Milking It: Froot Loops Marshmallow

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Froot Loops Marshmallow Kellogg's Rating: Three and a half spoons out of four

Cereal description: Yellow, green, orange, red, purple and blue circles of "multi-grain" cereal -- meaning an amalgamation of corn, wheat and oat flour swirled together in a slather of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. (Bet fully hydrogenated vegetable oil sucks.) These bits are supplemented by four different styles of "fruit-shaped"marshmallows and, surprisingly enough, two of them -- a green lime and an orange orange -- are actually shaped like fruit. As for the other two, the bluish/purplish piece looks more like a Toyota Prius than anything organic, while the other -- a blue and red combo -- resembles Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam. Does that mean Sam is a fruit? Or is that just what the other toucans think?

Box description: The front cover features the traditional Froot Loops logo sprouting from leaves that may or may not be connected to anything; there's illustrated wood on the left side of the box, but it looks more like the wall of a rec room than a tree. The word "Marshmallow" is spelled out in a glowing gold hue despite the fact that none of the marshmallows in the box come in that color, and Toucan Sam wears a grin large enough to show off that weird humanoid tongue of his. Meanwhile, the lower right is dominated by hype for a Barbie FM radio that's "FREE" so long as you send in six tokens -- and since the tokens are specific to this offer, that means buying six boxes of Froot Loops Marshmallow. (Actually, that's not a bad idea.) The side panels are fun-free zones -- instead of the usual one, both of them are filled with nutrition information. That's overdoing healthiness, in my book. As for the back, it's all about that Barbie FM radio. Has the marketing research conducted by Kellogg's shown that Froot Loops Marshmallow primarily appeals to girls? Dunno -- but if it has, boys don't know what they're missing.

Taste: Never been the biggest fan of Froot Loops' most basic recipe. They're pleasant enough, but not as good as other long-timers, including Cocoa Krispies, Smacks and even Pops. Somehow, though, the addition of the marshmallows -- firm, crisp, sweet ones -- boosts the eating experience immeasurably, smoothing out the flavor in a way that the recently reviewed Froot Loops Smoothie style fails to do. The blend is so good that I eat the cereal and the marshmallows together, rather than saving some of the marshmallows until the end for one last burst of sugariness. Granted, Froot Loops Marshmallow isn't a new concept; Kellogg's has manufactured them for years now, although they're generally available only for limited times. In my opinion, however, they deserve to be around 24/7/365 -- and I'm hardly the only person who thinks so. I bought a box for review a couple of months ago, only to have my progeny devour it before I could ingest more than a single bowl -- and then I couldn't find more for weeks. (The same thing happened with Home Run Crunch, recipient of a previous rave in this space.) That's as good an indication of deliciousness as any.

Conclusion: Froot Loops Marshmallow is the rare sequel that's better than the original. -- Michael Roberts

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