can take this as a snack on your next National Lampoon Vacation," he said.Even with such a healthy name, this cereal was delicious. Judges loved the mild chocolate flavor, nice-sized pieces and good crunch. "It reminds me of my days eating Ovaltine by the spoonful," said one judge. All of the panelists agreed this would be a great snack, even without any milk. "It looks like thick, shiny brown Golden Grahams," said another. "It's really very tasty and richly chocolatey without being too sweet. It's sophisticated, but satisfyingly chocolate," she said.Our panelists are a self-proclaimed bunch of Cheerios lovers. But, this cereal did not make the cut. "This cereal looks like they married two old boxes of Cheerios and Frosted Flakes," said one judge. "The taste is boring." Another said, "You could probably make your own 'Medley Crunch' from several left over boxes of other specialty Cheerios, which I have plenty of, since they don't come with resealable inner bags." Only one panelist suggested this cereal might appeal to children because of its overly sweet taste. "It's even sweeter than Honey Nut Cheerios," she said. "It has a strong almond extract flavor as well." A disappointed judge suggested this cereal could have been created "when the manufacturer didn't know what to do with all the bits left around the packing machine."The tropical flavors didn't remind our panelists of the tropics. Instead, they would have preferred the plain flakes and oats. "It's like Bain De Soleil suntan lotion flavor with an assertive mango/papaya aftertaste," said one judge. "It's got dry oats, dried fruit and an odd taste," said another. "It's a nice try — but this doesn't work," he added.

they buy?
Two of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.None of the four judges said yes.None of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.99 for a 14.75-ounce box from Sweetbay.$4.29 for an 11.75-ounce box from Sweetbay.$3.39 for a 13.1-ounce box from Sweetbay.$3.69 for a 14.5-ounce box from Publix.

Panelists: Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; John Hehn, foodie & owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.;

Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the City of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne cupThree-fourths cupThree-fourths cupThree-fourths cup
Fat/Fiber5g / 6g1g / 9g1.5g / 9g2g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium8g / 190mg5g / 130mg9g / 120mg6g / 135mg
Carbs/Protein23g / 8g25g / 1g24g / 3g24g / 2g

New-cereal taste panel gives Fiber One Chocolate thumbs up 03/19/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 10:48am]
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