This was the first thing that welcomed me back to Trader Joe's. How could I not get it. Look at that cute little Mango-shaped letter O on the box. Too punny.
Trader Joe's O's cereal was a staple for me in college. I don't remember ever seeing a mango variety, but it must be because of the summer Mango Mania. My expectations for this weren't too high. I mean freeze-dried mango pieces? I know it'll be like trying to find the marshmallows in the Lucky Charms box. They're there but not abundantly.
But still. Y'all know I love me some mango.
This cereal walks the line between artificial and "real." The mango puree does lend a more authentic mango taste, and it seems to have infused the Os themselves. However, the cereal itself isn't very sweet (which could be good), and the mango flavor is detectable but unimpressive (no bueno). Some of the Os have freeze dried mango bits in the center, which helps to bring the mango sweetness through. Toddlers and other little kids who love mangos might go crazy for this cereal because it tastes better dry than with milk. Milk drowns the mango flavor. I do like these Os better than Cheerios because they are a bit thicker and provide a heartier crunch. They are definitely closer to a Kashi cereal than a Cheerios cereal, so it feels like I'm actually eating something rather than shoveling down bits of cereal with hopes that it fills me. A on the other hand was not impressed at all. He took a bite, put it down, and poured himself a bowl of his go-to Vanilla. I'm stuck finishing this box on my own.
Overall, I feel ambivalent. Is it really that good to warrant a repurchase? Meh. The Organic Mango passion Granola cereal is $0.70 more than this at $3.29 but better and available year round, so I'm more inclined to repurchase that than go for this seasonal product. It's not a bad product at all, just nothing earth-shattering.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Mango O's. Mango-flavored-ish O's cereal. A mango-loving toddler's dream. Maybe. 5 out of 10.