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May 11, 2009 09:54 AM

Which brands are you loyal to?

I only buy Hellman's Mayonaise. Kraft Mac and Cheese. Diet Coke. Lay's potato chips. Cambell's Soups. Barilla pasta. Tropicana juice. El Milagro tortilla chips. I don't really know why. It's not as if I have done taste tests or anything but I just always get these brands. What are you loyal to and why?

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  1. Heinz Ketchup, Hellman's mayo, Stouffers Mac and Cheese.

    49 Replies
      1. re: lilmomma

        You know, Cooks Illustrated (the same people who bring you PBS's "Americas Test Kitchen") did a blind taste test of ketchups, including fructose sweetened and organic varieties of big brands like Heinz. They broke down the ketchups in a lab to determine pectin content (to determine viscosity... a watery ketchup is unappetizing), salt levels, and pH (They determined that a high acidity level is important, as is a higher salt and sugar content, and a high tomato content).

        The winner....?


        I know it sounds like blasphemy. But it's true. Heinz was ranked "Recommended with Reservations" for being bland and too sweet, though texture was praised.

        Hunt's on the other hand was ranked high for an inviting, smooth texture, tangy fresh flavor and well balanced flavor profile.

        Heinz Organic came in at #2

        And the bottom-ranked one? Westbrae fruit sweetened ketchup (for being an overly sweet molasses and tomato train wreck.)

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          how ironic, because hunt's *tastes* sweeter than heinz, no matter what atk says.

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Yeah, it was strange, since a couple of years earlier, Heinz was the winner. Hunts tastes fine for a condiment, but Heinz IS ketchup.

            1. re: sbp

              Where is the prior taste test for ketchup? I didn't find one, either on the CI website or by doing a google search.

              I did, however, find this blind taste test that a newspaper set up in Heinz' hometown of Pittsburgh:


              Brand loyalty is a powerful thing!

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                It was around 1999-2000, I think. I remember the test because the editors wrote that they suspected Heinz won because the testers already have in their mind the Heinz as the benchmark. So of course, Heinz measured up to their ideal.

                1. re: sbp

                  But really, if I were to do a blind tasting of ketchup, I would have no idea what Heinz tasted like in relation to other ketchups... I would only know what tasted "right" and what tasted "wrong". But there's a whole flavor profile range of what would taste "right", and once that line is crossed, it would taste "wrong".

                  I'm addressing this simply because I feel it's always good to agitate complacent tastes and habits. How many things do we do, eat, experience in our lives not because we actively enjoy doing it, but simply because doing the same thing doesn't require any additional effort?

                  Truly, I'm much more comforted by the Heinz label than Hunts'. And it's also my impulse to reach for the white label. But I certainly wouldn't dismiss CI's findings out of hand without trying it out for myself.

                  Also, bear in mind that I'm not advocating one ketchup or the other. I haven't done the taste test myself. I'm simply presenting the information in order to agitate the complacent :)

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    i'm not stating a brand loyalty when i say that hunt's tastes sweeter than heinz. i rarely *buy* ketchup, as i don't use it very much.

                    and i hope you're not implying that brand loyalty is always born of "complacent tastes and habits" rather than of experience, and a decision about which product one prefers.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      When I was living with my parents there were certain brands that mom was loyal too. Of course I never knew anything else so that was what I bought when I moved out. Good Golly, was that a mistake. I started branching out and found that NO, I really don't like Miracle Whip! I ended up with totally different brands of everything from peanut butter to cleaning solutions. I had to keep my mouth shut around her, and be careful not to complain when I went to her house. She thought I was a traitor because I had salad dressings that were not made by Kraft! LOL! And yes, it was an informed decision that made me turn away from her Hunt's ketchup and start using Heinz.

                      1. re: danhole

                        this could almost qualify as a separate thread, what brands would you switch from if you had a choice (grew up and moved out, don't have to keep the spouse, parents, children happy, they sold the alternative in your area, etc)

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          You're touching on a very powerful and controversial subject...

                          That is, did our tastes develop because of habit or by choice?

                          Certainly a great argument can be made for habit, because cultures around the world eat different foods, and human tastes develop based on a lifetime of experience rooted in what our culture presented (or didn't present) to us. In America, many of us (including me) were primarily presented with the big brands we know and trust... Heinz ketchup, Quaker Oats, Philadelphia cream cheese, etc. But the question rarely comes up... WHY do we trust them, love them?

