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WHY are cereal and crackers so pricey??

k
kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 02:40 PM

Rarely buy cereal... mostly Chex for a batch of mix. Like Cheezits for snacking... can sometimes be almost $4 a box!! The USA grows TONS & TONS of wheat/corn. Why are cereal and crackers so darn expensive?

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  1. y
    youareabunny RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 02:45 PM

    Cuz you're buying the fansy stuff ;)

    Convenience food, often marketed to kids = $$$

    1. Chemicalkinetics RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 03:31 PM

      I am thinking that this is due to marketing and logistic cost. The ingredients may not cost a lot, but these companies heavily spend money to market their products. It is not cheap. Cereal is big business. It occupies TV commercial spots, and this is no small feast. The other is just logistic and other sunk cost.

      Just to get these boxes to the supermarkets cost a lot.

      1. monfrancisco RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 04:17 PM

        Good question. There is a little relief out there, though. For about a year, my sweetheart was on a huge Triscuit kick and I was glad to see that they regularly go on 2-for-1 sale. I imagine this is true for similar products, but doesn't really help for occasional yens.

        1. foodieX2 RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 04:28 PM

          Because to many making them at home is not practical. Convenience food, especially ones with a big marketing presence are usually $$. However if watch flyers and/or cut coupons you get usually get them at half the cost.

          Its the same reason why "instant" anything costs more than its "old fashioned" equivalent. You are paying for "ease"

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodieX2
            sandiasingh RE: foodieX2 Sep 13, 2013 05:47 AM

            Don't buy cereal, but we snack on crackers here. Making them at home is a pain and they're gone before you're finished baking them. I stumbled on an idea recently that works well for us. I bought some lavash (whole wheat), cut it into cracker size squares and put them in a dry, hot skillet for about 2-3 minutes. They are delicious and very crispy! Cheap, easy and fast. This brand was California Lavash. I've also tried tortillas and pita bread, both just OK. The lavash is much better.

            1. re: sandiasingh
              tcamp RE: sandiasingh Sep 13, 2013 06:02 AM

              I do something similar with pita bread. I buy whole wheat pita when it is on sale and make pita chips by separating into halves and baking or cooking in CI skillet. Brush with olive oil and dust with za'atar, smoked paprika, whatever.

              1. re: tcamp
                Cherylptw RE: tcamp Sep 19, 2013 09:02 PM

                I recently discovered these chips also...I bought heart healthy wheat pita, cut into wedges, brushed with olive oil then sprinkled with Za'atar, hot paprika and cumin and toasted. Made roasted carrot, onion & garlic dip with curry powder, cumin, red masala seasoning blend, crushed mustard seed, toasted & ground coconut...omg, so so good with the chips!

          2. fldhkybnva RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 04:28 PM

            I imagine because people will pay that price. I rarely buy the stuff but when a cereal craving hits, I am astonished at the price especially for something which I imagine doesn't last long in most houses.

            1. r
              robt5265 RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 08:43 PM

              If you have nearby access try Aldi's. Their version of Triscuits , potato chips, and tortilla chips are excellent. None are over 2$.

              1 Reply
              1. re: robt5265
                The Professor RE: robt5265 Sep 12, 2013 10:07 PM

                +1 on the Aldi's house brand crackers & cereal. They're pretty much uniformly as good as the higher priced brand names (and in some cases, even better...which is definitely true with regard to Aldi's potato chips).

                The brand names don't always cost more because they're better quality...they cost more because the manufacturers can get away with it, since the public falls for the advertising hype put out by the name brands. And the cost of putting the hype out is built into the price.

              2. Cheese Boy RE: kseiverd Sep 12, 2013 10:16 PM

                This is exactly why you need to shop at Trader Joe's or Aldi's --
                both are big time money saving stores.

                1. j
                  janniecooks RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 01:36 AM

                  Partly due to weather (drought. Some part of the high prices, especially for items including corn, are due to government ethanol mandates, which divert corn from the food supply in favor of biofuel poduction, which has increased the demand and correspondingly the price. Here's a couple of interesting articles about the the corn agriculture system/market:

                  http://prospect.org/article/corn-corn...
                  http://www.scientificamerican.com/art...
                  http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspec...

                  Bottom line, agriculture policies are complicated and politicians, lobbyists, subsidies and other regulations all contribute to higher consumer costs. Where's our damn broccoli subsidy?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: janniecooks
                    John E. RE: janniecooks Sep 13, 2013 10:28 AM

                    The interesting thing about corn and ethanol is that many of the ethanol plants have closed. The price of corn has dropped almost 40% but I haven't seen the price of meat dropping all that much, or cereal either for that matter, although we don't buy much cereal or crackers.

                  2. PommeDeGuerre RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 02:39 AM

                    The prices are what they are because consumers will pay for it. Even with relatively inflated grain and fuel prices, the margins on these products are very high, but we keep buying so they keep raising the prices. Business 101.

                    1. alkapal RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 03:59 AM

                      input costs rising. also…
                      ethanol production steals food corn. amazing buy off politically for big agri-biz. ugh!

                      1. t
                        treb RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 05:36 AM

                        Have to wait for sales and stock up.

                        1. j
                          janniecooks RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 07:45 AM

                          Here's another article about biofuels pushing up food prices:

                          http://washingtonexaminer.com/biofuel...

                          1. boogiebaby RE: kseiverd Sep 13, 2013 01:43 PM

                            I think store intentionally raise the regular prices of items so they can put them on sale and say "we are saving you $2/box./ Aren't we great?"

                            Cheezits at regular price at my local grocery stores are $3.69 regular price, but they go on sale sometimes for $1.50 or $2/box. That's when I buy them. I don't buy cereals or crackers or other dry goods unless they are on sale.

                            1. j
                              Just Visiting RE: kseiverd Sep 20, 2013 06:37 AM

                              Your $4/box is only part of what you are paying. You are also paying, through your taxes, a huge amount of welfare to the farmers. About $400/year/taxpayer.

                              You seem to be forgetting about processing, packaging, advertising, and transportation costs. Fuel ain't cheap!

                              You don't say where you are, but some areas of the country have higher grocery prices than others. Hawaii, of course. Alaska. But also DC, NY - every time I go to NJ or even out 75 miles into Virginia, I am stunned at how much lower the prices are for the same items.

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