Saturday, June 16, 2012

Frosted Mini-Wheats

Sticking with our cereal theme, today we compared Kellogg's Bite Size Frosted Mini-Wheats and Great Value Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal. After all, who doesn't eat cereal (especially if you have toddlers who need a portable and non-messy snack to munch on when you're on the go)? Even if you don't have toddlers at home, we've found a lot of people are curious about generic cereals, since the generic versions seem so much cheaper than the name brand ones.

Price: getting right to the bottom line, just like the generic Cheerios, the generic frosted shredded wheat cost about 25% less than the brand name version. And for those of you who have really good eyesight (or a really big high-definition computer screen) and noticed in the picture to the left that we are comparing the 18 oz. size Frosted Mini-Wheats and the 24 oz. size Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal, don't worry, we took the different sized boxes (price per ounce) into account when comparing the prices. Isn't that tricky, though? These were the sizes available on the shelf, and the boxes look like they are the same size, so if you weren't paying very close attention to the ounces written on the box you would think you were getting the same amount of cereal for the same price - each of these boxes of cereal were the exact same price at our local Wal-Mart. So keep an eye out for that before you dismiss the generic because it's the same price as the brand name version!
Update: while shopping recently we noticed there was a 24 oz. size Frosted Mini-Wheats (called the "value size" box) on the shelf. Not sure if we just missed this one before or if it was out of stock, but comparing the 24 oz. size price on both brands reduces the savings when buying the GV cereal to only 17%.

Ingredients: (almost identical)

Great Value Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal: whole wheat, sugar, gelatin, reduced iron, niacinamide, zinc oxide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate), tricalcium phosphate, folic acid, vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). BHT added to packaging to help preserve freshness.

Frosted Mini Wheats: whole grain wheat, sugar, 2% or less of brown rice syrup, gelatin, BHT for freshness. Vitamins and minerals: reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), zinc oxide, folic acid, vitamin B12.

Calories/Nutritional Information: both versions had about the same amount of calories and fat per serving (the serving sizes were a tiny bit different so we had to get out our calculators again!), and, based on our calculations, the brand name version had slightly more potassium, carbohydrates, and protein per serving. The brand name version also had slightly higher concentrations of phosphorous and copper per serving than the generic version. We're not sure how much phosphorous and copper a person needs in their diet, but if that's important to you, there you go.

Appearance: unlike the Cheerios and their generic counterpart, which looked almost identical, the generic frosted shredded wheat looked very different from the Frosted Mini Wheats, as you can see below:

generic vs. brand name
brand name vs. generic, side view

and here they are side by side (well, up and down - we tried to put these pictures side by side but could not for the life of us get them to cooperate! Can a more experienced blogger help us out? Is it possible to put two pictures side by side?) We didn't label these because we were sure from the pics. above that you would be able to tell which is which (there are the same number of pieces of cereal per bowl, by the way, for a fair comparison):

So obviously the brand name shredded wheat chunks are bigger and more "airy" (there is just more space in them) than the generic. But there was something else about the generic version that we can only describe as a more "processed" look. The generic squares were more compressed and the shredded wheat strands thinner and in perfectly straight lines, while the name brand squares looked rougher and less put together/less processed. Have you all seen those cereal commercials talking about how when something is closer to its natural form (less processed) it's healthier? Apparently in the world of cereal, unlike the professional world, being less put together/polished is more desirable. If that's true that might be something to consider when you're deciding which type of frosted shredded wheat to buy.

Texture/the chew test: Although this seems weird, we agreed there was something more satisfying about chewing up the Frosted Mini Wheats. The extra airy space and bigger chunks made them crunchier and textur-ier (we're sure that's not a word, but oh well) than the generic version, and that made them more fun to eat for some reason. We did a milk test again, too, and again, cereal seems to turn to mush at the same rate, no matter the brand or particular texture and consistency. So no difference there.

and last but not least...

Taste: finding a difference in the taste of the Frosted Mini Wheats and the Great Value
Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal was pretty much impossible. They both tasted like frosted shredded wheat. They had equal amounts of sweetness from the frosted part and wheatiness from the shredded wheat part. We honestly couldn't tell a difference in the taste.

Bottom line: getting the generic frosted shredded wheat is a good bet - you're going to get the same taste and nutrition for 25% less.... however, if you get hung up on texture, the generic version is never going to compare to the extra crunchiness of Frosted Mini Wheats.

Other blog stuff: please comment! Let us know if you agree or disagree, if you would like us to add other categories, and what foods you'd like us to compare next! We would love to hear from you. And even better than commenting, become a follower! Just click the link on the right side. Then you won't miss any of our comparisons. Which you wouldn't want to do, because who knows, maybe the next one will be the exact generic you've been itching to try!

Coming soon: peanuts, chocolate syrup, tortillas and more - stay tuned!


  1. I really like that you're doing this! Awesome, Carrie!

  2. The word you were looking for was probably texturized not textur-ier.

    Anyway... I have personally tried many boxes of the Kellogs frosted mini wheats and the generic brand. I have also tried many different generic store brands from walmart, safeway, and albertsons. All of the generic brands seemed perfectly identical. I actually was addicted to the generic frosted shredded wheat and ate a whole box in one sitting on accident.

    One day there was an awesome sale on name brand Kellogs (4 boxes for $10 + free gallon of milk!) so i was excited because if the generics were so good then kellogs had to be the BEST! I got the cereal and went home and had a bowl right away. The Kellogs looked like they had more frost on each square, which I LOVE the frost. As i ate the bowl i became pretty disappointed. The kellogs was not as good as generic, surprisingly, and i didn't even really want my usual second bowl. Also since i been eating Kellogs i have not had the regular craving for Frosted wheats as i did before.

    I thought it was maybe just because it was a change, but i have eating Kellogs many times now and have came to the conclusion that it isnt me and that generic simply beats Kellogs in taste. Also the kellogs didnt have the same sweetness as generic did.

    Also you said that Great Value wasnt as "airy" as kellogs, but the other generics i have tried from safeway and albertsons were just as big as the Kellog wheats.

    SO GENERIC WINS BY KNOCKOUT!!! It beats kellogs in price, taste, and it lets you keep your dignity by not having to buy $5 box of cereal that lasts you 4 bowls. I was really disappointed in Kellogs because i was sure that it was going to be better, but in my life i have noticed that generic cereals actually beat out name brand in taste in some other types of cereal as well, so you have to give them a chance.