Friday, November 12, 2010

Bakery On Main: A Review And A Giveaway



















(What follows is my rambling thoughts about product reviews. If you have some time on your hands, feel free to read on. If you just want to win a gift bag of Bakery On Main goodies, scroll to the bottom.)

As a food blogger, I get the occasional offer of free food or cookbooks. I can still recall the first time someone offered to send me cupcakes as a thank you for giving her a positive review. I wasn't looking to get anything out of it. I simply thought her cookies and brownies were amazing, and wanted to share that with my readers. Nonetheless, when I found out she was going to send me free cupcakes, I started jumping up and down. Free gluten-free cupcakes? Are you kidding me!? Life just got 10,000 times better!

After a year and a half of blogging, I am still excited to get anything free. Who isn't? But I'm also more cautious. My blog is important to me, and I'm careful about who and what I promote. There's something inherently uncomfortable to me about accepting anything for free. While I know that I'll only give a positive review to a product I like, the people pleaser in me is hesitant to accept products on the off chance that I might not like them. What do I do then? Choose not to review the product at all? Give it a bad review? Conveniently forget about the review until months later and then decide it's too late to bother? I can tell you that I have done the former and the latter of these. But I've never written a bad review simply because it makes me feel icky. Then again, so would writing a positive review for a product I did not actually enjoy. It is for this reason that I turn down many of the offers that come my way. (If I'm giving you the impression that I get offers left and right, that's really not the case. But I do receive more offers than I used to, and I've had to turn down a few lately.)

Why am I telling you this? Well, I guess simply because I like to be truthful and I like to share my thought process with you all. And because I want you to know that if I review a product, I will be honest. If I don't review one, well, that speaks for itself.

With all this said, I accepted an offer to try Bakery On Main's granola bars and cereal. Bakery On Main began in Glastonbury, CT, which is where my mom grew up and my grandma still lives. So I feel partial to them and excited that there's a prominent gluten-free bakery right in my grandma's own town. Of course, this is where I interject that I was given the products for free, but am under no obligation to review them or say anything positive. There are some rules and regulations that I know very little about, but thankfully hear about from other bloggers who pay more attention than I do. So, with that obligatory stuff out of the way and my own ramblings done with, here's what I'll say about Bakery On Main. And I'll keep it brief because another truth is that I really don't enjoy writing product reviews. Even when I like the product. 

  • The granola is good, but not my favorite. My housemate buys it regularly and loves it with soy yogurt. I also ate it with yogurt, but find that it doesn't stand up well on its own. 
  • The granola bars are much better. If I hadn't realized I'm sensitive to peanuts, I would definitely be buying the peanut butter chocolate granola bars as a sweet treat. 
  • I consider these all treats. While I can see myself buying them, it would be for an after dinner snack rather than breakfast. They're a bit too sweet to start my day off with. But that's just me.  
And that's all I've got for you. Now, onto the giveaway. Because that's why you're really here, right? Bakery on Main is kindly sending a lucky reader a gift bag of their cereal and granola bars. To enter, leave a comment below. I'll give you two entries if you let me know what you think about product reviews (as a reader, a blogger, or both). And if you want more entries, get creative and just let me know what you did. Tweet it, facebook it, blog about it, make up a song, whatever makes you happy.

(Update: 11/17/10 This giveaway is now closed)

27 comments:

Christina said...

I like product reviews because it gives me a good idea about a product before buying it. I usually make everything from scratch. But when we travel, it's nice to know what is worth buying.

Arielle said...

I like product reviews when the blogger is open about being sent things for free. Too often I can tell that someone is being untruthful because they are being sponsored by the company, and that annoys me. Not to mention makes me very distrustful of anything else the blogger might write. You're not at all like that, though! Thanks for your honesty.
Is this open to international entries as well? :)

Iris said...

Thanks Arielle and Christina. It's good to know that product reviews are useful for readers, and Arielle, I know what you mean... I think the giveaway is just the U.S., but I'll double check that for you!

BeckyD said...

Bakery On Main is our favorite Granola Snack! We love to eat a little cup of it just plain.

Teresa said...

I am always thankful for product reviews because it gives me a starting point to try something new. I hate it when I go out and purchase something, only to be disappointed. At least with a review, I can read other opinions before I buy! I do like the apple walnut granola with vanilla yogurt! Yummy!

themommybowl.com said...