                          The easy answer is "because I like it, so go away and don't bother me Mr Taster". But I'm fascinated by the question... WHY do we like certain things and not others?

                          Let's say hypothetically you grew up in a society that historically only provided potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your friends, family, your peers all eat potatoes 3 times a day. Potatoes are shared at celebrations, at funerals, standard mealtimes. Some of the people in that society might be naturally inclined to like potatoes more than others, but everybody eats them because, well, that's what the diet is.

                          I believe that if those VERY SAME people from Potato Society grew up in Carrot Land, you'd have virtually the identical situation... everyone would eat carrots-- they'd have a special place in people's hearts. They'd want the carrots their mom grew. But everyone would eat them, because that's what the diet is and that's what's available.

                          Applying my high school level application of the scientific method, this says to me that when you have a common thread among divergent situations, you're getting closer to the truth. The food itself is incidental to the argument, and that tastes are malleable, flexible-- according to what we become used to, what our parents introduced us to, what our friends ate, and what we discover on our own within the limited paradigm of what actually is available to us. (For example, in Taiwan a great char broiled steak is very hard to come by, just as a great stinky tofu is hard to find here)

                          Bear in mind that I am not saying that Chowhounds do not exist in the Potato Society, Carrot Land, Taiwan or America. What I am saying is that I believe personal taste is largely arbitrary, and that what one likes or doesn't like is more about attitude, personal outlook, and yes-- HABIT rather than a critical decision or some hard wired "I like it" / "I don't like it" response to a particular flavor/texture/smell/etc.

                          To argue otherwise would be to tie ethnicity directly with taste for food, which I find extremely hard to swallow (*Rim shot*)

                          How often do we actually challenge the notion that Philadelphia cream cheese, for example, is really the tastiest/best value/best for you/whatever your criteria for evaluating and buying cream cheese is? I'll tell you what I believe.... almost never.

                          How many of us eat something simply because we're used to it, or because we simply don't know a better/tastier/more appealing alternative exists?

                          I'm still blowing people's minds with steel cut oats. My stepdad, an decades-long avowed oatmeal hater, tried it reluctantly several years ago. His reaction: "This can't be oatmeal." Case in point. There are so many things in our society which people like, or think they like, or don't like based on the fact that they just aren't aware of what else is out there, or because they don't feel comfortable challenging their comfort zone.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            you have a low opinion of people's ability to judge what they like and prefer, don't you?

                            1. re: alkapal

                              We only have the ability to choose from the limited set of choices presented to us at any given time in our lives.... first as kids (because our parents make the food-buying decisions for us) and later as adults as our tastes develop and grow.

                              At any given food-purchasing moment, we have a finite selection of foods to pick from, whether the choice is what's on the shelves of the local Megamart, or if we are choosing one of 5 lunch restaurants that's within a 10-minute walking radius of our workplace. Our choices are nearly always based on a selection of A, B or C... or 1, 2 or 3.... it's never realistically 1 - 9,999,999,999,999.

                              Imagine growing up in the suburbs and going apple shopping in a suburban supermarket. A mom is presented a choice of two different kinds of apples.... let's say Delicious and Mcintosh. She makes her apple buying decision for the family (and subsequently her kid's taste for apples is developed) based on those choices... i.e. the kid grows up associating sweet apples with Delicious, and sour with McIntosh. Let's say this suburban mom loved sour Mcintosh apples, but her kid tried them a few times hated them. For the kid's whole childhood he ate Delicious apples because he know that he intensely dislikes the other kind, the kind his mom liked.

                              Now let's move forward in time... the suburban kid grows up and only eats Delicious apples, because based on his experience "I don't like sour apples." That means out of 1) habit 2) lack of knowledge and 3) rebelling against his mom for making him eat sour apples, he has grown into an adult that thinks that all apples aside from Delicious are "unsafe" to eat (too sour, etc.). He instinctively gravitates towards Delicious apples, because that's what he knows, and quite frankly, he's got better things to do than worry about getting a bum apple. So he goes with what he knows. There's no crime in that.

