One of the things we always stock up on when visiting the UK is cereal. With muesli in France typically costing a minimum of €3.75 for a large box of around 750g, and other cereals not coming in at much better (the lower-priced ones, even the supermarket own brands, tend to be either heavily commercialised or based on brand-name products, and are often full of sugar), the offers we see on cereal in the UK are very welcome (2kg of Jordans cereal for £4? YES PLEASE.).
So when I saw this cereal on buy-one-get-one-free on offer in our local supermarket recently, I jumped at it:
This is a form of Quaker Life cereal which doesn’t appear to be sold in Britain or the US. I normally like those cereals with the freeze-dried strawberries in, so felt hopeful. However, when I opened it this morning I was disappointed to find that it was just unbearably sweet: the cereal flakes on their own might be alright, but the strawberries seemed overly sugary and artificially flavoured, while the chunks of oats are probably fused together with sugar as well. Not what you would expect for a brand that is most famous for its oat cereals and which promotes a healthy lifestyle with a good start to the day (this cereal in particular also promises to lower cholesterol – but with the amount of sugar it must contain, I seriously doubt it would). I’ll be keeping this one to apportion into snack boxes to have when the 4pm munchies hit me, I suspect.
Worryingly this all makes sense given that the website for our local supermarket lists cereals and other breakfast foodstuffs under “épicerie sucrée”: namely, “sweet groceries”. That probably explains why the French think the concept of sausage sandwiches for breakfast is so weird.
So what do we usually have for our breakfast cereal here in France and what does it cost us? Here are the ones we most often go for:
MONOPRIX CORNFLAKES – €1,61/375g
Probably the cheapest option, this is the supermarket own brand version of Kelloggs cornflakes. My parents aren’t big brand-name buyers, but Kelloggs cornflakes is one of the few things they do always have in – and when they tasted these, their reaction was highly favourable. Definitely a good basic to have around – but sadly, the amount of air in any packet of cornflakes means a box doesn’t last as long as, say, muesli (of which there is usually more anyway, with muesli being sold here in boxes of at least 500g).
KELLOGGS CORNFLAKES – €2,02/375g
Basically the same as the Monoprix version, but 41 cents more. We only buy this if it’s on offer or the Monoprix own brand isn’t available.
MONOPRIX ORGANIC MUESLI – €2,22/375g
We should actually really get this one more often. With 25% fruit and 4 different grain types, it’s really quite filling and is possibly one of the most affordable mueslis out there (although at €5,92 a kilo, it’s actually more expensive than Jordans muesli kilo for kilo). It also comes in a handy pouring pouch that’s properly resealable, so is great for breakfasts on the go, and it’s probably this that you pay the extra money for.
JORDANS ORGANIC MUESLI – €3,45/500g
As with Quaker, Jordans’ range varies between countries, with a much wider offering being available in the UK (I went to their website to see if the organic muesli was available, and found that it wasn’t, but am still there drooling over their other choices). To my mind this is one of the best supermarket mueslis going, as it remains uncorrupted by those evil banana pieces.
JORDANS SPECIAL MUESLI – €3,75/750g
Yes, we are Jordans addicts in this house – and that’s even without the full range offered in Britain. This box obviously lasts us longer but enables us taking more of a hit at the checkout (as well us giving us a heavier box to carry home). Plus, even though it’s 33% fruit and nuts (definitely an advantage), it does contain the evil banana pieces for me to pick out.
JORDANS COUNTRY CRISP – €3,95/550g
The grandaddy of them all price-wise, it’s probably also the most sugary and the worst value for money, seeing as you only get 550g in the box. This box would probably last us about five days, meaning a last-minute dash to the supermarket on Friday night (NICE). While the pecan and maple syrup flavours are amazing, I’m not sure if it’s worth nearly €4 a box – especially as there’s also no dried fruit in this one, only nuts. And in the UK, this is priced at a mere £2 a box! How is that fair?!
Having surveyed our supermarket website to find our regular cereals for you, I’ve definitely learned a few things. Bigger branded boxes, or any own-brand box, is going to be better than the smaller offerings from the big names. A no-brainer really. Plus, some of the other supermarket own-brand cereals that I haven’t tried before now are definitely worth me checking out next time I’m there. I’ll be steering clear of Quaker Life for sure – but as I tell my husband every time I bring home something new and suspicious-looking, if we don’t like it, we don’t have to buy it again. Simples.