Review: Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch & Awkward Mondays: Buying Generic/Non-Brand Name Goods

Junk Food Nation, I have an admission to make: I buy generic, non-brand things at the store.

I was having a conversation with some friends of mine over the weekend, and I mentioned that I buy plenty of generic things, and I got the most incredulous looks!  It was all in good fun, but it got me thinking: is there anything wrong with the generic crap I buy?

I guess it really depends on what the item is, but I think the emergence of huge superstores and places like Costco and Sam’s Club have made buying generic, or store-brand, more commonly accepted and less frowned upon, no?  I mean, Trader Joe’s brand frozen foods are awesome, I have no qualms using Kirkland (Costco brand) paper towels, and I will buy Safeway-brand bran flakes every day of the week. They’re bran flakes, for cryin’ out loud!  Am I really gonna feel awkward about that???

So the following are some things I buy that are generic/no name/off brand.  YOU tell ME if I’m a weirdo:

1. PAPER PRODUCTS: tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins – I’ll buy whatever is the best deal, and here’s why: if you get stuff that’s TOO expensive, you ends up with paper goods that are SO fine quality and SO soft that it feels like cloth and DOESN’T ABSORB ANYTHING.  Of course, you go too cheap, and you have crap all over your hands. Literally.  Costco is my go-to here, and I haven’t had problems.

2. CONTACT SOLUTION: it’s saline, people.  I contend there is NO difference between the $12 bottle of Bausch and Lomb stuff and my $2.50 bottle from Walmart.  NONE.  And even the multi purpose solution ISN’T getting my contacts as clean as they could be overnight – I toss the contacts away every two weeks anyways!  WIN WIN.  Seriously, contact solution is a big racket.  Selling me salt water for my eyes?  Please.

3. RECIPE INGREDIENTS: if I’m making a pot of chili, I’m not buying name-brand kidney beans, or corn, or any other ingredient.  When I slow cook it for twelve hours, I’m changing the item from its original state anyways, so what do I care how the canned tomatoes tasted on their own??  The supermarket canned veggies are FINE.  Yeah, maybe there’s a severed finger or a piece of plastic in there once in a while, but I’ll do anything to save…80 cents.

4. DRYER SHEETS: Safeway brand fabric softener dryer sheets all the way!  In all honesty, maybe I should get name brand here – my clothes have so much static cling sometimes they can power a flux capacitor (sorry, it was on TBS last night).

That’s just a small sampling, but I buy cheap-o cooking spray, plastic forks/spoons, hand sanitizer, hand soap, milk, heavy cream, cereal, and shampoo ALL THE TIME.  Am I weird? You tell me.  And c’mon: I know YOU buy off brand stuff too!  Tell me about it in the comments below!  It’s ok, we all know its a bad economy – what kinds of no name stuff do YOU indulge in?

Meanwhile, today’s junk food: Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch!!

Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch: The Money Shot

Peanut Butter & Co. has been really good to me, and recently they mailed me some of their peanut butters and this Corny Crunch to review.  At first, I have to be honest – I was like, “Corny Crunch? Is this like Crackerjack?  LAME.” I was hating big-time on this junk food.  I figured this was no different than any other candy coated popcorn.

Well, I was WRONG.

This box has 840 calories!

Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch has a standard caloric count, and is described on the Peanut Butter & Co. website as “This peanut butter caramel popcorn with peanuts is sweet, salty and oh so nutty. When you crave the crunch, this snack makes the best munch!”  Does snack food require such silly ad copy? Maybe.

Nice change of pace

The Peanut Butter & Company website has lots of peanut brittles and the like…which makes sense for a peanut butter company…so it did strike me as interesting that Peanut Butter & Co. had a popcorn-based snack.  Seemed out of place at first.

Great color

Upon opening the box of this Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch, I was immediately struck – GREAT coating color. Visually pleasing, dark caramel-like coating. Usually when I get candied popcorn, the color is a lighter tan, like a crackerjack. This was clearly a more serious coating.

Smelled awesome

When I opened the bag of this Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch, there was a nice strong peanut butter smell, and I really noticed how well coated EVERY piece of popcorn and peanut inside this bag was.  This wasn’t a skimpy candy shell, this was a nice substantial slathering of candy coating all over.  Woo, I’m getting a little hot and bothered here!