                              Now imagine if this same kid had grown up on an apple orchard in the country... he grew up eating Fujis, Winesaps, Galas, Romes, Gravensteins, etc. His taste for apples would have developed entirely differently. With an entirely different set of circumstances forming his tastes, perceptions and habits, would the exact same person still come out of that apple orchard as a sour apple averse, Delicious-only-eating adult?

                              Again, I know many people love to reduce this question to "you either like it or you don't" but there are a really interesting, complex set of circumstances leading up to why people develop tastes for certain things and not others.

                              I really believe that culture (recognition of brand labels and peer influence), circumstance (the life events introducing you to specific foods), attitude (open mindedness) and- yes, habit, dictate our food preferences, not some inherent genetic blueprint that causes one person to like Mcintosh vs. Delicious, Hunts vs. Heinz, or stinky tofu vs. hamburgers.

                              True, it's all a matter of personal taste, but if what I've said is true, then our personal tastes are entirely arbitrary and given the right circumstances, people have the capacity to develop a taste for a lot more things than we give ourselves credit for.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                I would say that Mr. Delicious is sadly missing out on the incredibly delightful honey crisp apple, and that makes me sad.

                                  1. re: Languid Lass

                                    nay. you have to try goldrush. who wants a bloody watercored apple anyhow? Shit for pie, shit for anything cept eating. And they Do Not Keep.

                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                      wow, chowrin, i've never met anyone so passionate abut apple varieties! ;-).

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I'm in the apple club too...the differences between apple varieties is dramatic, and unfortunately, too many of the supermarket varieties are bred for uniform color or a too sweet taste (there are a few notable exceptions though). The best apple varieties are the ones that were selected from randomly found trees and grafted (this was common since apples do not grow true to type from seed)

                                        I so look forward to autumn, for visits to orchards that still grow the older varieties with some real character.

                                        1. re: The Professor

                                          Red delicious was bred to be square. I kid you not.
                                          (get some of the older "red delicious" and they're quite tasty. and round!)

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                To a certain extent what you say is true. If I ate mayonnaise "x" all my life, I am going to have a tendency to prefer mayonnaise "x". But what we find is that a certain number of people find they like mayonnaise "z" a whole lot better. The "z" people get on a website like chowhound and proclaim loud and long that "z" is a far superior mayonnaise. Eventually some of us are going to try mayonnaise "z" and decide it really does have a better flavor, or maybe we will decide that the "z" people need their tastebuds decertified. In any event we have a large enough taste base to encompass not only those who like mayo "x" with both their potatoes, and with their carrots, as well as those who have seen the light and changed to mayo '"z".

                                I know this is true because I think skippy is really good peanut butter. I used to think it was the ONLY peanut butter, then I came on chowhound and found that some people don't care about peanut butter, and others like other brands. After reading some of their comments I began to wonder, and one time when jif was on sale at the market i tried it. Lo and behold, I found that - for me - it did taste more like fresh peanuts. And I found that I liked that flavor. So now I buy jif, usually. Sometimes Skippy is on sale and I still like it, but I am now loyal to two brands.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    And then there is the question.... why did mayonnaise "x" get to become so popular in the first place? Is it truly a superior product (tastier, healthier, cheaper, etc.), or does it just benefit from generations of name/label recognition?

                                    Quaker Oats is a great example. A couple of years ago they had a commercial where they were interviewing "regular people" and one of the Joe-the-plumber types said something like "Seriously, what other oatmeal is there?" I wanted to scream and throw something at the TV every time I heard that. Steel cut oats are such a superior product in terms of flavor and texture, but the vast majority of Americans don't even know what they are or that they even exist.

                                    The typical person when entering the oatmeal aisle of the supermarket is going to be overwhelmed by a wall of the smiling blue Quaker oats man and grab one of 10 different kinds of the same product (old fashioned, quick cooking, etc.)

                                    The supermarket **might** stock some Irish oats... tucked away in the bottom shelf way in the back will be an overpriced $8 tin.

