Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cheerio Mega 700 Lemon

There's an episode of Seinfeld about a Pakistani restaurant owner who occupies a space near Jerry's apartment that seems to doom anyone who does business there to fail. The location seems practically cursed. I've got a few places near my apartment that similarly seem to suffer that problem. It doesn't matter who sets up shop or what sort of place they open, they close down in a year or so. Walking by these places always makes me feel a little sad. This feeling was dredged up when I bought this bottle of "Cheerio", despite the names connotations of "cheer", happy goodbyes, and breakfast cereal.

Bottles of Cheerio drink sat in a cardboard box outside of the local convenience store for months as I walked by the shop. The number of unpurchased bottles never seemed to go down so I'm guessing nearly no one bought any, or the store had every nook and cranny of its storage space filled with more of it. It's a mark of the power of the tendency to anthropomorphize that I felt sorry for the company that made this as its product was neglected by consumers.

The manufacturer is Cheerio Corporation. It's interesting that a relatively minor beverage maker has an English Wikipedia entry when some bigger companies do not. I expected to have to mine the Japanese Wikipedia site for more on them, but my life was made a bit easier. Apparently, this company's drinks are available in a limited area for the most part and that's why I was unfamiliar with them despite my many years of shopping in Tokyo.

I finally gave in and bought a bottle of this when some of it was moved into the refrigerated section of the store rather than parked outside. I also noticed that it had "calorie off" written on it and only has 16 calories per 100 ml. The bottle is huge at 700 ml, so it's 112 calories if you drink it all at once. The first ingredient is "grape sugar", but this is also sweetened with Acesulfame K and fortified with Vitamin C. My guess is this is marketed at the same people who purchase C.C. Lemon.

I didn't know if this was carbonated or not when I bought it, but it turns out that it is not. It smells lemony, but the scent is not powerful. The flavor is mild and close to "lemon water" or weak lemonade rather than a lemon drink. It's pleasant and light, but not sour and lacks a citric acid bite. I think that the type of people who like to have water with a slice of lemon would really enjoy this, and I thought it tasted fine. The main issue for someone like me is that I like stronger flavors. With lemon in particular, I'd like some sourness with my lemon and prefer some more acidity. I think that, had this been carbonated, I might have liked it more as is.

I wouldn't say this isn't worth trying. I actually think it is quite fine. It's just a little bit on the bland side for my tastes. I would buy it again if I were in the mood for something really mild and light, but that tends not to happen very often with me so I'm rather indifferent to it.


Anonymous said...

Well.. when I first saw the title I got all excited thinking "Cheerio's" finally made it to the local supermarket... = (

I'm a CC lemon fan, the more sour, the better for me and the bubbly that burns my throat... LOVE it.

This is a first for me seeing this as well.

Sandy said...

Despite the amazing variety of drinks one can get at any conbini in Japan, I'm always surprised at the comparative lack of "diet" or "zero' drinks! One of my favourite drinks is Calpis, so I was really over the moon when I discovered Calpis Zero! And recently I tried Ume-flavoured Calpis Zero..yummy! But seriously how can it have no calories??? Even the articial sweeteners and flavouring have *some* calories right??

Orchid64 said...

April Marie: There as a Cheerios knock-off in the stores a few years ago. I can't remember the name of it. My husband just bought a huge box of Cheerios from the FBC though, so you can get it here if you can manage to eat a ton of it fast enough. ;-) Thanks for your comment!

Hi, Sandy, and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I also wonder how the flavorings, especially when juice is involved, can be calorie-free! Oddly, I haven't seen the regular Calpis in its "zero" incarnation. I've only found the grape as a zero! I'll review the regular stuff if it shows up in my area!