Over the past two weeks I have seen Enjoy Life Foods product reviews popping up on various gluten free blogs. By The Bay, Lynn from Free to Eat, and Mike’s Gluten Free Blog all reviewed a few of the products. I too was excited to receive a package of gluten free goodies from Enjoy Life foods recently. When they contacted me, they mentioned the less than favorable review I had given their granola in this post. Apparently they had reformulated their granola and wanted me to give it another shot, while trying some of their other products.
As I’ve said before I don’t waste the money or calories on gluten free products that are not as good as the original. There are too many delicious naturally gluten free foods to focus on what I can’t have unless a craving just takes over. That said, I am always excited to find something like the Bakery on Main Granola that tastes as good if not better than many gluten filled granolas.
I gathered two gluten eating friends, Kristen and Abby, to help me assess the Enjoy Life products. I’ll start with the products we truly “enjoyed.” The “Not Nuts” trail mix is really fantastic. Abby, Kristen and I couldn’t get enough of it. It has a great combination of seeds and dried fruit. It’s just savory enough with a hint of sweetness from the dried fruit. Yum!
The mini chocolate chips were another hit. They loved the small chips and really liked the chocolate flavor. The only suggestion we had was that it might be useful to have a resealable bag similar to the one used for the “Not Nuts” trail mix. How frequently do you use a whole bag of chips? (I agree and would love all of my baking chips to come in a resealable package)
Enjoy Life makes a number of different types of cookies. We sampled the Snickerdoodles. These were delicious. Abby said “Wow, these are something I would eat for pleasure.” Kristen noted that “you don’t miss the gluten and they are nice and soft.” The only complaint was the limited number of cookies in the actual package.
We didn’t have quite as much success with the rest of the products. The plain bagels and the Caramel Apple Snackbars were not loved but we did manage to finish them off over the course of the week.
The bagels are smaller and denser than the beautiful gluten filled NY bagels I would buy at Essa bagel or at a great bakery in Brooklyn. I would compare the “Enjoy Life” versions to the frozen “Lender’s” bagels I had growing up in California. Toasted or warmed in the microwave is definitely the best way to eat these (a common trait with gluten free baked goods). Neither Abby or Kristen liked the Cinnamon raisin bagels. I didn’t mind them but I wouldn’t buy them on a regular basis.
The Caramel Apple Snackbars have no hint of caramel, but they taste good, like a slightly denser apple muffin. As Kristen put it “I had one last night and today I brought one with me to work if that tells you anything.”
The two items I can’t recommend are the Very Berry Snackbars and the Cranapple Crunch Granola. Despite the reformulation of the granola, we found it lacking in flavor. Abby and Kristen’s comments ranged from “no flavor, like sawdust” to “eew, bad after taste” or “It’s like they are trying to cover up cardboard with craisins.” I think that Enjoy Life could improve their granola by integrating some of the seeds and dried fruit from the trail mix with less of a focus on the brown rice and beet fiber.
The Very Berry Snackbars received a similar reaction. “Not sweet or savory – they have a weird crunch.” “Not good but not completely disgusting.” They reminded me of the bars you used to find in the pre-Whole Foods era, when health food stores had that weird medicinal smell to them.
I have to give Enjoy Life credit for reaching out to the blogosphere to get feedback on their products (and of course PR). I am glad that they are working to constantly improve their offerings. The fact that they are able to make many delicious foods “allergen free” is much appreciated. I know some of the other bloggers had different opinions on the same products – that’s one of the beautiful things about this world, the variety of tastes and outlooks just make the experience that much richer.