Good morning and happy birthday to me.
Since the beginning of the year the world has been focused on very weighty matters while a quiet revolution has taken place in the breakfast cereal world. Since I was 12 years old, which if you do the subtraction, was 39 years ago I have been a frequent eater of Quaker Life Cereal. My father chose Chex Rice cereal as his constant favorite but I liked the sweet nuttiness of Life. I didn't care who paid for it I just would ask for it and it magically appeared in the cupboard above the stove. Quaker can thank me for my faitfulness up until now.
To my recollection Life never included a toy in the box so its not like I was lured as a customer by a toy like a dullard. But one early year I do recall an offer on the side of the box for a Revell plastic model airplane kit. It was a DC-9 American Airlines airliner and it was probably 4 or 5 dollars but I could be off; minor detail. Life was just a quality cereal, non-candy, that tried to be good for kids before it was fashionable and trendy to eat puffed cardboard pieces.
When I grew up and began a family of my own you naturally look for ways of cutting costs. Life was going for $5 a box for a while and I just had to cut back somewhere. I started buying all sorts of cereals which I won't go in to but after the black-white generic experiment bit the dust there became more and more store brand knock-offs of mainline brands. This was smart because the mainline brands paid for the advertising, rolled the cost into their cereal then the consumer, if he was wise, would buy the store brand. I waited and watched and waited for years for a store brand knock-off of Life cereal. Walmart had the lowest cost for Life.
Just two weeks ago my wife went grocery shopping and came home with a cereal called Simple Living oat cereal. Finally the patent or whatever was holding things back timed out and Hannaford of Sweetbay grocery stores had produced a competitor to Quaker Life. What follows are the results of the taste test by an experienced consumer...me.
Appearence is remarkably the same down to the waffle hole counts. Compared to Life the texture of Simple Living in your mouth with milk was ever so slightly coarser but that's not a problem. Both tastes are almost identical with Life coming out ever so slightly sweeter. I suspect Hannaford was able to save money here by not putting as much sugar in the mix. Life cereal's nutty flaver is brighter and maybe fresher tasting but Simple Living is just as nutty flavored but a little darker or stronger and this may be due to differences in roasting the cereal. I tried to take a fair picture of the two cereals side by side with equal lighting. I have spotlights in my stove hood so the lighting is not equal but fair enough. Try Simple Living I think you will enjoy the right-on taste and the cost savings. Ironically Walmart had Life with a reduced price last time I visited the cereal aisle and this may have reflected the new competition.
If anyone out there can shed any light on how pricing is determined and know of any other competitor to Life let me know with your comments. Anybody an expert on cereal production chime in too.