We Tasted 7 Name-Brand Cereals Against Their Generic Version. Here’s What We Found.

Like Grandma said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure that bowl of cereal is the best it can be. We found out when you can save with generic—and when you should steer clear.

A bowl of cereal has long been the go-to breakfast option for busy families. It’s quick to pour, easy to pack for on-the-go eats and relatively inexpensive.

But in the cereal aisle, that low cost seems relative when I compare my favorite name-brand cereal with its generic counterpart (we do that a lot at Taste of Home). For the exact same quantity of what seems to be the same cereal, there is at least a dollar difference in price.

Wondering if I could save a few bucks on my grocery bill without sacrificing flavor, I grabbed a couple of fellow editors and pitted seven name-brand cereals against their generic counterpart. Keep reading to see how these head-to-head battles shook out.

Check out the healthiest cereals you can buy, plus the ones you should avoid.

Kellogg’s Froot Loops vs. Target’s Market Pantry Far Out Fruities

kellogg's froot loops vs market pantry far our fruities cereal generic vs name brand cerealTaste of Home

The biggest difference between these cereals is clear right when we poured them into bowls. Kellogg’s Froot Loops were vibrant, almost jewel-toned, and gave off a strong fruity scent. Whereas Far Out Fruities’ coloring and scent were significantly more subdued. When it came to flavor, though, Market Pantry’s subtlety paid off. With a lighter fruit flavor, Far Out Fruities beat out Froot Loops’ more intense and sugary taste. 

Overall: If your kids don’t mind a slightly less colorful bowl of cereal, opting for the generic version of this cereal could save you about $1.30 per box.

Buy Kellogg’s Froot Loops for $3.39 or Target’s Market Pantry Far Out Fruities for $2.09

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes vs. Walmart’s Great Value Frosted Flakes

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While Kellogg’s and Walmart’s frosted corn flakes had a fairly similar appearance, their textures and flavors didn’t match up. We preferred Kellogg’s crispier and fresher-tasting flakes to Walmart’s harder, denser ones. Plus, Kellogg’s version had a bit more frosting, which helped the flakes keep their shape and crispiness when milk was added.

Overall: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes’ superior flavor and flake texture are worth the extra $1.

Buy Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes for $2.58 or Walmart’s Great Value Frosted Flakes for $1.56

General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch vs. Walmart’s Great Value Cinnamon Crunch

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This matchup had us seeing and tasting double! Other than General Mills’ more defined cinnamon swirls, these cereals were matched in their strong cinnamon-sugar taste and crisp crunch.

Overall: This generic is a near-twin to its name-brand version but will save you about 80¢ a box.

Buy General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch for $3.64 or Walmart’s Great Value Cinnamon Crunch for $2.85

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran vs. Walmart’s Great Value Raisin Bran

name brand vs generic raisin bran cerealTaste of Home

The first thing that stood out between these cereals was how different the flakes and raisins looked. The Kellogg’s bran flakes appeared to have a lot more texture and substance—we could see pieces of bran and wheat—while Great Value’s flakes looked more uniform and flat. When it came to the raisins, Great Value’s appeared to be covered in much more sugar than Kellogg’s, and resulted in a much sweeter cereal.

Overall: The hearty texture and light sweetness make Kellogg’s raisin bran worth the extra 25¢.

Buy Kellogg’s Raisin Bran for $2.88 or Walmart’s Great Value Raisin Bran for $2.63

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats vs. Walmart’s Great Value Frosted Shredded Wheat

frosted mini wheats vs frosted shredded wheat generic vs name brand cerealsTaste of Home

Out of all the head-to-head comparisons, these wheat cereals were probably the most different. First, the Kellogg’s minis had coarser and looser wheat threads that broke apart more easily when chewed than Great Value’s very tightly wound wheat shreds.

The frosting on Kellogg’s version was also applied more lightly than Great Value’s, but was actually much sweeter, with some vanilla flavors coming through. While these cereals were very different, we didn’t dislike the changes from name brand to generic.

Overall: It comes down to preference. If you’re used to eating Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats, you probably won’t be satisfied with this generic version. However, if you prefer a cereal that’s less sweet and more crunchy, Great Value’s version is a great option that will save you $1.70.

Buy Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats for $3.64 or Walmart’s Great Value Frosted Shredded Wheat for $1.94

Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats with Crispy Almonds vs. Walmart’s Great Value Almond Crunchy Honey Oats

honey bunches of oats name brand vs generic taste testTaste of Home

This was another comparison where the name-brand and generic versions differed a lot. Post’s cereal had a preferable appearance and texture: The flakes had a more natural tone and there were more oat and almond pieces than Great Value’s. This led to a crunchier and more varied texture. And all those almonds gave Post’s version a toasty-nut flavor that complemented the oats and honey. Great Value’s cereal tasted more like corn flakes, but crunchier.

Overall: Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats with Crispy Almonds has a much better look, texture and flavor, but comes with a $3 higher price tag.

Buy Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats with Crispy Almonds for $5.48 or Walmart’s Great Value Almond Crunchy Honey Oats for $2.48

General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios vs. Walmart’s Great Value Honey Nut O’s

honey nut cheerios name brand vs generic cereal taste testTaste of Home

Many of the differences between General Mills’ and Great Value’s cereal were slight. Cheerios’ rings were a bit larger and less dense than Honey Nut O’s rings. The Cheerios were also coated in a glossy glaze that allowed them to retain their crunchiness longer when milk was added. Though the cereals tasted very much alike, General Mills’ version had a slightly nuttier flavor. And if you’re gluten free, take note: You can have General Mills’ version, but not Great Value’s: It contains wheat starch and wheat germ.

Overall: If gluten isn’t an issue, Great Value’s Honey Nut O’s is a decent way to save $1.75. But if you need something gluten-free, stick with General Mills’ version.

Buy General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios for $2.98 or Walmart’s Great Value Honey Nut O’s for $1.23

So, Name-Brand or Generic?

Ultimately, it comes down to the type of cereal. Our taste test proved that you can swap out many cereals for their generic version, especially if your family doesn’t eat cereal on the regular. But, if your family is already partial to a particular brand, they’ll probably be able to tell the difference in a snap.

Cereal Isn't Just for Breakfast
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Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.