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No, I did not review this package from two years ago.

Freshness Guaranteed Chocolate Cake Donut Holes with Sprinkles (Walmart)

Walmart’s “fakery” (a mix of “fake” and “bakery”) section is pretty decent overall. As with any supermarket brand, some items are better than others. But for the most part, the products I’ve tried have either met, or exceeded, the taste of other store brands. And usually for a cheaper price.

The only one that has outright disappointed me (despite the “Freshness Guaranteed” brand name) were their “old fashioned” donut holes. I won’t rant and rave about how much I hated them in this post, but let’s just say, they were awful. With that in mind, we turn our attention to their sprinkled chocolate donut holes, also available under the (hideous) Freshness Guaranteed label. Would these redeem the brand? Or just reiterate that donut holes are the one thing the mass grocer can’t do well?

First things first: The sprinkles. Let’s be honest here, they’re pretty much completely pointless. They don’t add much to the flavor, nor really much to the texture (they are soft and not crunchy like “fresh” sprinkles would be). However, they do boost the visual aesthetic up a bit. I may be wrong, but I can’t recall another store brand donut hole that has them. It’s an inspired decision that helps them stand out a bit compared to others, with the added benefit of appealing more to sprinkle-obsessed children (and, in my case, wife).

These donuts are soft and moist. This is not really shocking, as many such products are formulated to have these types of “homemade” characteristics. Who wants some dry-ass donuts? No one. These hit the nail on the head in terms of texture, which is even more inviting than the visual aspect. Who could possibly be disappointed by such a proven combination of glaze and chocolate? (Except for those with a fatal aversion to cocoa, of course.) 

The taste is about on par with what you could expect at a “chain” bakery, or a typical company that specializes in snack cakes. I wouldn’t consider that a “knock” against the product, as that’s exactly what these are. Despite their inclusion in the bakery department, complete with clamshell packaging, these are not made in store. I don’t think that news should come as a shock to anyone. At some point, someone thought: Hey, if we put our products in clamshell packaging, then we can fool people into thinking we make the products in-house! Like pop-up ads in the days of AOL, it’s one of those marketing tactics that probably worked for a few minutes, until people quickly caught on. Yet it’s still a technique used in almost every bakery department of every major supermarket chain.

Back to these, the chocolate flavor stands out, as expected. It’s good, and akin to basically every chocolate donut ever made. It’s sweet, with a slight hint of “dark” chocolate bitterness that helps to offset things a bit. The glaze provides that expected touch of powdered sugar flavoring that pairs well with the chocolate. This is one of those products that simply aims to follow in the footsteps of everyone else. While this can be detrimental in some cases, it’s not so here. Sometimes people just want a familiar taste to satisfy the basic cravings of a sweet tooth.

I will say the price tag is a little frustrating, but it’s in line with the rising cost of everything else. These retail for $3.24, with each package containing approximately 28 donuts. Even a year or so ago, they were probably somewhere around half that. Again, Walmart isn’t to blame, because it’s impacting the entire grocery industry as a whole. It’s also not something that affects its overall score; just an observation of annoyance and frustration from an impacted consumer. 

I have a feeling most people who go for these already know what to expect. And that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

Overall: 7.5/10. Freshness Guaranteed (God, what an awful name) donuts are not going to win anyone over who isn’t already a fan of chocolate donuts. Aside from the sprinkles – an entirely aesthetic decision as they add nothing to the texture or flavor – these stand out in no way from other donut hole brands. And the clamshell packaging isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking they are baked fresh, in-house. But virtually everyone (myself included) knows all of this going in. They are not looking for something that’s going to reinvent the wheel. They want that familiar taste to satisfy a basic craving. These donut holes do that. And for an increased price that is (sadly) still in line with the cost of similar store brands.

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