                                    So here's the problems:
                                    1. For most people, Quaker rolled oats IS oatmeal
                                    2. Supermarket might only stock Quaker/store brand rolled oats
                                    3. Steel cut oats are way more expensive
                                    4. Steel cut oats take way longer to cook (so for people that might overcome the intrinsic psychological/economic/marketing hurdles to actually pick up a tin with a foreign logo, they very well might be scared off by the 30 minute cooking time and put it back)

                                    Ultimately, the very small percentage of people that overcome those substantial hurdles will experience a vastly superior product. Of course not all will like it. And some will overcook them into mush, because that's what they're used to eating anyway. But a small percentage will take the time to find out how to cook them right, and their worldview of oatmeal will be transformed (like my stepfather, an avowed oatmeal hater, whose story I outlined in another post on this thread)

                                    *whew*. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There's no way this could go mainstream without a major marketing push with serious bucks behind it.

                                    Hmm... that begs another interesting hypothetical question...

                                    What if Quaker branded their own line of steel cut oats?

                                    I'd bet you that sales of steel cut oats would skyrocket. Admittedly, the long cooking time might render it incompatible with American lifestyles and render it financially unviable in the long term, but I would bet that having that smiling blue doofus on the package would probably increase overall steel cut oat sales by some insane percentage... not because American tastes have instantly changed overnight, but because people trust the logo.

                                    There's something very "Push lever, get food pellet" about brand marketing and logo recognition that just doesn't sit well with me.

                                    Of course some percentage of those new rash of Quaker steel cut oat sales would be mistakes ("honey... they filled the oatmeal box with rocks"), and some more adventurous types would try it because people trust the logo. It's as if that smiling Quaker gives people a little encouragement... "Go ahead, try it. Would this smile steer you wrong?" And then there would be those of us already familiar with steel cut oats, who would buy them just to see how they compare to the Irish oats the "oatmeal cognoscenti" have been enjoying for decades.

                                    What do you think?

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      I would have to agree that branding is a factor that hugely underscores our choices. Look at all those people who preferred Hunt's ketchup in a taste test, but swore loyalty to Heinz. Like cutting off your nose to spite your face! In day to day life, I have witnessed variations on this "Heinz-craze". My husband is prejudiced against anything "organic" on penny-pinching principle alone and if he has seen the label, will pronounce the product bland and "healthy-tasting" (ie. smacking of bitter whole grains or lacking salt and sugar). Prejudices do trump tastebuds in many cases as our minds inform choices before the product hits the palate. So I guess I agree!

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Replying to my own post...

                                        Looks like Quaker HAS in fact released their own version of steel cut oats (although the giant photograph shows a bowl of rolled oats) in a distinct blue package.


                                        I'll have to take a look at the oatmeal section of the supermarket today to see if they stock it.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Follow up again....

                                          My supermarket (Ralph's) does not, in fact, stock Quaker steel cut oats but they do stock McCann's Irish Oatmeal for an overpriced $8 a tin (compared to Trader Joe's $5, or $3 for the non-McCann's brand). And McCann's wasn't on the bottom shelf... it was next to the bottom :)

                                          The point is that even with the oatmeal marketing behemoth that is Quaker, they're in no rush to inform people about it or make it as widely available at the local supermarket level.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            The Quaker steel cuts are widely carried in my local Publixes. They showed up a couple years after the stores started carrying McCann's, Spouse is the oatmeal person in the house, and far prefers the McCann's Quick and Easy (5 minute) steel cut oats to the Quakers because they're a better trade off in terms of cooking time/flavor.

                                            1. re: beachmouse

                                              I've seen those quick cooking McCann's at Trader Joe's and often wondered... how in the world can you quick cook steel cut oats? The whole point is that more of the fiber is there, and it takes longer for the water to boil through. They must process or parboil in some way.

                                              Honestly, I really don't get why people think steel cut oats are such a chore.... it's 30 minutes of mostly unattended cooking time. You can make a gigantic batch because it reheats, freezes and thaws out like a dream. Pour oats in water, watch a TV show, and like magic you have breakfast for several days.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                yinz cut 'em in half or so. still got da fiber, half the time. that said, the humidity works well in my house. boil away!

                                          2. re: Mr Taster

                                            Try Bob"s Red Barn Scottish oats. They are stone ground and have a texture somewhere between steel cut and the cooked and processed "Rolled oats". The original oatmeal was stone ground.

                                          3. re: KaimukiMan

                                            I used to be a die hard SKIPPY PB fan...until I tasted (just out of curiosity, and not for any health reasons) one of the "natural" brands, made with only ground peanuts and sometimes a little salt. After one taste, I just couldn't handle Skippy, Jif, or any of those hydrogenated, sugar added brands anymore. Suddenly, they tasted to me like flavored Crisco.

