Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Nature Valley Blueberry Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares

I've covered in a recent review how Quaker Oats is a product producing machine and is actually the source of the second most amount of reviews on this blog.  Another big time, although not as big, producer in this blog's history is General Mills, of which Nature Valley is one of their products that I've hit many times on this blog.  Today, I've got another Nature Valley hit with a review of one of their new products as I take a look at this box of six Nature Valley Blueberry Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares that I was able to pick up in a crazy sale at my local Meijer for $1.88.  Each of the six bars in the box is 1.24 ounces and has 150 calories and two grams of protein.

Being that the name of this product contains that this is a soft-baked square, I guess the cat is already out of the bag on how this is going to look.  If that didn't do it though, there's also a handy picture of it on the front of the box and each individual wrapper too, so whether they intended to or not, Nature Valley left no mystery as to what this bar would look like.  Basically, it has that baked, fibrous look to it with a mix of oats and dried blueberries within the soft-baked portion of the bar.  Since that would probably be boring to look at, Nature Valley went ahead and decided to add a decorative vanilla swirl to the top of the square.  In terms of presentation, there was nothing fancy about this bar from a visual perspective.  What was quite nice from a aromatic perspective was that this square smelled strongly of blueberries and it was a nice and very appealing smell.

Biting into this provided me an unsurprising soft and chewy texture.  The blueberries inside the bar had a similar texture to raisins, so that provided some sort of moisture to break up the baked part of the bar.  What also helped add some moisture, although not a lot, was the limited amount of vanilla icing that melted within the heat of my mouth and draped over the somewhat dry soft-baked part of the bar.  In terms of flavor, this was about what I could have expected.  The soft-baked part of the bar had that grain-type taste and the blueberries were alternately sweet and tangy, although not particularly potent.  The icing was essentially unnoticeable, although I'm sure it did bring some sweetness (albeit minimal) that my brain just wasn't processing.  My only gripe here was the essentially flavorless oats did a respectable job of drying this bar out a bit, so I just wish that there was a bit more moisture in this bar.

Buy It or Fly By It?  This bar produced just like I would expect it to had enough flavor to make it edible, but that flavor was not enough to make it memorable.  That said, not all things need to be memorable and they just need to have enough going for them to make a brief, short-term positive experience.  This square did that and for that reason, I'll gladly give these a BUY IT rating.  Nothing spectacular, but a solid performer.  I would not expect anything less out of a massive food producing conglomerate like General Mills.


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