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Quaker Helping The Fight Against High Cereal Prices

Marian Burros New York Times

Responding to the chorus of consumer complaints about high cereal prices, the Quaker Oats Co. has introduced a line of six bagged cereals that it says cost 40 percent to 50 percent less than the leading national brands of cereals.

Quaker, which has only 8 percent of the cold cereal market, is keeping prices low on the new cereals by using a cellophane-type bag. And it will not advertise or offer coupons for the cereals.

“What Quaker Oats is doing is a smart idea when you are fourth and there is all that sentiment out there for lower prices,” said Martin Friedman, editor of Gorman’s New Products News, a publication in Chicago that tracks the rise and fall of supermarket products.

The suggested retail price for the 13- to 18-ounce bags is $1.99 - the cost stays the same despite the range in size so that consumers can find consistent pricing, Quaker says - making the cereals even less expensive, in some instances, than house-brand cereals.

The full line includes alternatives to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops, General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms, Post’s Golden Crisp and Quaker’s own Cap n’ Crunch.

The Quaker cereals generally taste the same as the cereals they are imitating; the nutrition profile is generally similar, but not in every instance. It is worth comparing the products if price is not the only issue.

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