                                            1. re: The Professor

                                              damn straight, professor! A few years ago, I bought a jar of Smucker's natural and never looked back...thought my son (teen at the time) would reject it, but he loved it at first bite also. I'm not 100% brand loyal on this either...cost and availability are a factor but am willing to try new kinds.

                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                              I actually went to completely different preferences than what I grew up on. I won't touch Miracle Whip, margarine, Cheese Whiz, cream of mushroom soup, and the like. I eat foods that my parents would have never touched, and still think are weird or "Yankee."

                                            3. re: Mr Taster

                                              I am in the potato society and have just been out watering my 1st Early 'Epicure' (known in
                                              Scotland as Ayrshires . developed in 1896,

                                              The EEC tried to ban the cultivation of them

                                              They are not available in shops, you must grow them.


                                            4. re: KaimukiMan

                                              Remember those ghastly tub margarines everyone used because they were supposed to be "heart-healthy"? Zesta saltines; Campbell's Tomato Soup; Miracle Whip; Kraft American; Oscar-Meyer anything; La Choy anything; Suave products
                                              I buy Dawn detergent, because it cleans ANYthing, or damn' near; Hellman's mayonnaise; Triscuits; Cabot's butter; Wisk; Ronzoni capellini, if I have to buy domestic; Coeur de Lion brie if it's the best available

                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                        This correlates interestingly, to me, anyway, with the study out about the levels of high fructose corn syrup and mercury in popular foods. Hunt's was at the tip top of the list (if I recall. please, I gave birth twice in two years, don't quote me on anything. i can't even remember their birthdays)

                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                      I remember seeing this episode and wondering who the people judging were and where they lived! I dont like hunts at all and even though I tend to like ATK's recomendations, I videmately disagree with this one....Heinz just tastes like America in the summer for me :-)

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        I thought it was Del Monte that won.

                                        1. re: michelley

                                          not in the episode I watched but it may have been a later/earlier episode? I don't really like del monte either!

                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                          Definitely prefer Heinz Organic to all others. The only other brand loyalty I have is actually to Follow Your Heart's Vegenaise as a "mayo" spread (preferring it to the real thing, in fact.) I also used to prefer Wolfgang Puck's vegetable stock, but did a taste-test with his chicken stock recently and felt it was too sweet. That's pretty much it.

                                      2. re: smartie

                                        I love Hellmans mayo, but, when at a brger king I asked for some mayo to take out. I got some packets that say Heinz mayo. I remember Burger King advertising that they only used Hellmans, but that was in the 1970's. I have never seen Heinz in the store and haven't checked their website. this stuff tasted exactly like Hellmans to me.

                                        Recently on Americas Test Kitchen they rated Hunt's over Heinz ketchup. Haven't tried it but definitely will.

                                        Kraft Philly cream cheese.
                                        Turkey Hill all Natural ice cream.
                                        Maille dijon mustard.

                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                          hunt's ketchup is sweet, imo. and not "sweeeee-eeet" in the slang way, either!

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Yes. Hunt's is too sweet, that's why I'm a Heinz girl. My only other strong brand loyalty when it comes to food is Diet Coke.

                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                              See my comment above

                                              The sugar content in Hunt's and Heinz is the same (4g per 17g serving size).

                                              However, the difference is in the pH level.... Heinz is less acidic with a 3.84 pH versus Hunt's 3.82

                                              By contrast, the bottom-ranked ketchups had the lowest acidity at 4.15 and 4.29 pH

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                heinz is more acidic, if the numbers you're posting is right.
                                                and I agree. heinz tastes best b/c they have the best distilled vinegar.

                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                  heinz tastes more acidic ("sharper, "brighter") to me, and i like it better than hunt's.

                                                  heinz also makes a good dill pickle relish.

                                          2. re: phantomdoc

                                            Yeah, and Cook's Illustrated preferred a domestic dijon to Maille as well. This is one of the few times I've ever seen Hunt's rated over Heinz.

                                            1. re: jmckee

                                              But to be fair, they did rank both of them extremely highly... Maille also came in "Highly Recommended" (alongside #1 Grey Poupon and #3 Roland Extra Strong) with the only even slightly negative comment that Maille is slightly less hot than GP.

                                              Mr Taster

                                        2. French's mustard, Heinz ketchup, Duke's mayo (southern), Green Mtn. Coffee, Diet Cokes, Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce, Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar cheese,
                                          Kellogg and Kashi cereals, Sister Schubert's rolls, Niman Ranch prime dry aged beef, Blue Bell ice cream, Simply Orange OJ, Old Bay seasoning, HUBS peanuts, and I am sure many many more........

                                          1. I am actually not very loyal to many brands and will try the supermarket versions however Heinz, campbell's veg beef soup and illy coffee will not be substituted for

                                            8 Replies
                                              1. re: bythebayov

                                                It's pretty good Italian coffee that's on the pricey end; one tin costs approx $13. You can find it at your local market.


                                                1. re: OCAnn

                                                  I love Illy, but interchange it with Lavazza, another ground Italian coffee or espresso in a vacuum can. Both seem cheapest at World Market... the Illy at least some number of dollars under the usual grocery store, and the Lavazza $6-8 for the espresso in the can, even the gold one (slightly premium). I think it's a little larger can than Illy ??? But both are wonderful and smooth. I like them better than all but one local-roasted I used to be able to get on the other side of the U.S.

                                                  1. re: Cinnamon

                                                    We brew Illy in pods here at home. I love the stuff. But I've had Lavazza out and love it, too. We are definitely on the same espresso page. I don't even need sugar or syrup when I drink my Illy.

                                                    Just curious--where on the other side of the U.S. did you find the local roast you loved?

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      This one! Coffee Tree in Greenwich, CT (first one mentioned here, opened by a guy from Maxwell House)

                                                      But if you go down there you've also gotta try Terra for dinner (Northern Italian, cozy upscale but casual place with its own pizza oven.

                                                      1. re: Cinnamon

                                                        Thanks, Cinnamon! I very rarely get down to CT's "Gold Coast," but when I do, I will keep this in mind. I run with someone who spent years in FFD County, so I will ask him about these places. I appreciate the tips!

                                                    2. re: Cinnamon

                                                      Count me in as another devotee of Illy. Have also had Lavazza and really liked that as well. I have been getting the Illy coffee from William Sonoma ($13.95) but will definitely check out World Market as I think there is one not to far from me. Thanks.

                                                    3. re: OCAnn

                                                      I'll have to try it...thanks for the tip!

                                                2. I've tried others and no mayo beats Hellman's (Best Foods when we're in LA). Heinz ketchup is still the best, too.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                                      I agree that Hellman's beats Kraft, but I believe Cains All Natural beats ALL! (though I am aware I should have chimed in 18 months ago for this to be timely-LOL!)

                                                      1. re: LJS

                                                        not familiar w cains all natural, where do you get it?

                                                        1. re: bythebayov

                                                          i remember someone mentioning cain's before in a favorable way -- maybe for their sandwich spread, too.

                                                          from their site: "CAINS FOODS products are produced in a state-of-the-art facility in Ayer, Massachusetts. Ship time from Cains to supermarkets across New England and New York takes hours, not days."

                                                    2. Cheerios. I can eat multiple versions of most other cereals, but Cheerios have to be Cheerios.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: mnos

                                                        Agreed! Nobody else gets the texture right. Especially with the Honey Nut variety.

                                                        1. re: spellweaver16

                                                          I tried the brand (whose name I've forgotten) from Whole Foods in desperation and was surprised to find how great those were. Subsequently bought Cheerios, which now taste like cheap wispy paper by comparison. (Although I did get a box of the Banana Nut Cheerios gratis with a delivery recently, and those are pretty wonderful.) But for the basics, now I'll always prefer that brand at Whole Foods. (But I wouldn't go conventional store-brand on Cheerio wannabes.)

                                                          Some of my top brand preferences are:
                                                          Diet Coke
                                                          In Mexico, Diet Pepsi
                                                          Heinz ketchup
                                                          Farmer John bacon/sausage
                                                          Meyenberg goat milk
                                                          Trader Joe's brand cinnamon, and organic peanut butter
                                                          Lindt Excellence chocolate
                                                          Kahlua liqueur
                                                          Starbucks espresso liqueur (distinct from Kahlua)

                                                        2. re: mnos

                                                          I agree. I'll eat the store brand of any cereal except Cheerios!