Which is the Best Raisin Bran Cereal Brand?
Post, Kellogg's, Kirkland, Skinner Brands
Raisin Bran Breakfast Cereals
also known as sultana bran in some countries, is a ready-to-eat
breakfast cereal consisting of bran flakes and raisins. Bran flakes are
typically made with whole wheat and wheat bran,
plus some added sugar and other ingredients. Bran is the hard outer
layer of the wheat grain, which is high in dietary fiber and other
In the U.S., the most popular brands of raisin bran are Kellogg's and Post.
Kellogg promotes its brand with the "smiling sun" mascot and advertises
"two scoops of raisins in every box." Since there's no actual "scoop"
measuring unit, the promotional claim is absurd. Post advertises their
usage of Sun-Maid® brand raisins, although the raisin quality in the
box bears no resemblance to genuine Sun-Maid raisins.
Another cereal brand is Kirkland,
sold at Costco, which offers bulk (2-box) Post Raisin Bran under the
Kirkland label, and sometimes their own (non-Post) Kirkland Signature
organic raisin bran. Raisin bran cereal is also made by by Skinner,
the company that originally invented the cereal. The Skinner company
lost their trademark ownership of the Raisin Bran name in a 1944 court
case against Kellogg, due to the fact that the name is simply a generic
list of ingredients.
|2016 Update: My local Safeway store ran
out of Safeway Kitchens house brand of bran flakes. I saw that Kellogg's
Raisin Bran was on sale for about $3, so I got a box to try. I also got
a box of Trader Joe's bran flakes, $3.
The Kellogg's cereal had thin, somewhat limp flakes and rather hard
raisins with a sugary coating; I give them a grade of C+. The Trader
Joe's flakes were thick, firm, and crunchy, and since there are no
raisins, didn't suffer from the usual soggy flakes / hard raisins
dilemma; I give them a grade of B+, but only because I like thin flakes
better. If you like thick crunchy flakes, I recommend Trader Joe's for
good quality and consistently low price.
Raisin bran cereals are typically enriched with vitamins, making your
cereal nutritionally equivalent to some whole grain, some dried fruit,
and a multivitamin pill with iron. Raisin bran cereals are all
rather high in sugar due to the natural sugar in raisins and added sugar
or high-fructose corn syrup. The added folate
and iron are beneficial,
especially if you are a woman of child-bearing age, but too much
supplemental folate can be undesirable if you are older. Check the
nutrition label to make
sure that the cereal meets your needs.
Which Brand Is Best?
So which brand of raisin bran tastes the best, offers the best
nutrition, and has the best value? As far as taste is concerned, you'll
have to try the cereals and decide for yourself, since there are no
Here are two review websites that might help you decide:
In my opinion, the bran flakes should be thin and easily crushed, not
thick or rigid; lightly crispy but not heavily crunchy. When milk is
added, the flakes should stay crispy for a short time, and then become
soggy if not eaten within a few minutes. This is not because sogginess
is desirable, but because a truly thin, crispy flake will not hold up in
a liquid. If you can't finish your bowl of cereal in a few minutes,
then you should pour out a smaller serving, add the milk, and eat it.
Then, if you want more, pour out another small serving.
The raisins should be moist and lightly chewy, not dry, dense, or hard;
and there should be no obvious additives such as sugar or oil coating.
In other words, they should be just like raisins that you buy in the
store. The number of raisins should be enough for one or two raisins per
spoonful of cereal at the most; more than that will overpower
the main ingredient, bran flakes.
Basic Problem: Dry Flakes, Moist Raisins
This brings us to the basic problem with all raisin bran cereals. The
flakes are dry and the raisins are moist, or they ought to be. So if you
mix plain raisins with bran flakes and store them in a box, the
moisture leaves the raisins and migrates to the flakes. This makes the
raisins dry and tough, and the flakes halfway-soggy and un-crisp.
To mitigate this quality problem, cereal manufacturers treat the raisins
with ingredients to help retain moisture, such as sugar-based and
oil-based coatings, which affect the taste and mouth-feel of the raisins. None of these
techniques are 100% effective, so you typically have raisins that are
dryer and harder than fresh raisins.
Simple Solution: Bran Flakes and Added Raisins
There's a simple solution to the problem. Instead of a pre-mixed raisin
bran cereal, buy a box of plain bran flakes and a package of fresh
raisins, and store them separately.
At breakfast time, pour out a
serving of bran flakes, sprinkle the desired number of fresh raisins,
add the milk, and eat. You get crispy flakes and moist raisins, in
just the perfect ratio for you. I like the Safeway house
brand of bran flakes, which you can get for about $2 per box when they
go on sale. There may be others that are equally good or better; give them a try
and let me know how you like them.
None so far. Be the first!
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