Rice Krispies on Steroids

Jumbo Multi-Grain Krispies

By: Kellogg’s

I Paid: $3.69 for an 11.2-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 1stars


Marketing: 4stars

There’s something profoundly jarring about the concept of big Rice Krispies; one of the essential aspects of the cereal has always been its tiny, featherlike, blow-away nature. Why mess with a legend?

If recent commercials are any indicator, you mess with a legend so that the millions of little baby hands that now grasp Cheerios with almost total exclusivity will grip and eat Jumbo Multi-Grain Krispies instead.

In many ways, aiming for the baby segment is a wise move for Kellogg’s: It establishes a new niche, challenges a rival on its home turf, and avoids the awkward fact that no adult with functioning taste buds is actually going to choose to eat these things.

Jumbo Multi-Grain Krispies suffer from Generic Cereal Cornmeal Syndrome, an affliction that causes cheap knockoff cereals to have a powdery texture that turns into a gluelike mess when exposed to milk. The beauty of classic Rice Krispies is their diatomaceous structure, a skeletal approach to cereal design that makes for a light, crisp, milk-permeable breakfast. Jumbo Multi-Grain Krispies are built much more like biodegradable packing peanuts: little beige turds of grain that quickly get milk-logged.

Your infant won’t eat cereal with milk. But for adults, the pastiness problem may be a deal-killer.

Banana Nut Cheerios

By: General Mills

I Paid: $3.69 for a 10.9-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3stars


Marketing: 3stars

With the launch of Banana Nut Cheerios, General Mills has decided to play with its winning formula and position itself squarely for … well, it’s not entirely clear. Possibly for the not necessarily lucrative “people who want to eat banana bread for breakfast” market?

The Cheerios—which are whole grain—come on strong and furious with an assertive banana taste that lingers after the cereal has been swallowed. If you’re a banana fan, you’ll be pleased: It’s a relatively natural flavor, not a nasty dose of Runts-style artificial banana. The Cheerios themselves are a little less robust than their conventional cousins, and thankfully not overwhelmingly imbued with a whole-grain aftertaste or undertone. Other than the banana blast, they’re light on the palate and complement milk quite pleasantly.

If you’ve got family members on a steady Cheerios/Honey Nut Cheerios breakfast rotation, throwing in the Banana Nut variety is guaranteed to elicit a confused and impassioned reaction, one way or the other. As to whether the cereal becomes a pantry regular, that’s something that will have to be considered one banana-lover at a time.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.