Click on this picture to see a bigger one that will allow you to read all of the ingredients clearly.
Calorie Mate is one of those things which nearly everyone who has been in Japan is aware of, and thanks to a video game appearance even those who are not in Japan may have heard of it. I'm not so sure that everyone who has seen it has tried it. I know that I had no inclination to sample it until I started this blog.
I've never been 100% sure of what the point of Calorie Mate is supposed to be, but I've always guessed that it is meant to balance people's bad eating habits by offering them a couple little fortified blocks. One of the reasons I never saw the appeal was that they aren't low calorie as a snack at 100 calories per cookie, and I eat fairly decently anyway and don't feel the need to eat this type of thing to balance my life nutritionally.
The Calorie Mate web site emphasizes nutritional balance and even provides a chart of the number of calories, amount of protein, fat, vitamins, etc. that an adult needs to maintain weight and health. For the record, the calorie count that Japanese men require according to the site is 2,650 and women need 2,050. I believe that the bars are supposed to be considered possible meal replacements if you are trying to cut calories in addition to being used as supplements if you feel you need more nutrients.
Calorie Mate is often sold in convenience stores and drug stores in Japan for around 150 yen ($1.67). I got mine from a huge display of health food cookies and bars at Tomod's drug store. Most of the other items were variations on granola bars and whole grain cookies.
There are quite a few flavors of Calorie Mate available including fruit, cheese, chocolate, and this maple version. I chose maple because I wanted to buy a variety that my husband would be willing to try. Each cookie is 7 cm x 4.25 cm x 2 cm (2.8 in. x 1.7 in. x .8 in.) and there are 4 of them in the box. They smell strongly of maple and, well, general cookie smell. The cookies are very dry and crumbly and have a decent, though rather artificial, maple flavor. They're like a poor quality shortbread cookie. Occasionally, there are fragments of what appear to be nuts in the cookie which isn't surprising since almonds are one of the ingredients.
For what they are, these are pretty good. I wouldn't be doing cartwheels over them or selecting to have one rather than a real cookie or an authentic treat. That being said, if you want to have something cookie-like which is healthier or at least less unhealthy, these are enjoyable both in texture and in taste.
Note that there are a lot of Calorie Mate commercials on YouTube featuring Kiefer Sutherland. Since "24" is so popular in Japan, they love to show him in his headset being frantic about something or other and then having some Calorie Mate product. Here's one commercial: