The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Breakfast cereal is not a regular thing in my life. My idea of a breakfast is a greasy full English with strong black coffee, and a glass of orange juice on the side as a concession to healthy eating. If I can't have that, then I'll eat any old rubbish on the train to work.
Every so often, I feel guilty about this approach to life, as with every other meal of the day, my diet is unrecognisable from the slobby student I used to be. And so I buy some cereal, leave it in the cupboard until it's almost out of date because I always forget to buy enough milk, and then, eventually eat it. Often from a mug, so I can pretend it's coffee.
Anyway, this week, I thought I'd buy Multi-Grain Start, the first time I'd tried it.
Kellogg's Multi-Grain Start
Yet another cereal from the Big Brother of breakfast foods, Kellogg's. John Kellogg discovered the cornflake in the late 19th Century, and was, I think it's fairly safe to say, a bit of an odd man. Watch The Road to Wellville (1994) where Anthony Hopkins plays the enema-obsessed inventor, if you want to find out more about the man.Start has been knocking around since the 1980s, a breakfast cereal that will apparently boost your sports performance, if you believe the promotions. Now, while I recently gave sports drinks a qualified thumbs up for being of potential use to serious sportspeople, I can't take these claims at all seriously for a breakfast cereal.
Nevertheless, Start, now in groovy multi-grain variety, has lots of odd pictures of sporty stickmen all over the box. This makes it look like a child's ICT project from about 1996, daubed with dodgy clip-art and using too many fonts. Even a design dunce like me knows you shouldn't use that many fonts on something.
Thinking Inside the Box
Once you've got into the inner bag, Multi-Grain Start consists of little kind of pretzel shaped cornflakey things. Stick them in a bowl and add milk to them and they retain a decent crunch for more than long enough to eat them. They don't go soggy too quickly, in other words.
Flavourwise? I have to be honest, I found them pretty unremarkable. It's kind of all in the crunch. They have that kind of cornflake flavour (even though there doesn't seem to be any actual corn in them, see below!) but I couldn't detect any honey or anything like that in there. The crunch is good though.
Taste Test Plus. Following the prompting of one reader, I thought I'd give the old taste test another go. I must admit it's been a while since I've had cornflakes, but the flavour did at first remind me of that old breakfast standby. The chap was right, though, in addition to the very groovy crunch, which provides most of the eating sensation, there is a sort of tart sweetness to the cereal, which I guess comes down to the sugar glaze (although this is not as pronounced as in, say, Frosties ). I'm still not tasting much hint of the honey and stuff, and overall the cereal has a kind of deeper flavour than cornflakes, beneath the sweet high notes. I'm still not hugely convinced that the flavour is anything to shout about though. Perhaps it's being masked by the ice-cold milk I've sloshed over the bowl.
Eugh, tasting one dry is not a pleasant experience. Kind of sticky and brittle and... yeah, stick with the ice-cold milk!
Onwards!The actual ingredients are as follows, or at least the major ones are:
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole Oat Flour
Maize Germ Oil
After that it tails off into stuff about vitamins and riboflavin. Riboflavin sounds as though it should be a Doctor Who character, so I approve of it. Yay. On the vitamin front, Kellogg's reckon that a bowl of this stuff will provide about a third of your recommended daily vitamin intake (RDA). That kind of claim is checked very thoroughly by trading standards people, so I can't quibble it.I also can't take issue with the idea that it delivers energy through combining simple and complex carbohydrates, mostly because I don't know enough about nutritional matters.
What bothers me is the clear implication that a particular breakfast cereal can help you become better at sport. If you actually look at those ingredients, there isn't anything really startlingly different from a dozen other whole grain or multi-grain products. I think it's like Special K, which probably can help you lose weight if you eat two bowls a day, but only because that's two meals where you're not eating cream buns deep-fried in butter.
They also contain a lot of sugar, but I did find myself adding extra from time to time to improve the flavour, which I don't think is a great sign on the health front...
Who should eat this stuff?
It's suitable for vegetarians, but obviously not for coeliacs, and I'm sure I've seen a 'may contain nuts' thing on the label, so probably best avoid it if you have a nut allergy as well. It's pretty ordinary stuff, so I can't see kids getting particularly excited by it (and there's rarely any free gifts either). If you're a fairly unfussy eater and you want to get some basic cereal to start your day, you could do a lot worse than this.
Obviously, the main selling point for the cereal is its alleged role in boosting sports performance, but I just don't buy this claim. If I want a high carb breakfast for a slow release of energy throughout the morning, I eat a banana, and so do many of my fellow commuters.
All in all
Start, multi-grain or otherwise, is a pleasant enough cereal which could be a good choice for anyone seeking a bit of variety from Cornflakes or Shredded Wheat or whatever. I remain sceptical that it is any better for sports performance than any other dry cereal, but you could certainly do a lot worse than get a box of this stuff. Expect to pay between £1.50 and £2.00 for a 375g packet, which I estimate will last one person about 10 days.