Monday, September 2, 2013

Izumi Seika Mugi Mugi Cocoa Cereal Snack

When I was a child, my mother used to buy "Popeye's" puffed wheat and rice cereal. It came in plastic bags with a picture of Popeye smiling his bizarre grimace in the middle. Both of these cereals had several things in common. One factor was that they were very simple types of cereal. There were no heart-, clover-, or star-shaped marshmallows. They didn't turn your milk funny colors or leave a sugary sludge in the bottom of the bowl. They didn't even crunch. The primary reason my mother bought them was that they were insanely cheap. While they were also very low calorie (about 50 calories for 1-2 cups).

The Japanese aren't much for cereal. In fact, they have the puniest cereal sections you're likely to see in any developed country. I've spoken to many Japanese folks about what they eat for breakfast and why they aren't fans of cereal. Mainly, I'm told that it doesn't fill them up. You know what? They're right. Cereal doesn't fill me up either and I rarely eat it. My husband loves to eat it as a late-night snack, but I tend to just avoid it altogether.

Though the Japanese aren't eating their puffed grains cereal for breakfast, they do sometimes eat it as a snack, especially if they're still among the short pants wearing set. Enter this puffed wheat snack, which doesn't have Popeye's ugly mug on it, but it has an apparently animate stalk of wheat that is interested in enjoying a cup of cocoa.

Unlike the spinach-loving, muscle-bound sailor's puffed wheat cereal, this stuff is not low calorie. A 40-gram serving has 170 calories. It's not only the carbohydrate goodness adding much need bulk to your fat cells, but the ton of sugar and vegetable oil they add to the recipe. Not to worry though, this also includes your RDA of Sucralose so that it's sweeter without adding in more calories.

As for as snacks go, this is, essentially, chocolate cereal. The back of the bag shows that you can add milk to it or sprinkle it on ice cream. However, it's also intended to just be eaten out of the bag as a somewhat crispy, somewhat soft snack. It's lightly sweet with a mild, but appreciable cocoa flavor. It's sweet enough without being cloying so that you won't have that "icky" overly sugary feel in your mouth if you do just eat it out of the package. It also has a nice "wheaty" kick to it that adds some depth to the flavor. I like that sort of whole grain flavor, even when mixed with chocolate and sugar.

The strange thing about this product is that the manufacturer seems to have very recently terminated its confectionary division. That means that this may well have been their last foray into making chocolate cereal treats. Given that this is nothing special, I wouldn't be surprised if sales weren't over the top spectacular. The company's main deal seems to be simply selling wheat.

I liked this fine, but I wasn't over the moon about it. If I was still a kid and eating cereal, I'd be all over this compared to my bland, boring Popeye options. Since I'm not a child anymore, this is okay, but nothing to get excited about.

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