The Cereal Quest: White Choc Coco Pops – Day 2

The Struggle is Real

Last night when I went to bed I wanted a good sleep, after yesterday’s serving of White Chocolate Coco Pops I knew that today I would need to be in positive mood to take on the next bowl, I needed a good start to the day and ideally a traffic free trip to work to keep my spirits high.

However, at 2.00am my next door neighbour called me to tell me there was a white van and two people acting suspiciously out the front of our houses near a turned off lamp post (the council makes sure all lamp posts are off by about 11.30pm, when it gets dark and lamp posts are needed).  Half naked and slightly confused I opened the window and shouted out to them to try and find out why they were there and if they wanted to rob us (it’s always best to ask first).  Turns out they were setting up a traffic counting survey for today but for some reason choose to work in the dark of the night setting up cameras all around the village.  These people woke up me, then I woke my 2 year old when shouting out the window.  The 2 year old then wouldn’t go back to sleep for about an hour, once I got her back to sleep my 5 year old came in after having a bad dream and about 90 minutes later our 8 year old completed the set of middle of the night wake ups with a bad dream of her own.  All in all this was not the start of the day I needed.  As I type this now it is nothing short of miraculous that I am still awake and I have probably littered my writing with more typos than usual.
After navigating getting he girls to brush their teeth properly this morning without having a nervous breakdown (but threatening to never ever allow them anything sweet again), I headed to work and prepared for the day ahead.  Lunch time came, and I decided that, to put me in good spirits, I should sit in my car and play my banjolele for a bit until I felt mentally ready to tackle another bowl of White Choc Coco Pops.  Once I had nailed a Snow Patrol song at a speed akin to high speed dubbing on a cassette I was in a good place so I headed in and poured out my bowl for the day.  They are just SO BLAND.  I have cereal for lunch most days and my biggest fear is colleagues striking up a conversation in the kitchen downstairs the moment I have poured milk on.  I don’t like the taste of soggy cereal, after a while the milk starts washing away the flavour as you get near the end of the bowl.  I have on many an occasion completely ignored colleagues and walked past them and up the stairs in silence in a bid to save my cereal, the terrible timing of someone trying to start idle chit chat about goodness knows what the moment my milk is poured on happens alarmingly regularly.  It may seem rude but I have cereal to save.
Sadly, White Choc Coco Pops taste like I have been caught by a colleague and chatted for hours about weather or traffic (it’s usually about traffic) after putting the milk on.  The big issue is that I wasn’t caught by a colleague these are just dull and bland to start with.  This is going to be a tough box to get through, the general consensus online is that I am right and these are all hype no substance.
HOWEVER, I have children and I also have godchildren and both have been given some to try today, after all young people have different tastes.  My two eldest daughters both claimed they were really nice, one going as far as using the word ‘delicious’ but crucially you can’t trust their judgement because (as previously stated) both had bad dreams last night and are therefore tired and confused.  My Godson is a wonderful character, he knows a good thing when he sees it, despite being raised as an avid Bournemouth fan he decided, having seen Bournemouth get battered by Spurs, to call his guinea pigs ‘Harry’ and ‘Kane’, an act of judgement that shows he has common sense and he said that White Choc Coco Pops “just taste like Rice Krispies”.  My God-daughter is one of the cutest little things you could ever meet but I fear her cuteness has given her a judgement imbalance which resulted in her claiming “they are yummy”.  Maybe, just maybe she could be right but I will be checking back in with her to see if this feeling lasts.  I know I have another bowl waiting for me tomorrow, it’s going to need bravery, strength and perseverance.

The Cereal Quest: White Choc Coco Pops – Day 1

So, after actual years of not writing about cereals the temptation got the better of me and I have decided (possibly briefly) to continue my quest. My hand was somewhat forced by the small amount of hysteria surrounding Kelloggs launching their new “White Choc Coco Pops” and I felt duty bound to try them out to see how they taste, to see how they effect my life and if they are worth the hype.

