July 25h: Otsuka Calorie Mate Chocolate Block

Kcal 400 Fat 22.4g Carbs 40.0g (per 80.0g)

I have reviewed some pretty weird things in the last two years but hands down this has to be the oddest product of them all. Coming all the way from Japan courtesy of J-List I today got to try a product called 'Calorie Mate' - 'a nutritionally balanced source of the energy needed for daily activities'. According to the on-pack blurb Calorie Mate is 'suited for people on-the-go who need an easy source of energy and nutrition-at breakfast, work, sports, study or any bus time'. Despite my first thoughts being that anyone who didn't have enough time to eat in their lives should have a long hard think about their work-life balance, the whole concept had me a little intrigued.

The total Calorie Mate package weighed in at 80.0g which included two inner packet servings. To say the presentation was unglamourous would be an understatement. As I am sure you can see above the outer packaging simply consisted of a yellow cardboard board box with what looked like some design work constructed using Microsoft Word. The fonts looked uncompelling and basic, whilst the packaging lacked an visuals of what was inside ... utterly dismal. The inner packets were a little more impressive and were made of a nice branded foil material. Half the intrigue of this product was what the actual product was and once I had removed all the layers all was revealed. Inside the foil wrappers were biscuits that looked rather like shortbread fingers. They looked like they should have a sweet, biscuit smell though in reality they had an unfitting savoury wheat smell... a bit like Jacobs crackers!

To me the whole point of this product seemed for it to be a meal replacement one, so in the true spirit of a fair review I replaced my usual lunch time meal with the full Calorie Mate package. It was out with tuna baguette and in with these chocolate flavoured biscuits ... what a mistake this turned out to be. I don't really know where to start with these as they didn't tick any of the boxes of taste, texture or hunger fulfilment. They tasted like cardboard ... something that I not too often snack on :) but I think you get my drift! They biscuits were bland and lifeless in terms of flavour. They looked like shortbread yet had none of the taste. Where as I was expecting a buttery, brown sugar and salt hinted biscuit I simply got a dull, watered down malt taste that had nothing chocolaty about it whatsoever ... it was about as exciting as your nan's 97th birthday party. Perfectly complimenting this wonderful taste (sarcasm to the extreme) ... was the truly wonderfully inviting texture (sarcasm to the extreme x2). They felt truly woeful and were reminiscent of polystyrene with a dry crumbliness that seemed to suck every drop of moisture from my mouth. Just to top this all off despite managing to consumer 400 calories in just four quite small sized biscuits I still felt about as hungry as I did before I had the displeasure of eating them.

Overall to say I wouldn't ever consume these again even if I was paid would be an understatement. I think a score of 2.0 for both taste, texture and sustenance says it all ... they would have had got 1.0 had it not been due to the fact they were actually edible. For starters I don't understand the product ... who on earth would want to consume a meal in the form of four biscuits - even if you wanted to put on weight there are far more enjoyable ways of doing so and if your too busy to eat then why the hell are you reading this website :) Couple my lack of understanding for the product with the fact that they presented badly and tasted woeful pretty much sums up where I am at with my mind with Calorie Mate. Does it have novelty value!? Possibly! Is it worth trying in regards to be a nice snack!? I don't think I need to answer that! You can buy Calorie Mate from J-List here ... why on earth you would want do I do not know!

2.8 out of 10