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Is Quaker Lower Sugar Oatmeal Really Lower in Sugar?

Alan B. recently wrote to us saying that Quaker Oats was promoting its lower sugar variety of instant oatmeal as having a 33% reduction in sugar. He suggested this was a bit of smoke and mirrors because while the ingredients were the same, the packets of the lower sugar version were simply about one-third less in weight than the regular version, so of course they are lower in total sugar.

Quaker Regular vs Lower Sugar

So, we launched a massive investigation to see if there was an actual reduction in sugar or if it was just a packaging trick.


Quaker comparison

The regular version had 11 grams of sugar per packet, while the lower sugar one had only four grams. But because the packets are different sizes, we have to look at the percentage of sugar in each. The regular version is 26% sugar and the lower-cal version is only 13% sugar. If the lower sugar version packet was the same size as the regular one, its sugar content would be 5.5 grams – exactly half the amount in the higher sugar version.

So you really are getting a product with significantly less sugar. And despite our reader’s assertion that the ingredients are the same, they are not.


Quaker ingredients

Since ingredients are listed in the order of predominance, there are actually more apples in the lower sugar version than sugar.

So Quaker appears to be under representing the reduction in sugar on the box. The lower sugar version has 50% less sugar, not the 35% claimed.

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8 thoughts on “Is Quaker Lower Sugar Oatmeal Really Lower in Sugar?”

  1. I suspect that Quaker meant to say that the low-sugar version had 35% as much sugar as the regular version, which would be a 65% reduction. Although as Edgar points out, it’s really a 50% reduction in an apples-to-apples (sorry) comparison.

  2. There is not much good news as Quaker is deceiving customers and giving people a smaller breakfast meal. I bet is is the same price also. Nothing new in the industry, any newly released version of a brand is subject to benefiting the company by deception.

  3. Happy to see, at least in this case, Quaker wasn’t lying. I think it creates a really interesting problem though; let’s say, hypothetically, that it was the same amount of sugar by weight, would their claim still be correct since 35% smaller packages does mean 35% less sugar?

    Mike H had mentioned that it is less oatmeal for the same price, which is true, but the ingredients label makes it clear that the recipe has changed. Most notably, dried apples make up a higher percentage of the overall weight than in the regular version. This accounts for some of the cost differences.

    • I suspect that we cannot determine whether either product has more oatmeal or apples than the other. Monkfruit sweetener is (gram for gram) much sweeter than sugar, so I can believe that if they left all of the other ingredients the same, the low-sugar version would naturally weigh less.

      Although clearly the order of cinnamon and “natural flavors” is different, so there must be some differences other than just the sweeteners used.

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