A cup of granola and a biscuit of coffee


Granola crosses the line

Clearly aware that we already have umpteen brands of granola bars in every conceivable combination of ingredients and textures, yet needing to push yet another product face or two onto the supermarket shelf, the folks at General Mills’ Nature Valley have burst into a whole new universe of possible presentations: Shape!

Yes, instead of the pleasant but boring rectangle, we are now free to select Nature Valley Granola Cups — cookie-size circles of granola with sides built up to about half an inch high, containing your choice of two fillings. There’s Peanut Butter Chocolate (peanut butter filling topped with a few peanut bits and — “dipped in” is hardly accurate; “sprayed with” might be closer — chocolate, and Almond Butter (almond butter, almond chips, no chocolate).

Now that the circle has entered the ring, so to speak, Mr. Tidbit fears that the shackles are off and we will soon see other shapes (Granola Hearts at Valentine’s Day, Granola Santas at Christmas, perhaps even Granola Dreidels at Hanukkah.


Wake up and smell the Snackwell’s


Mr. Tidbit suddenly wondered, a while ago, what had happened to Nabisco Snackwell’s Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes, the marshmallow-and-chocolate-covered cookie-size cakes that were perhaps the most prominent face of the fat-free craze of the early 1990s. He certainly hadn’t noticed them on a recent scan of the Nabisco shelf space.

Well, they hadn’t disappeared. It turns out that Mondelez, which was once part of what we used to call Kraft, which owned Nabisco, sold the Snackwell’s line in 2013 to Back to Nature Foods. Thus the Snackwell’s items are no longer positioned with the Oreos and Newtons. Armed with that knowledge, Mr. Tidbit rediscovered them on a very low shelf (at least at two stores).

And beside them was a brand-new Snackwell’s item (and the only excuse for that very long introduction). It’s Snackwell’s Biscuit Thins, in three flavors: French Vanilla Latte, Caramel Macchiato and Dark Chocolate Mocha, all “made with real coffee.”

Mr. Tidbit doesn’t know why they aren’t called “breakfast biscuits” the way so many similar products are. They follow Mr. Tidbit’s interpretation of the term — a thin, rectangular cookie-like item not quite sweet enough to be a cookie, packed in pouches of four (typically five pouches to the box).

FYI, the Caramel Macchiato version, which Mr. Tidbit bought, smells like actual coffee smells, and tastes a little like actual coffee tastes. (Give it a break! The first ingredient is whole grain oat flour.)


Al Sicherman

Author: Al Sicherman

Al Sicherman and his used dog, Gus, live in Minneapolis. Al is on the left/

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