One of the benefits of being a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher is that you occasionally get to try new foods.
A few months ago, Mother's Cookies folded and their beloved cookies gradually started disappearing from store shelves. One of these casualties happened to be the Circus Animal cookies. I have loved these cookies since I was a child so I was a bit disheartened to hear this news. Soon, however, we heard that Kellogg's had purchased the recipes and rights to these Circus Animal cookies (I am unclear about other types of Mother's Cookies recipes). Foodbuzz sent an email out to their Featured Publishers to see who would want to sample the cookies. I, of course, jumped at the chance!
On Friday, I received a package:
There was a note of explanation and promotion from Foodbuzz:
The first thing I noticed was the packaging. It was more foil-based than plastic-based. It was flimsier than Mother's Cookies packaging. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it's just an observation.
At first glance, the cookies did look similar to how they have always looked.
Ah ha! But I had an ace up my sleeve... I had a package of the Halloween Mother's Cookies Circus Animal cookies in my pantry! True, the "best by" date was sometime in March but, hey, they were unopened so I figured they'd be a good comparison. I wasn't saving them specifically for this moment; they just happened to not get consumed yet.
Let's compare ingredients and nutrition information, shall we?
First, the original ingredients:
Now, for the new ingredients (Kellogg's forgot the eggs!):
Minor differences, to be sure. The same goes for nutrition information. First, the original:
Now, the new nutrition information:
I believe this next photo sums it up. The new cookie is on the left and the original is on the right.
Reactions from the family.
First, Mr. Mary Cooks:
The frosting seemed thicker on the new cookies but the cookie seemed thinner and harder/crunchier. Not good. The frosting on the new cookie seemed more artificial, if that's possible. I've never been a really big fan of Circus Animals but it took the new cookies to make me realize the old ones were animal crackers with frosting. The new ones are like the plastic sushi you see on display; it looks delicious but you really wouldn't want to eat it.
Now, the middle child (boy, age 9):
The new are worse. The old are better. The old are the best ones because they have just the right amount of sprinkles and cracker and frosting on them.
The teenager (boy, age 18):
I like the old ones. I like how they're thicker, they're not as crumbly. The new ones seem kind of crumbly. I like the flavor of the old ones. It tastes like they changed something.
The preschooler (girl, age 3):
Mary Cooks: Did you like the old cookies or the new cookies?
Girl: Blank stare.
Mary Cooks: Did you like the orange cookies or the pink cookies?
Girl: The pink ones?
Mary Cooks: Why?
Girl: Because they're pink. I love pink!
The new version does indeed seem more artificially flavored. There's a weird aftertaste and coating that happened to the roof of my mouth after eating the new version. They also seem to taste sweeter than the old version. Definitely overly sweet. Ugh.
Verdict? I think I'll pretend they are no longer, sadly. Sorry, Kellogg's. I'll still buy your products but I won't be buying Circus Animals any longer.