The editor asked that I compare Sugar Pops® and Sugar Smacks® in some sort of fashion dictated by my experience as an artist. While being an artist is not a pre-requisite for judging/comparing cereals, I do have the advantage of hailing from a City that is home to Quaker Oats as well as General Mills. This compounded by the fact that cereal was the fuel that allowed me to sit through hours of cartoons every Saturday morning DOES qualify me to at least compare and compress these two products.
Sugar Pops would have to be the choice if I had a gun to my head between the two. The Smacks were something that didn’t differ much from Super Sugar Crisp. In a blindfolded taste test, one could not tell the difference between them, but that is neither here nor there, so for the sake of clarity I will refer only to the Smacks.
Something about the Sugar Pops beckons me. The light yellow colour and the way the milk renders them slightly slimy is a delight for the taste buds. No surprises here. The structure and physical design of the individual Pops are simple and unassuming, and for this reason, the impact of their flavor is somewhat of a surprise given their bland appearance.
Sugar Smacks on the other hand – It seems those things appeared in the cupboard frequently, leading me to believe that they didn’t cost nearly as much as the Sugar Pops. My father instilled in me this clever trick in which one can generate revenue by not buying stuff, or stocking up on items that the store was “giving away” at the lowest possible price. Pretty good training for someone falling into the lifestyle of an artist, but slightly disappointing as a cereal munching youth. Why? Because the Sugar Smacks resemble some kind of intrusive insect. They are small oval shaped nuggets, brown in colour, and peppered with these little spots – once again, like some sort of insect. If anyone out there, such as I, has ever gotten half-way through a bowl of cereal only to look down and see half a cockroach kicking around in your bowl, you know the horror of a cereal box infestation. Sugar Smacks tend to look like a whole bowl full of these little critters. Much smaller than the brown German variety of interlopers I have done battle with, but still – They just set off this memory in me.
The flavor of Sugar Smacks is nothing to write home about either. They do have ample sugar in them, I will grant them that, and in a pinch, yes – I would often partake of the Smacks, be it when they where the only choice up in the cupboard. Land of the Lost without a bowl of cereal, ANY kind of cereal, would just be unnatural, so in this case the Smacks would do. Sugar Smacks are a cousin of puffed rice, which is marketed as a sort of breakfast cereal, but without sugar. This makes them even more insidious than Sugar Pops because without the sugar element, they resemble small beads of styrofoam in one’s mouth. Sugar Pops, on the other hand, are made of corn. The other brand (Kellogs I believe) of Sugar Pops are marketed under the name “Corn Pops”, to codify this observation. Corn just has a natural sweet flavor (unless it’s the kind you feed to pigs) and rice, well… rice needs a little dressing up. While both cereals do rely heavily on sugar, the Sugar Pops just come off a bit more attractive, tastier, and less intimidating.