Not too long ago, I signed up to become a member of the FoodBuzz Featured Publisher Tastemaker Program. This means that, from time to time, the lovely folks at FoodBuzz will send me various products to sample or to test. While none of the Tastemakers are required to post about our opinions, I figured it couldn't hurt. Especially since the product I sampled, the Quaker True Delights Granola Bars, are brand new to the market.
According to Quaker, these granola bars are "an indulgent combination of real fruit, whole nuts and dark chocolate, mixed into wholesome honey-drizzled Quaker oats." Sounds amazing, right? FoodBuzz sent along two samples of each of the three flavors: Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut, Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond. Rather than devour all of the bars myself, I set up a mini tasting at the office and had my coworkers give me their opinions. This was especially helpful to me since I couldn't eat the Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry bars due to my allergy to cranberries.
We started with the Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut bars. As you can see by the picture, Quaker wasn't kidding when they said these bars were made with "whole nuts." Most of us felt that the banana flavor overpowered the coconut and the macadamia nuts were just there to provide a contrast in texture. We also thought this flavor was too sweet, with one of my coworkers saying that the bar tasted like "bad banana nut bread." I'm not a huge fan of banana, myself, so I probably wouldn't buy a box of this particular flavor.
Next came the flavor I couldn't try: Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry. Those who did try it preferred this bar over the one with bananas. Again, most felt it was overly sweet and, despite having pieces of real fruit in it, some thought it had an "artificial fruit flavor." My coworkers thought there was too much going on with this bar, too many competing flavors... and one of them described it as "Christmas gone wrong." Maybe we'd have better luck with the third flavor?
I purposely left the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond bar for last. Who wouldn't want to round out a tasting with a bit of chocolate? According to Quaker, these bars include "chunks of 45% cacao premium dark chocolate." Not too shabby. This one was, by far, the favorite flavor of the group. However, we all felt that all of the bars could have been made with more care. The ingredients for each weren't very well distributed. Some people had one piece of chocolate in their bar while others were overwhelmed by the amount of chocolate. And, as you can see by the "front" and "back" photos of the final sample, it's almost as if the bars were pressed into a tray of roasted almonds and a tray of chocolate chunks as an afterthought.
I confessed to my coworkers that I probably would have enjoyed the bar more, if it had the raspberries and almonds in it and then was covered with 45% cacao premium dark chocolate. In the style of a Kudos bar. Then again, if the bar were covered with chocolate in that manner, it probably would have been more than the advertised 140 calories.
The suggested retail price for the Quaker True Delights Granola Bars is $3.49 per box, with each box containing five bars. I wouldn't necessarily rule out treating myself to a box of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond bars every now and then, but I'll have to pass on the others.
PS. If anyone from Quaker is reading this, would it be possible to give the bars names that weren't so long? I appreciate you wanting to put every ingredient in the bar in the name... but, well, "Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut" is a bit of a mouthful. (No pun intended.)
Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with product samples at no cost. I do not accept monetary compensation for writing about these products or about my experiences while using them. All opinions expressed are my own.