Kelloggs have frustrated me over the last year or so. They have discontinued one of the best cereals going (Ricicles) and then, due to pressure from people who think they know better but obviously haven’t done as much cereal research as me, they changed the recipe of one of their most popular cult cereals, Coco Pops. As a father of 3 young children of course I appreciate it is important for them to be healthy, but I also know that one of my fundamental rights as a parent is knowing that I can choose whether or not to buy them Coco Pops if I am worried about the sugar content. Unfortunately the recipe change on Original Coco Pops has had a terrible effect on the taste of them and as such I don’t enjoy them half as much as I used to. I have spent quite a while sampling own brand supermarket alternatives for Coco Pops and can confirm Lidl’s ‘Choco Rice’ is by far the closest to the original Coco Pops recipe (thank me later). This isn’t just me being miserable, if you search “Coco Pops Recipe” on Twitter you will find very few glimpses of positivity and the few glimpses you will find are likely to be from Kelloggs themselves, here are just a few that capture the feelings towards their new Coco Pops recipe with 30% less sugar.  Some people seem as angry at me but most are not taking it out on Kelloggs themselves, some are shouting at thin air, some are livid with Jamie Oliver who doesn’t even work at Kelloggs and some are angry with the big guy.

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I particularly enjoyed the one-upmanship between Coco Pop recipe activists here:

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To put things in horrific context there are more positive tweets about Nigel Farage than there are about the new Coco Pops recipe.

BUT…….today is a new day, these are a new cereal (that surprisingly state ’30% less sugar’ proudly on the box as if they existed before) and as such they should be given a fair trial (and it will be a trial). I had a busy morning unloading a container and getting rained on (the perfect combination) and was excited for my lunch break, safe in the knowledge that my lunch break would consist of driving to Asda, meeting my dear friend and finding some White Choc Coco Pops.

However, just before I headed out I got delayed when I received a lovely scam phone call from someone in a very busy call centre who was calling from, and I quote, “the google”, he needed us to verify our (non existent) account urgently, I very much enjoyed telling him I didn’t believe he was calling from ‘the google’ and that we don’t have any dealings with ‘the google’, he was a persistent individual who said that I must know who ‘the google’ were. I did not.  Anyway, after this brief disruption it was time to head out and try to find some of the new White Choc Coco Pops.

Once in to Asda I spotted two stands in the distance proudly displaying all the White Choc Coco Pops graphics, after a mild panic my good friend spotted there was one box left, the social media hype has clearly worked and they had sold well.  With box in hand I headed back to work to try them.

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Appearance wise they look just like sticky Rice Krispies (another cereal Kelloggs have recipe bodged in the past year, don’t get me started), smell wise they are very similar to original Rice Krispie squares, so far not getting much of the ‘white choc’.  Once I’d poured the perfect amount of milk in to the bowl (something I feel I am an expert in and would willingly help others with through paid training sessions) headed upstairs to my desk excitedly to tuck in.  I’ll be honest that’s where the excitement stopped, I’ve not had an disappointment like this since my ‘Abibas’ shoes started to perish.  The best way to sum up the disappointment is that if you were blindfolded and I asked you what flavour they were meant to be you would never guess white chocolate.  They taste like a non-sweet watered down marshmallow flavour.  There is a reason why confectioners, cereal manufacturers and other food producers don’t make ‘non-sweet watered down marshmallow’ flavoured items.  They were so bland, so dull and sound so much better than they actually are, I would be amazed if they stayed on the shelf for more than a limited time period.  Imagine replacing Ricicles with these, who in their right mind makes that decision AND gets paid for it.  My goodness me Kelloggs, for goodness sake. I will be interested in looking up repeat sales date for this, I’ll have to try ‘the google’ to find out.

I’ll admit to struggling with a taste comparison for White Choc Coco Pops but I’ll try. Sometimes my daughter wants a cupcake, if she is good she might get a cupcake, if she gets a cupcake the reality is she will lick/bite off all the nice icing and leave the chewed at dribbled on thin cake bit at the bottom and ask if I want it, the level of excitement that dribbled on manky bit of cake gives me is very similar to the excitement I am feeling about having these for lunch again tomorrow.

I will give White Choc Coco Pops a chance, I have plenty more in the box, tomorrow is another day.  I would be interested to see how others feel but they feel like mutton dressed as lamb, weakly flavoured white chocolate lamb.