These cookies taste good, but that’s about it. There are very few nutritional benefits to eating these cookies which leads to a very disappointing overall result.
- Tastes good
- Lots of flavour options
- Full of sugar
- One cookie is not one serving
- Label transparency issues
- Very little nutritional value
Lenny & Larry’s is a company based out of the USA and their “Complete Cookie” is one of their popular exports here to Australia.
Nutrition & Directions
The Complete Cookie is an all plant based cookie free from some allergens such as soy, dairy and egg. It’s vegan, has no artificial sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup and no sugar alcohols. Sounds good right? Well, that is until you get into the nitty gritty of the ingredients.
Let’s begin with sugar. Third on the list is cane sugar (preceded by just two ingredient blends; “Enriched Wheat Flour” and a “Protein Blend”. Within the product itself there is 23g of added sugar (26g sugar total) per cookie which will be from the cane sugar and also the inverted sugar (sixth on the ingredient listing). So this product is packed full of sugar, resulting in a total 23% of the cookie weight.
Worth noting, while there is no high fructose corn syrup, the inverted sugar does contain fructose.
Next let’s move on to fat. Palm Fruit Oil is listed as a fifth ingredient on the list which is an ingredient very high in saturated fat.
This is a product that clearly states “Baked Nutrition” and I’m struggling to find where the nutrition fits into this nutritional panel. The flour listed is wheat flour (not whole wheat flour), which is very highly processed. There is significantly more sugar than protein (for a cookie that highlights that there is 16g of protein per cookie).
There is the addition of some vitamins (B3, B1, B2, B9) and iron into the “Enriched Wheat Flour”, though we do not know how much. The product is fortified with some protein (being wheat gluten, pea protein and rice protein).
Unfortunately there isn’t much to like about the nutritional makeup of this product. The exclusion of some allergens and certain ingredients, or just being plant based, does not necessarily make a product nutritious.
Just like the ingredients themselves, the macronutrients aren’t fantastic. Per cookie we’re looking at:
- Apple pie: 440 calories, with 59g of carbs, 16g of protein and 14g of fat
- Snickerdoodle: 460 calories, with 56g of carbs, 16g of protein and 17g of fat
- Other flavours will vary slightly.
That’s a LOT of calories. For comparison, you could substitute a single cookie for a hamburger and still have some calories to spare.
It comes as no surprise that the carbohydrates are so high given the high prevalence of wheat flour and sugars in the nutritional listing. I think a key difference between this cookie and a standard bakery cookie would be the addition of some plant protein to bring the protein composition up to 16g per cookie.
When we compare the macronutrients to other products in the bars and snacks category, we can see that this product ranks in the button 10th percentile for both carbohydrate and protein on a weight for weight basis. The fat percentage is slightly better in relative terms, however it does still rank in the bottom 41% of the category.
At first glance, the label does seem to be transparent with the various nutritional claims; for example “16g protein per cookie”, “10g of fibre per cookie” etc. While none of the claims seem incorrect per se, it all seems to fall apart when we look into the nitty gritty.
The first thing we need to consider is that one cookie is actually two servings. Who in the world eats half a cookie? And yes while one serving may only constitute roughly 220-230 calories, keep in mind that this is half a cookie. So then when we reference these claims of “16g of protein per cookie” or “10g of fibre per cookie”, you’re really only getting half this per serve. By claiming that a single serve is only half a cookie, they can show in big bold letters the lower calorie count while simultaneously making these “per cookie” claims.
Another big problem with the transparency on this label is in the use of the ingredient blends. The first two ingredients are both blends:
- Enriched wheat flour
- Protein blend
As legislation requires ingredients to be listed in a descending order of abundance, you can group ingredients together and therefore the total weight of that blend ranks higher up the list of ingredients. What this also means is that we don’t know where the third ingredient (cane sugar) sits in the list. Is it actually the second ingredient (being more prevalent than all of the vitamins, iron and individual protein blend constituents? Highly possible, but the lack of disclosure on this label only allows for speculation.
Directions & Servings
The serving size is a half a cookie. This is absurd, who bakes a cookie twice the size of what a serving should be? At the very least include two smaller cookies per package if you’re going to have such a ridiculous serving size.
Taste & Texture
The cookies come in a range of flavours with 14 available in Australia. These include:
- Double Chocolate
- Lemon Poppy
- Oatmeal Raisin
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Chip
- Birthday Cake
- Apple Pie
- Chocolate Donut
- Salted Caramel
This is an impressive flavour assortment and as a result, this product outranks other protein bars and snacks.
This is a fairly good tasting convenience product within the snacks and bars category. However it doesn’t taste quite as good as a freshly baked cookie with a similar nutritional profile (but perhaps less protein).
The cookies are sweet as you would expect, though not overly sweet.
The apple pie has a strong green apple flavour to it on the cookie base. The snickerdoodle is a really pleasant cinnamon, comparable to your typical cinnamon doughnut.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the lemon poppy which is a very unique flavour to our snacks range – nice and zesty, which ranks as my favourite. The white chocolate macadamia was also sweet and nutty with the creaminess of macadamia’s.
When we compare to the user taste scores, we see that Lemon Poppy and Choc-O-Mint are the crowd favourites, both coming in at 100%. Oatmeal raisin is a close third at a 99% average score. Down the bottom we see Chocolate Chip (89%), Peanut Butter (89%) and Salted Caramel (significantly lower at 80%).
Flavour Rating Consistency
We see a difference of 20% between Lemon Poppy/Choc-O-Mint at 100% and Salted Caramel at 80%. This places this product in the bottom 17% of the snacks category when compared with other products.
Solubility & Texture
These cookies are generally pleasant to consume. They are soft baked and chewy (not crunchy).
However I do feel that they are slightly dry and would have loved them to be a bit more moist.
These are one of the most popular products in the bars and snacks category, ranking in the top 13% of all products.
Rate of Repurchase
Customers are very likely to repurchase this product and it ranks in the top 13% of the category.
The average user review score is 95%. Within the snacks and bars category, this places it within the top 36% of all products.
Value for Money
The packaging is a standard plastic/foil package inside a cardboard box fitting 12 cookies. This is all quite standard for this type of product.
The issue with the packaging is that each cookie is advertised as two servings. Given that this is a convenience product, one would expect a resealable package to keep the second serving fresh for later. The other alternative would be to pack a single serve into a single packet.
We weighed a couple of cookies and they came in at 117g and 113g – both equal to or exceeding the label claim of 113g per cookie.
Within the snacks category itself, each cookie is at a fairly average price point of $4-$5 per cookie.
Within this category, you’re typically paying a premium for the convenience, as well as some form of nutritional benefit (low carb, high protein, low fat etc).
Unfortunately the convenience factor is mitigated by having two servings in a single package. Meanwhile, this cookie presents little nutritional benefit over having a standard bakery cookie, that I find it difficult to justify purchasing this cookie.
On the flip side, it is a big cookie weighing in at 113g.
Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie is a good tasting cookie and is quite popular in amongst the protein bars and snacks category. It does have an above average amount of protein (for a standard bakery cookie), but lacks in protein significantly when we compare it to other protein snacks.
There is not much to say about this cookie from a nutritional sense. It is packed full of sugar and calories. There is also a big issue when it comes to label transparency which will leave many health conscious customers dissatisfied.
It is a disappointing result for such a popular product.