BORING STORY TIME! Everyone gather around, because I know these intros are your favorite part of this blog! We were in Cincinnati celebrating our anniversary when we stumbled on a place we’d always wanted to visit: Jungle Jim’s!
For anyone not in the loop, it’s a small chain of supermarkets in the Cincinnati/Kentucky area that offer a wide variety of international foods and goodies. It’s marketed as more of an “experience”, with samples throughout (though of course none were available when we went because of COVID), exotic fruits you can’t find just anywhere, over-the-top displays, fountains at the entrance, and even their own events center, complete with an executive chef and monorail that can drive between indoor and outdoor venues. Clearly, this isn’t just a typical supermarket!
Of course, being as large as it is—not to mention all the exclusive and hard-to-find items they carry—means that they aren’t really interested in being “affordable”; by going with the “experience” angle, they can mark up their prices without facing much backlash because, hey, “we have a train”! While that’s all well and good (and the place is cool—we spent at least three hours there and I don’t even think made it to every aisle), that can wreak havoc on people looking to grab some goods on a budget.
At first, I didn’t think they had their own store brand—and as it turns out, they don’t. But my investigation did lead me to discover some products they carry made by a company called Essential Everyday, which make private label versions of name brand products, and then distribute them to a variety of retailers. So while it’s not Jungle Jim’s “own” stuff, they still seem to be cheaper than buying the national brands (which, in some cases, isn’t entirely true).
Moving onto the product itself, this is a pretty decent impostor of the national brand for the price. The flakes are pretty lightly frosted, which you can tell by looking at them…there’s a light coating on the outside, kind of similar to a glaze, which appears to wash off pretty quickly after milk is added. The sweet flavor takes a little while to dissipate, but I will say, by the end of the bowl (I add a lot of milk) I was basically eating corn flakes with sweet milk instead. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but I’d definitely prefer getting the sweetness from the cereal itself.
While the cereal is still crunchy, though, these are pretty good, especially for those who enjoy their cereals lightly sweetened. Once you take a bite, the sweetness takes a little bit to kick in, offering up a tasty, almost powdered sugary style taste that gives way to a finish that consists mainly of corn flakes. I would expect this more later on, as the sugary coating wears off, but it is kind of disappointing that it basically happens from the first bite.
One thing I did like a lot is that these seemed to stay crunchy longer than some other brands; even when they did get mushy (inevitable considering the amount of cereal I eat in one sitting paired up with the amount of milk I add) they didn’t get as disgusting as some other knockoffs I’ve tried. Some just kind of wither away into an almost gelatinous glob that can almost become difficult to force down, but these at least seemed to retain some of their original structure even after they broke down.
Now comes the one variable where past Everyday Essential products have failed incredibly in my past experiences: price. Well, by “products” I mean the two other ones I’ve tried, but in both cases, they were priced higher than even their national brand counterparts. Here, though, the good quality of the cereal is matched up with a price point of $1.99 (per 15 oz. box), which is about a dollar under what you can expect to pay for the national brand. It’s nowhere near Earth-shattering savings, but it’s substantial enough to be worth it…which isn’t something I can say about some of the other things they offer.
Overall: 7/10. At least there’s one product from Everyday Essentials that isn’t an Everyday Ripoff: this cereal is pretty close in flavor and texture to the national brand, and for about a dollar less than the comparable national brand product (which also offers 1.5 fewer ounces!) The “frosted” in the title comes in the form of a glaze that reminded me of powdered sugar; it does wash off of the flakes rather quickly after adding milk, leading to bites of mostly plain flakes in overly sweet milk, but at least the tastes are still there. It’s not the best example of frosted flakes that I’ve ever had, but it gets the job done and for a reasonable price.