I always have some kind of cereal on hand. Sometimes it's for breakfast, sometimes with a little fruit and a heavy dose of cream, it makes for an impromptu dessert. And although Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries is my all time favorite cereal, that's not what I typically have on hand. My pantry is routinely stocked with corn flakes, toasted oats or bran flakes.
Do you pay the premium price for the name brand?
If you do, you might think twice about doing so after reading this article.
I recently did a piece on corn flakes, today I'm doing a similar review of toasted oats cereals. In conducting this 'Cereal Battle, Part 2', I purchased THE name brand, General Mills Cheerios; a store brand version, in this case Kroger; and a discount brand called Millville, a.k.a., Aldi.
I compared price, weight, the look, taste (both dry and w/milk) and the 'sogginess' factor.
Cereal #1, the name brand - General Mills Cheerios:
This cereal has been a family favorite for over 70 years according to the General Mills website. I have to agree, a box of Cheerios was always in my house as a kid.
Price: $2.79 for 12 ounces of cereal
That price is actually fairly low for a name brand cereal. In the first cereal battle, Kellogg's Corn Flakes came in at $3.39 and in a non-battle purchase, Wheaties was priced at $4.47 (Ouch!, over $4 for a box of cereal?). Also noted in that first battle, was how much taller the Kellogg's Corn Flakes box was even though the weight of the cereal was the same as for the store and discount brands. Only a very slightly taller box, General Mills doesn't seem to be playing the 'bigger box' game here, a marketing gimmick.
For the look, taste (both dry and w/milk) and the sogginess factor, I'll summarize all three cereals in a bit.
Cereal #2, store brand - Kroger:
Price: $1.49 for 12 ounces of cereal
Look how much cheaper the store brand is, a savings of $1.30. That's about 11 cents an ounce for the store brand vs. about 23 cents per ounce for the name brand.
Cereal #3, discount brand - Millville, a.k.a., Aldi:
This is the cheapest cereal of the group because you get more cereal in the box. Per ounce, Millville costs 10.6 cents. And just an interesting note and Millville does this with all their packaging it seems, check out how 'Millville' tries to closely mimic the name brand with the look of the box, but the store brand, Kroger, does not..... The question becomes, how closely does Millville mimic Cheerios, the look, the taste?
When it came to the look, there are a few notable differences. Cheerios appears to be smoother, then Millville - a little less of a smoothness factor and the store brand, Kroger, looking to be the drier oat, the more porous of the bunch. All the 'O's' look to be about the same in size. In the taste test, they all tasted the same, sampled dry and with milk, none more sweeter than the other. But the crucial part of the test, the sogginess factor...... Cheerios comes out on top on this one, I got through most of the bowl before sogginess set in. Millville came in second in this factor and the store brand, Kroger came in last - about 3/4 through the bowl. Hmmm, there's something about that smoothness factor......
Cheerios gets top nod when it comes to marketing and the sogginess factor, but that's not worth the premium price. For my money, I'll take the Millville version of Cheerios. If you have been a buyer of the name brand, there's really no reason to continue doing so. Save yourself some money with the discount brand from Aldi.
Other uses for toasted oats.....
Cheerios and the like aren't just for the breakfast bowl. These things are versatile. Toasted oats are a great addition to granolas, cookies and as a topping for dessert crisps. My mom used to include them in home made party mix, I loved how the O's would soak up the Worcestershire. Toasted oats are also a great base for home made cereal bars.
$pend Wisely My Friends.....