How special K?

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 2, 2011 - 2:03 PM

Special K cracker chips

Mr. Tidbit isn't much of a snack-chip guy, so he doesn't know whether Kellogg's new Special K Cracker Chips are unique, but he'd say they resemble thick Pringles, but they are baked, not fried, so they are much lower in fat.

That said, it's been a while since he last ranted about Kellogg's overuse of its Special K brand. So:

The first Special K product -- and surely the one most commonly pictured when Special K is mentioned -- is Special K Cereal, the original flavor of which is enriched (that's what's "Special" about it) with 35 percent or more of the daily value of nine vitamins and minerals (including 100 percent of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid) and smaller amounts of four others and 6 grams of protein per serving. There are now nine flavor variants of that cereal, seven with just 2 grams of protein, only 35 percent of the daily value of B6, B12 and folic acid and other smaller differences. Two other Special K cereals are quite different, but neither equals the original's nutrition profile.

Mr. Tidbit finds that variability among Special K cereals annoying, but what really frosts his pumpkin is Kellogg's indiscriminate use of the Special K brand on a wide variety of other products. Some ("meal bars" and especially "protein shakes") are in the same league nutritionally as the cereals, but most (cereal bars, snack bars, "protein water mixes," fruit crisps and crackers) range from a few enhancements at 20 percent of the daily value, down to the fruit crisps and crackers -- the best of which reports only one mineral: 6 percent of the daily value of iron.

And the new Special K Cracker Chips? They too have just one boast: 2 percent of the daily value of iron.

Isn't that Special?

A reminder

Dear friends: Friday would have been my son Joe's 40th birthday. He died in a seven-story fall from his college dorm room in Madison, Wis., in 1989. He had taken LSD; he was 18.

Hug your kids.

AL SICHERMAN

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