Meijer Toasted Oats Cereal (Meijer)

Though I do like the place, I rarely go to Meijer.  And when I do go, it’s even less often about groceries.  But while my wife was on a recent grocery expedition with her parents, I asked them to pick me up a box of Cheerios.

What she came back with, was unexpected:  Two dwarfen boxes of Meijer Toasted Oats cereal, which were handed to me along with the information that they were $1 each.  “Not bad,” I initially thought…more on that later.

From the moment you pull them out of the box, you can tell that something is not exactly the same.  Whereas Cheerios, and even other private label brands, appear smooth and almost “airy”, Meijer’s Oats look a little rough.  They are also a little darker, as well, which gives them an even more “menacing” vibe, when compared to the light, inviting look of other brands.  Not that you feel like this cereal is going to attack you, but it definitely doesn’t look quite as appetizing.

But who cares about looks, right?  A food should be all about taste…and even on those grounds, Meijer’s Toasted Oats fall quite a bit short of other private label brands.  While the taste isn’t super far off, it’s definitely noticeable, as it tastes slightly more bitter than other brands (again, not enough to make you pucker, but enough to notice it).  What really gets to me, however, is how far off they are on the texture.  Even if this tasted EXACTLY like Cheerios, the way each piece just falls apart in your mouth is incredibly off-putting.  Rather than the aforementioned “airyness” of other brands, where each piece feels so light that it seemingly just melts in your mouth, these Oats almost “crumble” to pieces in your mouth.  While that may not sound like a big deal, it honestly bothered me quite a bit.

You see, I like eating my Cheerios with a cut-up banana (honestly one of my favorite snacks in the whole wide world), and one of the reasons it works is because of the light texture of the Cheerios matching up almost perfectly with the smoothness of the banana.  Here, you don’t get that.  The unbalanced flavor also did little to compliment the light flavor of the banana, thus rendering my favorite snack rather unenjoyable.

These Oats won’t get any extra points for value, either, so ignore the sales tactic:  Each box is 7 oz. and, like I said, retail for $1 each.  Aldi’s own version of Toasted Oats cereal, which comes in at 14 oz. (hence, exactly two boxes of Meijer’s version) retails for under $2, and tastes infinitely better.  So even if you are brutally broke, Aldi’s is both cheaper and a better deal taste-wise.

Overall: 5/10.  While not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, Meijer’s version of Cheerios has a very bizarre texture and a stronger flavor that seem to go against everything that makes the original cereal so great.  Ignore their sales pitch, too–while Meijer offers 7 oz. boxes for “just” $1, the fact that Aldi offers 14 oz. boxes for under $2, while still maintaining the right taste and texture, negates any kind of points for “value” that this may have had.  My suggestion:  You can do much better elsewhere.

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