- I tried cheese pizza , pepperoni pizza, combo pizza, a chicken bake, an Italian sausage, a hot dog , a chicken Caesar salad , vanilla fro-yo , an aai swirl, a berry sundae, a churro, a mocha freeze, a fruit smoothie, and an aai bowl.
- The aai bowl was by far the worst item on the menu, with little to justify its whopping $4.99 price tag.
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There's nothing worse than an unhealthy food masquerading as a healthy one.
The aai berry is a traditional part of many Amazonian diets . Native to South America, it found itself swept up north by a superfoods craze in the late 2000s . Companies marketed aai as having near-miracle health benefits and antioxidant levels, claims that are unsubstantiated by scientific evidence .
So why, in 2018, did Costco add an aai bowl and an aai swirl to its food court menu? It was presumably part of an effort to replace "unhealthy" items with "healthier" ones . Away went the hand-dipped ice cream bar, the chocolate fro-yo swirl, the BBQ brisket sandwich, and the Polish sausage. In came a vegan al pastor salad and aai-based desserts.
But is the aai bowl really healthy? It has 30 grams of sugar , which equals over seven teaspoons. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day and that women consume no more than six.
And at $4.99, it's the most expensive item on the menu, tied with the al pastor salad.
In my opinion, it's also the worst.
The concept of Costco's aai bowl is appealing. A nutritious, fruity dessert base is topped with fresh fruit, granola, and banana chips. However, we've already established that the fruity dessert base of Costco's aai bowl is less than nutritious.
Independently, the toppings in the aai bowl are great.
The fruit is fresh, the banana chips are crunchy, and the granola is hearty. The problem is the aai.
Costco's aai tastes artificial. Yes, it does taste kind of like berries, but it mostly tastes like powder and sugar.
This artificial aai frozen dessert taints every other ingredient in the bowl. You want to enjoy your fresh strawberries? Here's an overpoweringly sweet, cold, and chemical-tasting dollop of aai dessert to distract you. Crunchy banana chips and granola? Have some icy aai sorbet to make sure your teeth suffer with every bite.
If Costco had added the toppings for the aai bowl to an oatmeal bowl or yogurt parfait, it would've had a smashing success on its hands and a nutritious one at that.
Instead, Costco chose to jump on the categorically useless superfood bandwagon.
Sure, Costco's dead favorites were calorific and contained oodles of fat and salt, but at least they were open about being bad for you. The aai bowl is no more healthy than its predecessors, yet it preaches the false virtues of antioxidants from its icy pedestal.
The aai bowl is everything that's wrong with the direction Costco's food court is heading in. Costco should stick to the kind of food that people love it for: affordable, unpretentious, and tasty.
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