Pumpkin Product Review #2: Kashi Pumpkin Pecan Chewy Granola Bars

Courtesy of ponsuwan

According to Kashi Yoga-Shule, kashi is a Sanskrit term meant to reference the “divine inner light” that permeates at the center of all beings. How can you find it? Yoga, of course. All flippancy aside, achieving this divine inner light takes time and effort and is a predominant and useful goal of yoga enthusiasts that many of us could probably use.

For most Americans trolling through under the fluorescent lights of their nearest grocery, however, Kashi is not the divine inner light so much as it is some cardboard-tasting crap in that fancy-schmancy organic aisle—you know, the one placed discreetly next to the frozen foods, even though most of the organic, boxed products being sold there seem as though they would sell much better in the “regular” snack aisles.

In the American grocers’ defense, though, Kashi has become a more prominent fixture in the grocery within the last decade. It was the year 2002, in the middle of a Wal-Mart SuperCenter, when I first spotted two shiny, happy faces beaming obnoxiously bright smiles at me from the front of a Kashi GoLean! Crunch cereal box. As mentioned, my immediate thought was, “Wow! That is obnoxious!” Their faces, ones I remember as one older, gray-haired grandma and the other her freckled, red-haired grandson, were side-by-side hugging. Cereal was nowhere in the photo. 

Okay, so a little marketing weirdness to start, but since then, the GoLean! packaging has become much more tame—a bowl of actual cereal with some flying milk in the background, for action—but the taste is the same, and the company, despite or because of–who knows?–their constant endorsement of their “7 whole grains,” is gaining more and more shelf space. Thank goodness, too, because while I do not enjoy every Kashi product, I genuinely enjoy and am willing to pay a little more for some of their products: every one of the cereal bars, the Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies, the Peanut Peanut Butter granola bars (last one mentioned not for everyone). I don’t even know if the following statement is an unpopular notion anymore (because I’m too afraid to “get into it” with someone about eating habits and because I’m so afraid of appearing cliché), but I am wholeheartedly behind the movement to eat more foods with natural ingredients, and buying Kashi products gets me a little closer to this goal. (Yes, I know that natural does not necessarily mean great for me.)  

This is why I was really rooting for Kashi’s Pumpkin Pecan Chewy Granola Bars. They were performing as decently as a granola bar could with their nutrition. Too bad they just weren’t passing muster with their taste.

Here are the pros and cons of this bar:

Pros:

     *low in sugar, high in fiber, relatively speaking, and no saturated fat

     *warm blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and related fall flavors

     *the mix of crunch and softness appealing

     *all natural ingredients and that Kashi constant, “7 grains”; goes well with coffee–leaves a little guilty for eating this as a breakfast product

Cons:

     *nutmeg flavor is pretty strong, too strong, if you ask me

     *the pumpkin fruit layer on top is rather thick and a bit waxy

     *if you’re used to foods containing high fructose corn syrup, you’ll sense the all-natural here

     *Small in size, so I felt done before I could even acquire a good taste. To complete this review, I had to sacrifice and eat two or three (not all at once!).  

Overall grade: C+

Would I buy again?

Yes, I actually would, and here is what I’d do. I would cut these bars into thirds and pair them with a nice, strong coffee and serve them as a precursor to a breakfast or as part of a brunch. Put those little pieces on a cute plate. With all of the other stuff you have to do to prep for breakfast, this will certainly save you a little time.

Kashi, I really do love a number of your products and will continue to support your company. One I recently found and enjoy is your Dark Mocha Almond bars. Unfortunately, your Pumpkin Pecan was not for this gal.

^This product is not to be confused with their Pumpkin Spice Flax, which is even worse, quite frankly. I don’t think I finished that bar.

^^You can find Kashi products at most retail grocery stores, including Giant, Target and Whole Foods.

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