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April 4, 2011

You Can’t Judge a Cereal by its Cover

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:34 am

An alert consumer recently called into a radio program wondering why the Post Raisin Bran he bought at Costco tasted so different from the Post Raisin Bran purchased at a conventional supermarket. Was Post making a cheaper version of its Raisin Bran to sell at the discount warehouse he wondered?

Here’s the scoop, so to speak.

The product on the left is the latest version carried in supermarkets, while the one on the right is available only at Costco. You’ll note at the top of the box on the right is the Costco store brand “Kirkland”. A look at the ingredients labels sheds light on what’s going on here.

*MOUSE PRINT:

The recipes look nothing alike. A notable difference is that the Costco version might have more raisins since it is listed first in the ingredients list, while the original Post version has wheat flour first. If in fact it has more raisins that would make it more expensive, not cheaper.

*MOUSE PRINT:

With respect to nutrition, they both contain 190 calories a cup, but Post contains over double the salt, and a little more fiber and sugar. Costco has a bit more fat. Each brand has a different array of vitamins and percentages.

So what is the story behind the story here? According to a customer service representative at Post, Costco asked Post to develop a recipe for a private brand of raisin bran to be sold under the joint Kirkland/Post label. The Kirkland version uses different raisins and different flakes. The product is not manufactured by Post for Costco, according to the representative. He could not speak to the economics behind the two recipes.

So that solves the mystery of the tale of two raisin brans.

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14 Comments

  1. I have no problem with Costco having Post come up with a new raisin bran recipe for their Kirkland brand. I also have no particular problem with the Post brand being put on a cereal made by a third party. What puzzles me is why both Costco and Post would want to put the Raisin Bran name on something that is so different from the Raisin Bran sold in other stores. I know, I know, the Costco cereal is “Premium Raisin Bran” as opposed to just the normal “Raisin Bran” shown on the other box, but how many people will notice that difference? The Costco cereal should be called something else, or at the very least the package design should more clearly indicate that the contents are not Post Raisin Bran as sold elsewhere.

    Comment by Richard — April 4, 2011 @ 10:45 am
  2. Thanks for researching this. While the packages seem pretty clear to me, I can see how someone might get confused. Hopefully I won’t accidentally buy the wrong box. I prefer the taste of Kellogg’s version anyway, which is yet another raisin bran recipe.

    Comment by Toddy541 — April 4, 2011 @ 12:08 pm
  3. Also note the Kirkland box says Post PREMIUM Raisin Bran, possibly an indication as to why there are more raisins than with the regular product.

    Comment by PC — April 4, 2011 @ 2:34 pm
  4. If the Raisin Bran is “not manufactured by Post for Costco”, then why is the Post label on it? That in itself seems deceptive to me. If the product is made by “XYZ cereal maker” for Kirkland, then shouldn’t that be the co-brand on the box? If I see the Post label on the box of cereal, then I would assume that it is similar, if not the same as the Post cereal down the aisle. Shame on both Costco and Post!

    Comment by sfarrell1007 — April 5, 2011 @ 4:13 pm
  5. I picked up the Costco rasin bran. It tastes horrible by comparison to the original Post Rasin Bran. I fel that I just wasted my money on an inferior product. It would have been nice to see the ingredients labels side by side before purchase just to tell that this was not the same cereal as expected, but Costco doesn’t sell regular Post Rasin Bran. I feel that they have cheated me.

    Comment by John — April 7, 2011 @ 9:20 am
  6. Well then, who does make the cereal? If it’s not Post, who is the manufacturer? Is this product made in China perhaps? I think the Mouseprint article doesn’t go far enough. The mystery is not solved yet. Where does the cereal come from? I’d like to know.

    Comment by Frank — April 12, 2011 @ 9:06 am
  7. Since Post has no ongoing business relationship with Costco on this Kirtland cereal (Post is not manufacturing or overseeing production), it sounds like Post is “renting” their name recognition to Costco. If the manufacturer bakes a bad-tasting batch, Post risks having its name attached to a problem beyond its control.

    Comment by anonymous — April 19, 2011 @ 5:06 pm
  8. Two comments:
    “A notable difference is that the Costco version might have more raisins since it is listed first in the ingredients list …”
    How hard could it have been for the author to weigh the raisins in each and tell us? That would have been helpful.

    Regarding John’s comment about being ripped off by the Costco brand, be advised Costco will cheerfully refund your purchase price for anything they sell that you are dissatisfied with. Just return the unused portion.

    Comment by Curious — April 22, 2011 @ 5:20 pm
  9. I think Costco’s new Raisin Bran is wonderful. The bran flavor really comes through.

    Comment by Perumexican — May 27, 2011 @ 9:51 pm
  10. I just tried the Costco raisin bran for the first time, and it is so much better! The flakes are thicker and crunchier, and the raisins aren’t encrusted with sugar. The regular Post raisin bran is flavorless and gets all mushy as soon as you pour the milk in, and the little stale raisins are sugar bombs, meaning that the regular raisin bran has more sugar in it than many “sugar cereals.” And the flavorless flakes – it’s like they sweep up the floor after they’re finished making a good cereal and just smush that into flakes. The Costco raisin bran flakes have a hearty bran taste somewhere between Wheaties and Product 19. The Costco raisin bran tastes just like a bran muffin with raisins in it, and stays crunchy to the end. I’ll be buying it again.

    Comment by Gabo — June 10, 2011 @ 12:13 pm
  11. I love the “POST Premium Raisin Brans” which until recent were always available at COSTCO! Many times, I only visited COSTCO for this produce. Yes, the raisins were more than in other regular Raisin Brans, and seemed sweeter and fresher. The Brans were larger and crisper. This was an excellant product. I AM HIGHLY UNHAPPY THAT THIS PRODUCE SEEMS TO BEEN PULLED FROM THE SHELVES AT COSTCO!

    Comment by Norris Smith — August 5, 2011 @ 9:24 am
  12. I was quite ticked off to find that the “Post” Raison Bran I purchased at Costco was not really Post Raison Bran. It was gross and I threw the whole box in the trash. Yes, shame on both Costco and Post for misleading customers.

    Comment by Jan Spiech — September 13, 2011 @ 1:19 pm
  13. I still want to know where Kirkland Raison Bran is actually made. Why is it so hard to find out this info. I am getting really disappointed with Costco converting so many brand name products I use to the Kirkland Brand which are more often as not inferior to the brand name products. Tell us where it is made. Why is it a secret?

    Comment by Eva Adler — May 11, 2012 @ 12:09 pm
  14. I love the “POST Premium Raisin Brans” which until recent were always available at COSTCO! Many times, I only visited COSTCO for this produce. Yes, the raisins were more than in other regular Raisin Brans, and seemed sweeter and fresher. The Brans were larger and crisper. This was an excellant product. I AM HIGHLY UNHAPPY THAT THIS PRODUCE SEEMS TO BEEN PULLED FROM THE SHELVES AT COSTCO!
    Comment by Norris Smith — August 5, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHICH COSTCO IN NYC OR LONG ISLAND, NY STILL CARRIES THE KIRKLAND POST RAISIN BRAN? I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR IT FOR OVER A YEAR BECAUSE THE COSTCO IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD STOPPED STOCKING IT FOR OVER A YEAR NOW. THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY TIP.

    Comment by Jane — May 19, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

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