Cereal Wars

What is the best cereal and what criteria do we use to determine this? I would argue there are 3 broad categories used to judge cereal by consumers. 1. All consumers are concerned with the quantity and quality of the product they are buying as compared to the price. For cereal this means we look at price per ounce and how good it tastes and is for you. 2. A balance of taste. Nowadays if you walk into the cereal isle, 50 or more sugary blasted colorful boxes jump out at you. I can’t handle the overwhelming explosion of sugar in my mouth, so how the cereal tastes is important to me. And last but not least 3. Texture. How cereal feels is important as well. Are the pieces big and only 1 or 2 fit on the spoon, do they melt in the bottom of the bowl, are they all the same type or does the box have a mixture? These are all things we think about when evaluating what cereal to buy.

Price is a broad category for cereal. Price depends on the quantity and quality of the box you are buying. Quantity is how much per ounce you are buying, but also how big the box is. Larger boxes last longer, and for someone who doesn’t have a car, going to the store can take a while so having larger boxes of cereal is peace of mind because I do not have to worry about running out.

Balance between sugar and savory taste also impacts consumers opinions of cereal. Most breakfast cereal brands are targeted to kids who typically lean towards the hyper sugary types. Cereals on the opposite side of the spectrum, for adults, tend to be marketed as healthy and focus less on taste and more on fiber and nutrition facets. In fact, I have found that cereals rarely have both taste and nutrition on their side, they tend to have one or the other. For this reason, modifiers such as fresh fruit and granola, that can be added to cereals lacking in the taste department, are helpful. However, having really good tasting cereal is a motivator to get up in the morning and can be beneficial. The catch is that the sugariness has to be reasonable and not over the top like many choices out there.

Texture can be interpreted in many different ways, but there are some categories that can be outlined right away. Cereal commonly comes as puffs (little balls), O’s (cheerio shaped), flakes, or shreds (shredded wheat like). Then there are also mixed types, like marshmallow and puffs, or fiber brands with flakes and fiber pieces. Texture comes down to personal preference, but some aspects include how big the bites can be and how many pieces can fit on a spoon. As well as how resistant to sogginess the cereal is. Some like their cereal to be soggy. Other cereals can be too brittle to bite until milk is poured on. Other types of cereal flavor the milk as a little treat at the end of the bowl. There is also the possibility of mixing multiple types of cereal in the same bowl, which gives way the possibility of mixing and matching to find a good balance. The are are many factor in choosing the right cereal, but honestly going for gut instinct is likely good enough for most people.

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