HOUSTON – Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles ... no matter what type you buy, most families pick up at least one box of breakfast cereal each week at the grocery store.
Like anything else, you can save a lot of money buying the store brand versions instead of the big name brands; but can you taste the difference?
We assembled some serious cereal aficionados for a blind taste test.
"Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles ... anything with sugar on it, I'll eat it," confessed Channel 2's Owen Conflenti.
Channel 2 promotions producer Derek Stokely said he could eat cereal for every meal.
"Breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes for dessert after dinner," he said.
Honey Bunches of Oats is associate producer Tiana Lee's favorite cereal.
We served up some of their favorite brands along with their cheaper store brand knock-offs. The testers couldn't look at the cereal for clues as to which bowl contained the name brand or the store brand.
These are the 10 kinds of cereal we tested (prices were adjusted to compare ounce for ounce):
Kellogg's Frosted Flakes: $3.50
HEB Sugar Frosted Flakes: $2.19
One tester preferred this store brand to Kellogg's.
Based on 17 ounces.
General Mills Lucky Charms: $3.26
Aldi Millville Marshmallows & Star: $1.35
The testers' favored the brand name hands-down
Based on 11.5 ounces.
Honey Nut Cheerios: $3.16
Kroger Honey Nut Toasted Oats: $1.79
Testers unanimously agreed the real Honey Nut Cheerios taste better than Kroger's version.
Based on 12.25 ounces.
Post Honey Bunches of Oats: $2.48
Aldi Millville Honey Crunch n' Oats: $1.35
One tester preferred the Aldi version even though she eats Post Honey Bunches of Oats regularly.
Based on 18 ounces.
Cap n' Crunch with Berries: $3.71
Malt-o-Meal Berry Colossal Crunch: $3.48
While there is only a small savings, testers agreed the generic cereal tastes so similar to the real Cap n' Crunch, they would save their money and buy the generic brand.
Based on 26 ounces.
All three testers agreed that the real magically delicious Lucky Charms taste better than the Aldi version of the cereal.
They also said they'd pay the extra $1.37 for the real Honey Nut Cheerios over the less tasty Kroger brand Honey Nut Toasted Oats.
Lee was tripped up by Aldi's Honey Crunch n' Oats. She thought it tasted better and was the real deal.
"No! I'm embarrassed!" Lee laughed when consumer expert Amy Davis told her the cereal she selected was the cheaper store brand that cost almost half the price of the name brand Honey Bunches of Oats.
HEB's store brand Frosted Flakes had Owen fooled. He picked them over Kellogg's as the tastiest. Kellogg's Frosted Flakes are $3.50 while HEB's knock-off is just $2.19.
Only promotions producer Derek Stokely correctly separated all of the generic cereals from their name brand rivals.
While everyone could tell the real Cap'n Crunch with Berries from the Malt-o-Meal Colossal Berry Crunch, all three testers agreed the taste was so similar they would buy the generic version.