Monday, August 18, 2014

Trader Joe's Hack: Multigrain Hot Cereal

A simple recipe for you Trader Joe's fans out there.  I've been doing this "hack" for almost a year and had to replenish my supply today, hence a blog post about nothing at all related to this blog.

Last fall, we tried Trader Joe's Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal.  We enjoyed it.

But...we didn't enjoy the price.
So we went to our food co-op and came up with nearly exactly the same product for a much lower price.

Off the ingredients label on the Trader Joe's package: "100% whole grain rye, barley, oats & wheat."

I have always heard that ingredients are listed in the order that a product is comprised of.  I don't know if that's a law or not.  And I didn't have time to research, so I just bought my ingredients in a 100:90:80:70 ratio.  *note: at this point in time, I don't bother with ratios anymore and just fill bags with grains and dump it all together.  But at the time I actually did this experiment, I was pretty anal retentive about "the science."

I kept with the organic status, figuring it should be an even "apples to apples" comparison.

At our food co-op, organic rye flakes are $0.99 a pound.  
Organic barley flakes are $2.09 a pound.
Organic Rolled Oats are $1.49 a pound.
Organic Rolled Wheat is $1.59 a pound.

So, if you add up $0.99 for the rye, $1.90 for the barley, $1.20 for the oats, and $1.11 for the rolled wheat, it comes to $5.20, for 54.4 ounces of hot cereal blend. 

Now the lowest price I've ever seen Trader Joe's organic multigrain hot cereal at (online and local) is $2.29 plus shipping for an 18-ounce container.  I think it's usually around $4 in our local Trader Joes.  If you went with this rock-bottom price *without shipping*, you'd be getting a really good deal at 13 cents an an ounce.  But if you went with a homemade version, you'd be at 9.5 cents per ounce.  Oh....and that Amazon link?  19 cents an ounce.

It's economical for us, since I have never ever seen it locally at $2.29. It also helps me to bake with more whole grains, because I trade in our mass-produced breakfast cereal blend for any cookies or cakes that require oatmeal.  The boys don't notice.

The only warning I'd have is this: if your body is not used to eating whole grains frequently, ease into them, especially if you have young ones still in diapers.  That is all I'm going to say about November of 2013.

But dear Trader Joe's, I'm still a fan of your cheap flowers and your pear cider.  So don't worry about losing a customer here.

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