Friday, February 3, 2012

Thoughts on Cereal

Micah has been driving to Marta lately, so I haven't been able to buy very many groceries. Yesterday he left me the car and I went on a big grocery trip for the first time in 2 weeks. Kroger was having this great sale where you could mix and match any 10 participating sale items and get an additional $5 off your total. After the $5, some of the deals equated to 99c goldfish, $1.99 Post cereals, 49c protein bars etc. One item was Mom's Best Natural Cereal for 99c a box, and I was really torn between the Mom's Best and the Post. I originally had an 18 oz box of Honey Bunches of Oats and a 20 oz box of Raisin Bran in my cart but then as I passed the whole foods aisle and I looked at the varieties of Mom's Best. I got an 11 oz box of (the equivilent of) golden grahams, a 16.5 oz box of frosted mini wheats and a 15 oz box of raisin bran instead, since it was more ounces for less money and it was a healthier choice.

I was lying in bed pondering my great shopping deals when it struck me: Why is cereal measured in ounces when we eat it by volume? I mean, every box of cereal contains a different number of ounces of cereal, which is understandable because different cereals weigh more or less. But they also come in different volumes. Sometimes this is obvious because the boxes are dramatically different dimensions (I noticed this with the natural cereal, which boasted recycled material and low-waste packaging), but even boxes of similair dimensions (I imagine there is a move toward uniformity for the purpose of shipping and stocking ease) have very different volumes (probably just more air in the bag). You can't really tell unless you read the serving size and number of servings in a box, to see how many cups of cereal there are. This is a much more useful number than the ounces. After all, who weighs the amount of cereal they eat? We measure by volume, filling a bowl. It makes bargain shopping very tricky because you must first calculate the volume and then compare prices to volume. I say we should put volume on the front of cereal instead of weight! And then move towards uniform volumes so that prices are an easily comparable indication of value.

That is all.

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