As I have mentioned many times over the course of the five years this blog has been in existence, Malt o’ Meal is, by far, my favorite private label cereal brand. Its mere presence at hundreds of retailers nationwide, from dollar stores, to Big Lots, to supermarkets, might lead you to believe that it’s a national brand–which it very well may be in terms of reach–but its core philosophy, which is to rip-off products from major cereal brands while offering them for much cheaper, is classic private label all the way.
And yet, it’s one of the many cereal products I take for granted, in that I seem to always have some in my cereal collection at any given time, yet I have painfully few actual reviews of them. I guess some things I just get so comfortable and used to eating that I don’t even think of sharing them with my loyal readers (however few or nonexistent that number may actually be). Maybe it’s a subconscious territorial thing, where I just want to keep the secret of how good these are to myself, lest my review goes viral and whips up the population into a Malt o’ Meal-obsessed frenzy, thus creating a nationwide shortage that robs me of my favorite brand. Or maybe I’m just lazy and forgetful.
A couple of years back, I took a look at Millville’s (Aldi) offering of their own cinnamon cereal, and found a brand that was in sharp decline. Their cinnamon-toasted cereal used to be covered in cinnamon sugar, with cereal pieces that were so light and airy that it was almost like eating a cinnamon churro…dessert for breakfast. But as of the last time I had them, the cereal pieces seemed smaller, and all of them were tougher, like they were burnt. I thought maybe it was just a bad batch–maybe they were burnt after all–but another box revealed the same thing, and so I was content with just going without them.
But then I happened onto Malt o’ Meal Cinnamon Toasters at Big Lots one day. I’d had them before, and loved them, but was worried that they had also altered their formula. Thankfully, they had not. That what also a couple of years ago, and as Big Lots has continued to carry them off-and-on ever since then, I have continued to get them. So I can assure you that these are every bit as good today as they were then. The cereal pieces are light and fluffy, and each one is loaded with cinnamon-sugar. The biggest drawback is that since they are so light, it doesn’t take long at all for them to get soggy in milk. I like the flavor enough that I think it overwhelms this little problem, but those that like their cereal to be a little more resistant to liquids might not be as forgiving as I am.
Big Lots often carries these in 10 oz. “trial size” packages for only $1. Since they are in bags, as opposed to boxes, you might be fooled into thinking that there’s not enough here to justify spending a dollar on. But that would be quite a foolish oversight on your part. The “standard” size for the national brand is 12.2 oz., and yet it can cost three times as much! This is an even better deal than the larger bags of Cinnamon Toasters that Big Lots had at the time, so I was sure to stock up on these, as I do on almost every trip when they are available. Definitely one of my favorite cereals out there.
Overall: 9.5/10. I get these quite frequently, when Big Lots has the 10 oz. “trial size” version for a mere $1, and it has quickly become one of my favorite cereals. I used to enjoy getting Aldi’s brand of these, but they’ve since changed their formula, and I find them to be largely inedible. Malt o’ Meal’s version, however, feature light cereal pieces, and each one is coated with a very generous helping of cinnamon and sugar. If you’re not into sweet stuff, this is definitely not the cereal for you. The downside to the puffy cereal is that it gets soggy in milk very quickly, but the delicious flavor makes up for most of that problem. This is pretty close to a perfect cereal, though the amount of sweetness means that I can’t eat it all the time, or else I’d get pretty sick of it. With a price, and quality, like this, it’s one more reason to avoid even looking at the more expensive brands.
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These reviews don't surprise me one bit, you usually can't go wrong with malt 'o meal products. 🙂
I'm so glad I'm not the only one that thinks that! By far my favorite single cereal company.