Last week, my desk was covered with bags of Cape Cod Popcorn. This week, it was another comforting snack — pouches of Granola Nut Clusters, a new item from granola bar pioneer Nature Valley. The product, which is offered in four different flavors, comes in 5-ounce resealable bags for a reasonable price ($3.79). But were the nut clusters everything they'd been cracked up to be? The final answer is after the jump
Honey Roasted Peanut: Our favorite of the tasting, with oversized, salty peanuts and a pleasant honey flavor.
Roasted Almond: One taster who regularly eats Nature Valley's granola bars claimed this variety most resembled the taste of the bars. It was studded with whole, glazed almonds.
Nut Lovers: Designed for those who can't choose between cashews, pecans, and peanuts, these clusters didn't have a particularly pronounced flavor of anything.
Roasted Cashew: We immediately detected a funky, slightly processed taste with this flavor, which was voted least favorite. It contained mostly puffed rice and broken shards of cashews.
Although they're marketed as similar items, the nut clusters have a remarkably different taste compared to the brand's granola bars. While the bars are composed of oats, the clusters are primarily puffed rice, only displaying the occasional oat. The hockey puck-shaped clusters aren't as sweet as the bars — although they still taste cloying — and contain more nuts. They're much more manageable to snack on, as it's virtually impossible to break off a piece of the bars without creating a mess. But they're less satisfying, and, at over 600 calories per bag, far from healthy. Next time, we'll stick to the better-tasting bars, or a simple bag of nuts.
Have you seen these at the store? If you've sampled them, what did you think?