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.


Alicia said...

Don't forget the General Mills FIBER ONE CHEWY BARS. Peanut Butter and Oat is my my favorite, and with 9 grams of dietary fiber, they're SUPER healthy.

Aaron Sadhankar said...

I finished off a box of these last week. Definitely good stuff.

But, I'd have to say that Nature Valley Sweet & Salty is the absolute when it comes to grain bars. I regularly buy in bulk.