Wednesday 26 October 2011

cluster luck: misadventures with uncle tobys oat crisp cereal

Last week I was unsatisfied with a cereal. Email correspondence follows.



I really enjoy cereals with nut or oat “clusters” in them. Cereals that are simply comprised of “flakes” cannot compare, especially for snacking late at night when there is no milk involved.

But I am still on the hunt for my ideal cluster-based cereal. Which led me to try Uncle Tobys “Oat Crisp”. One simple thing drew me to this cereal: the promise of both oat clusters AND nuts in the same box!

Pictured on the box is a spoonful of the alleged cereal. This spoonful looks delicious:

It contains 4 oat clusters, 3 nuts, and flakes that are themselves covered with miniature oat clusters. And this was just a picture of the front of the spoon! If the back of the spoonful and the unseen centre of the spoonful held similar ratios of clusters-to-flakes, I could expect no less than (roughly) 12 clusters and 9 nuts in a single scoop!

Imagine my surprise come breakfast-time, when I excitedly poured out my first bowl, only to receive… cornflakes.

Pardon me—oatflakes. No clusters. No nuts.

Confused, I decided to try an experiment. I got a spoon, ruffled around in the box for a bit to stir the cereal, and then pulled it out and held it next to the picture on the front of the box. The comparison was astounding. I did not have 12 clusters and 9 nuts. I had around 27 flakes. No clusters. No nuts. No mini-clusters attached to flakes.

This shook me to the core so much, I took a photo of the comparison for reference purposes:

In the photo, you will see that I engaged in a very fair comparison; I even used a soup spoon to give the clusters and nuts a fighting chance to remain on the spoon. And I believe they would have done so—if indeed they existed.

Then on the back of the box, I made a discovery! Near the bottom, the cereal is described as being “SPINKLED with tasty almond slices and crunchy oat clusters”. Not sprinkled! “Spinkled”. I have a photo of this as well if you would like to see it:

After much thought, I have decided there can only be two explanations:

You have done this on purpose, so that when emails come in about lack of clusters and nuts, you can claim that “spinkled” is a new word, which means: the method of claiming a cereal contains nuts and clusters, when actually it does not.

It is a typo.

I am assuming explanation #2 (the “typo”) is to blame, mainly because I believe that no corporation whose logo features a woman admiring the hat of a well-dressed man could be responsible for misleading or deceiving its customers.

So, because I have done you the favour of pointing out this typo, I was wondering if Uncle Tobys could do me a favour in return, by answering two simple questions.

Could you please let me know: (a) as “Oat Crisp” is in fact “Oat Flakes”, which of your cereals contains the highest cluster-to-flake ratio, and (b) at what Melbourne supermarket do I stand the best chances of buying a cluster-rich cereal?

I ask question (b) because I (being an informed consumer) have learnt from “Today Tonight” and “A Current Affair” that Coles and Woolworths supply the best fruit and vegetables to the richer, leafier parts of town, leaving the poor suburbs with only the bruised and half-rotten offerings.

Surely this is also the case with cereals. I imagine the cereal bowl of a wealthy housewife is so overrun with oat and nut clusters that nary a flake can be seen amongst the milk, whereas poor labourers have more chance of receiving a golden ticket from Willy Wonka than finding a cluster or nut in their cereal.

Yours truly


Update: read Uncle Tobys' compassionate and heartfelt response here!


  1. Sounds like a cluster fuck to me

  2. You are the 99%. The 1% get the proper boxes of 'Oat Crisp', which are bursting at the seams with clusters and nuts 'n' shit. #occupybreakfastnook