The Snack Bar as Bantamweight

Special K Fruit Crisps

Special K Fruit Crisps

I Paid: $3.09 for ten .44-ounce bars (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

They look big and beautiful in the commercials, but the first thing you notice when you buy a box of Special K Fruit Crisps is that, hey, this box of 100-calorie snack bars is very light. If you’ve ever bought a box of single-serving anything—granola bars, squishy fruit snacks, whatever—you know that they’ve got a bit of heft to them. Not Fruit Crisps: The whole box is a little more than 4 ounces.

This may lead you to think: “Couldn’t the Kellogg Company put slightly more actual food into this box?”

My first reaction to biting into one of these things was: “Matzo.” So if you happen to be an observant Jew and you get enough of that stuff at Passover, skip these bars for certain. They’ve got a hollow, dry, crunchy lightness to them. An extremely minimal strawberry or blueberry filling (made with real sugar and blueberry or strawberry purée concentrate) is surrounded by a hard cracker exterior, with tiny little microlines of piped-on icing that help sweeten the bar. The overall balance of what I now refer to as the matzo bars is pretty good. The blueberry flavor has a bit more oomph to it than the strawberry version—there’s some of that slightly funky depth that one tends to associate with actual blueberries.

In short, everything’s a trade-off. Use sugar and fruit and you get a 100-calorie snack with real flavor—at the expense of heft. Seems like a fair trade.

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.