Tuesday, March 27, 2007
There's a new kid in the valley
Pretty much for a good chunk of my life, I couldn't understand people's obsession with peanut butter. Don't get me wrong, I liked peanut butter, I liked peanut butter and jam sandwiches, I liked all peanut butter versions of chocolate bars, all peanut butter sweets - but I was never like "Man, peanut butter is soooo great". There was always this thick gross feeling when eating it. And the thing is, I really think this obsession with peanut butter is a relatively new thing (or at least publicly). I never remember as a kid people saying "I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER. I COULD EAT IT ALL DAY". Yet, in the last 5 years or so, I hear that statement or variations thereof all the time. Maybe it's the fact that I entered University within the last 5 years where people seem to revert to the simple pleasures in life.
But somewhere along the line - I fell into that group of people. I can actually pinpoint the moment. It was last summer when I was helping a couple of my friends with their wedding. I was in the basement helping with a slideshow when the groom to be, my buddy Jeff, came down eating a piece of peanut butter toast. He offered it to me, but I was deep immersed inside my work, so at the time I refused. But from that second on, all day, I was thinking about eating peanut butter toast. There's something when you see someone else enjoy a good piece of food that triggers something. Anyway, it must have been that night or the morning after- where I had myself a piece of peanut butter toast- and boom, I was hooked. That summer, back in my non-exercise days, I was eating so much peanut butter toast it was nuts. (pun definitely intended, actually it wasn't intended when I typed it but then I realized it).
So, through my love of peanut butter (chunky of course), I got hooked on Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars. These are great! They're a welcome change from the traditional quaker granola bars. They're really full bars - like you really feel like you're eating a lot when you eat these things. If you haven't tried them, and you don't experience anaphylaxis when someone cracks a peanut, you have to jump on this bandwagon. Yes, life for Nature Valley it would seem is going pretty well. They've kicked ye' ol' Quaker Granola in the @$$.
Or have they.
It would also seem that Quaker has taken notice of the success of these NVCPBB (yes, the name is that long that they merit an acronym - feel free to use this is your msn conversations)., because quaker has released they're own crunchy peanut butter bar. The verdict? Pretty damn good.
The new Quaker bars are smaller - but that can be a good thing - sometimes you don't want something as full as a Nature Valley bar. The other plus, is that I think they contain about 100 less calories. That's pretty good. The other major advantage? Well, they're a helluva lot less messy than the NVCPBBs. I've, in the last couple of months, perfected the art to eating a NVCPBB without ending up with a haystack size pile of crumbs. But nonetheless - it's a messy bar. With quaker's, nope. Disadvantages? Well, there's a lot more peanut butter taste with Nature Valley. Rather than a peanut butter taste, NV bars feel like they're lathered in actual peanut butter. And again, the size issue. If you want a heartier bar, go for Nature Valley.
So Quaker has for sure introduced a worthy contender to the NVCPBB that's not just a rip-off. It has its place in the market for sure. It definitely has my approval. It's hard to say which one I like better - but I'd have to say the quality of Nature Valley's bar is higher. Be sure to try them both. Also of note are the new Nutri-Grain sweet and salty bars - quite good for sure. Now, I haven't tried the Nature Valley sweet and salty bars (that is, NVS&SB), but I've heard some good things. Anyway, good work Quaker. You've proven that you can't be just pushed around by the new guy. Thanks for reading.
Appendix A: How to Properly Eat a Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar: The Crumb-Free Method
1. With the package of 2 bars still sealed, break the bars into thirds - so in total you'll have 6 segments.
2. Open the package along the seam so when laid horizontally with the label facing down, it acts as a bowl.
3. Pick out the bite-size segments leaving the crumblings in the bowl wrapper.
4. Eat the entire bite-size segment (do not nibble at it)
5. Rinse, lather, repeat.