Up close and personal

Ok, so here is how it played out: when I opened the inner bag of the Peanut Butter Co. & Corny Crunch, my first thought was: “Wow this really smells like peanuts.  Why does it smell so much like peanuts? I mean, I know there is peanuts in here, but why such a strong smell?”

And then I re-read the box: “peanut butter caramel popcorn.”  Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn?  …wait.  WAIT.  The Peanut Butter is MIXED IN WITH THE CARAMEL IN THE COATING OF THIS POPCORN!?  HOLY EFF.

Ooooooh yeah

The reason I had been so wrong about this Peanut Butter & Co. Corny Crunch, and underestimating it, was because I didn’t clearly read/realize/understand what it was.  This wasn’t standard candied popcorn, as I previously thought.

I popped a big ol cluster into my mouth, and was IMPRESSED.  The description was dead on – this was a simple-to-understand snack done the right way.  This caramel covered popcorn was infused with the hugely delicious sweet/salty taste of fresh peanut butter. When I first placed the popcorn on my tongue, I tasted the immediate sweet smoky flavor of caramel, but then with each chew the rich flavor of peanut butter came into the mix.  Just a wonderful combination.

It was salty, it was sweet, and (for me) it had the correct ratio of NOT TOO MANY PEANUTS, and plenty of thickly covered popcorn clusters, brimming with flavor. Seriously, might be the best candied popcorn I’ve had – beats Fiddle Faddle, Crackerjack, etc.  Outstanding.

PURCHASED AT: via mail!  Can be bought online here

COST: $6.00

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Junk Food Guy

Discuss - 15 Comments

  1. Lindemann says:

    1) That popcorn sounds amazing
    2) I buy generic all the time. I buy it and use it unless I notice a difference between generic and name-brand that, in my humble judgment, is greater than the cost difference. I don’t know why people spend so much money on (for example) Pillsbury wheat flour – $4.29 for five pounds – when the Giant wheat flour is right next to it and costs $2.69 for the same quantity.

    On the other hand, generic tortilla chips are universally nasty.

  2. That popcorn looks AWESOME! I love Peanut Butter & Co. – a true American business that started from the ground up.

    I was buying contact lens solution from Costco / Kirkland too until my eye doctor told me that they use an old formula that’s been proven to dry out my eyes. Maybe he was paid by Alcon, I don’t know. I switched back to brand name and the difference has been night and day!

    But that’s the only thing – otherwise I’m CVS brand everything, all the way…

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Teresapalooza: It WAS awesome – I’ll save some for Thanksgiving

      Hmmmm so you can tell the difference between generic and name contact solution, huh? Hmmmm

  3. Nick Rovo says:

    I see nothing awkward with buying generic brands over name brand. A lot of private label stuff is actually the name brand stuff under the stores name. Just take a quick look at similar products and they might actually be manufactured in the same place. There’s also some generic products I just find superior to their name brand counterparts.

    As for the popcorn, send me some now! Please and thank you of course=]

  4. Shorneys says:

    My aunt is a pharmacist, and she warned all of us against buying the generic over-the-counter pills. The active ingredient may be the same, she said, but the inactive ingredients are, at least to her mind, totally different and crazy.

    I’m less of an alarmist, so I buy CVS brand ibuprofin or paracetemol, but for something I might take a lot of, or continous amounts of (like allergy medication or vitamins) I try to stay on-brand.

  5. Will says:

    Wtf, I never heard of that popcorn. I MUST find it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying generic, I do all the time. Except with ice cream!

  6. Will says:

    To anybody who wants some peanut butter & co. They have a 30%discount in the next few days on your entire order. Also if you spend 50 dollars or more you get free shipping.

    @jfg, I’m getting my corny crunch & mighty maple!
    Ty for the review, excited to try.

  7. Adi says:

    YOU SEE?!?!?!?!?!?!?! You CAN tell the difference between generic and name brand contact solution! That’s one of the few things where I’ll go name brand all the way — other than that, give me cheapest!

    And these suckers are TO DIE FOR!! If I didn’t have to pay twelve bucks for shipping, I’d own my weight in corny crunch. Twelve bucks? You’re good, Peanut Butter & Co., but not that good.

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