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Taste test: quick cooking oatmeal

Serving size half cup half cup half cup
Calories 150 140 150
Fat/Fiber 3g / 4g 2.5g / 4g 3g / 4g
Sugars/Sodium 1g / 0mg 0g / 0mg 1g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein 27g / 5g 26g / 5g 27g / 5g

One cold weekend is enough to remind us of the warm and yummy taste of oatmeal for breakfast. It didn't take long into our tasting for panelists to realize they prefer their oatmeal with milk, raisins and brown sugar. But, in its simplest form, they found three brands they enjoyed enough to buy. We cooked seven brands on the stove top and added water to each.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(of of 100)
Great Value 70Publix 54Quaker Oats 49

Judges described Walmart's store brand of oatmeal as rustic. "It has a nice, brown chaff and it's got great, stiff texture," said one. Another described the texture as "oaty." Other panelists said they liked the look of the oatmeal. One said, "This has a nice gray color — like the old New York Times — before they went to color." Our judges preferred this cereal because they liked the firmness of the oats. "This holds together well enough that you can sculpt with it," joked one.The oatmeal from Publix was among the top picks when our panelists first sampled the hot cereal seven years ago. Back then, judges called the Publix oatmeal classic. "For whatever reason, this one says, 'Slather me with butter and a dash of salt,' " said one judge. "It's delicious." Another said she liked the cereal because it was thick with visible grains and good texture. "It's richly oaty, very wholesome and would be really good on a cold morning," she said. "This is screaming for butter and honey," said another who liked the look of the cereal.Quaker's oatmeal was the favorite for a couple of judges. "It's got real body to the oats and a fresh meadow scent," said one. "It's very hearty with a smooth, nutty flavor," said another. One panelist said he would have preferred larger oats, but the taste and texture were "satisfying."

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.68 for an 18-ounce box from Walmart.$1.79 for an 18-ounce box.$2.29 for an 18-ounce box from Target.

Also Sampled: The Fresh Market ($2.39 for an 18-ounce box from the Fresh Market, 39 points); My Essentials ($1.89 for an 18-ounce box from Sweetbay, 46 points); Market Pantry ($1.69 for an 18-ounce box from Target, 30 points); and McCann's ($4.79 for a 16-ounce box from Target, 30 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; John Hehn, foodie & owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste test: quick cooking oatmeal 03/05/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 12:33pm]
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