I'm right with you - I'm a little bit uncomfortable doing reviews. That's mostly because I rarely (if ever) buy packaged foods for myself. So, if I do buy them, they're to please my kiddo (whose palate is, let's say, just a wee bit different than mine). I do like honest reviews, and when I've done reviews, I've tried to be as honest as possible. I'm sure that's made some companies shy away from offering me products to review.

I've had Bakery on Main's granola once - as a convenience food to take on a business trip. I liked it as a snack, but I'm with you - it's not how I want to eat breakfast. My kiddo, on the other hand, would be all over it.

Elizabeth A. said...

As you know, I love anything free. But am I exempt?? (:

hunterslyonesse said...

Iris, I admire your honesty! As a reader, I look at product reviews by bloggers to see if something is worth my time and money to try out. We're all in the same boat and I know if a trusted blogger is honest, didn't like a product, and says so, I won't bother. As a blogger, well, I just like sharing my point of view whether people like it or not! :)

Farty Girl said...

I massively agree with the whole reviewing products schpiel. It's a bit scary. But I've noticed a lot of bloggers writing reviews that, like yours, are HONEST. You handled it so well - stating that a lot of your preferences are due to the food not being of your taste. If it's a personal thing, they can't get offended. Nicely done! :)

Joelle said...

When I was at the Food and Nutrition Conference in Boston this week I stopped by Bakery on Main's booth. Didn't realize I grew up twenty minutes away from them! I tried the granola with some coconut yogurt and thought it was pretty good. I have a sample of the chocolate peanut butter granola bar that I have yet to try. Sounds good to me though!

Amanda said...

I definitely appreciate honest product reviews. As a gluten freeer, food reviews are very helpful when considering buying a product on taste. GF baked goods are pricey and sometimes a huge let down. Thanks for your honesty!

Melissa said...

I love Bakery on Main granola, but have yet to try their granola bars, I am sure they are just as delicious too. As a reader, I do enjoy the product reviews from bloggers, it is a way to get informed about a new products to try.

RainyDayBear said...

This is my gluten free crack. It's a dangerously delicious treat for me. Love.

Stephanie said...

I appreciate people taking the time to review products honestly. Usually, if someone whose recipes I enjoy, posts a positive review about a product, I'm more likely to try it than a random amazon review. I'm not a huge granola fan, but I do miss granola bars a lot! Thanks for sharing this giveaway!

Elaine said...

I do like that many bloggers take the time to write a review, I feel like it saves me money and time, to have a discussion with the taster, before I buy it!

Sherron said...

I appreciate reviews from websites that I follow and enjoy cooking their recipes. If I enjoy 90% of the recipes on the blog, then I will most likely have a similar opinion on a product. I can understand how it could feel uncomfortable to write your opinion, though. Perhaps the winner could post their opinion as a supplement to your review.

Ellen said...

as long as the reviews are not a significant part of the blog content, are honest and thoughtful, i don't have any problem with them at all.

Emily N. said...

I like reading product reviews to get a better idea of what products are really like and I appreciate it when bloggers are willing to mention the cons as well as the pros about a product even if it's just their personal preference.

freeflying_soul said...

I like that you include reviews because many of the good quality products are expensive and I'd like to know what someone else thinks of the product before I spend money on it just guessing it would be good.

marshowl said...

I like product reviews. They not only give me ideas about new products I might not have heard of; but also lets me know what others think about ones I have heard about but not yet tried. thanks for doing that.

the actor's diet said...

i love product reviews - there's just so much out there!

beyondriceandtofu.com said...

I know what you mean about writing reviews. Not always my favorite either. I have only had couple of offers of stuff so far, my blog being so young.
But I would love to try this granola!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Mary Ann said...

Thank you for the review! I just love product reviews because it saves me time and money. I finally figured out that every GF item is about $5!

Weeza said...

I like product reviews... they save me time and money trying everything myself! :) I just discovered your blog and I'm busily printing a few of your recipes to try. Thanks for doing what you do!

Kaley said...

I love giveaways. I'm not a big time blogger or anything, but they never hurt, eh?

Elyssa said...

I like product reviews because they are usually done by an individual rather than a company that has their own agenda. I also find them informative and encourages me to try new products.

Elyssa

MonsterAteMy said...

I'm interested in product reviews, as long as they seem honest and don't replace other, more valuable content too often. Truthfully, I kind of prefer the reviews that are more like, "oh I just bought this at the grocery store and it's fabulous (or terrible!)" then the sort that were sent along free and attached to giveaways.

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