As a BzzAgent, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to test products for free in return for spreading the word about them to others. (It's not a paid job, sadly, but a nice way to try stuff for free. Anybody interested can sign up online at www.bzzagent.co.uk) One of my most recent campaigns has been about the Tesco 'Free From' range, which has celebrated its tenth anniversary recently. There are a number of 'Free From' products available but this campaign has concentrated on the surprisingly large range of gluten free products available in Tesco stores.
Thanks to this Bzz campaign, I have had the opportunity to discover lots of brands and products that I've never come across before, including the 'Perkier' range of porridge pots. (Although some bright spark on the marketing side has decided to replace the 'i' with an exclamation mark. I'd prefer the name to be spelt using the traditional English alphabet, personally!)
The gluten free Perkier porridge is available in both 450g boxes but also comes in convenient and rather attractive single portion 65g pots. I was particularly looking forward to sampling one of the Perkier porridge pots (Fruity Berry) and thought the single helping format would appeal to my ten year old son who does enjoy a hot breakfast, even at this time of year.
Making up the porridge was really quick and easy, with clear instructions printed on the funky looking carton. There is also a helpful fill level indicator on the outside of the pot, so it was easy to add the correct amount of boiling water. It was then just a matter of stirring thoroughly and waiting for two minutes, which proved to be an accurate estimate for the time taken to turn a pot of dry powder into something hot and tasty.
During the waiting time, both my son and I were tempted by the fruity, oaty smell coming from the pot and we were already arguing about who was going to get the first taste! When we removed the lid after the allotted time, we were both a little put off by the rather unattractive grey colour of the contents. Despite the tempting smell, it doesn't look particularly appetising or appealing as it resembles papier mache with a few random flashes of colour!
Fortunately, the porridge tasted much better than it looked. The texture of the porridge was particularly surprising as it is much smoother, creamier and more palatable than brands I've tried such as Ready Brek or Quaker Oats, despite being made with just boiling water rather than milk. There were fewer hard, chewy bits and I found it much easier to eat and enjoy. The best part for me was the generous amount of fruit spread throughout the porridge - a nice mix of cranberries and raisins which helps to make a simple porridge pot that much more exciting without overpowering the porridge.
My son actually commented that he would have preferred the porridge without the berries and wanted to try another flavour from the range but here we have hit a major obstacle - the price! Nice as it was, I really can't justify paying £2 for a single (relatively small) serving of porridge and find the price pretty extortionate. The pots are currently 'on offer' at £1.50 each but even at that price, I think they are unreasonable. I would consider buying this at around the 80p-90p mark per serving but would certainly not repurchase at the full RRP, which is a shame as this is a clever, quick and very tasty product.