Saturday, May 18, 2013

Uncle Toby's Porridge 'Quick Sachets' - Home Made Version and Costing

Brooke bought the Uncle Toby's sachets to take on camp with her.  They are little single serve sachets, six to a box.  These are a new thing for us.  We usually do porridge the the 'old fashioned' way as opposed to sachets, and I get my oats in 25kg bags.  In winter time this just means getting up a few minutes earlier and put the porridge on the stove (make enough to serve 6 people), or Brooke gets up and makes it on the stove top and stir stir stir.  Otherwise it's toast or Weet-bix for breakfast, sometimes poached eggs or pancakes or home made muesli (Michelle Bridges recipe).  Now and then we get a 'weekend breakfast', which is a box of Sultana Bran, or Sports Plus or whatever, and they can have it on the weekend.  Mostly it's because otherwise the cost is a bit nuts so this way they still have the variety (and appreciate it) without it breaking the grocery budget.

Uncle Toby's on the left, mine on the right

Thing is, at standard (non-special) prices via Woolworths online at time of posting, Weetbix is about 41c per 100g (1.2kg pack), plain savings brand oats are 17c per 100g, and I can get my oats in bulk bags of 25kg which is cheaper again.  So when you work out the sachet packs are $1.28 per 100g, it's a bit nuts really for what's in them (not a whole lot) especially considering that's way more than Sultana Bran etc.

That said, the lure of the warm porridge that they can make themselves, is helping with the getting out of bed on the cold mornings.  I appreciate not having to stand at the stove and stir (Brooke appreciates it too, I'm sure, though Jake did stir sometimes) and oats are a good start for the stomach in the morning.  But the cost is not something that makes sachets an everyday option.

So this morning I thought I'd make my own 'sachet oats'.  Used the chopper to blitz some plain rolled oats to the same consistency as the Uncle Toby's sachet oats.  Opened a sachet pack to see that theirs and mine were roughly the same texture.  Yep, righto.  Blitzed a heap of our rolled oats to the sachet consistency and put in a container.  Side of the Uncle Toby's box says each sachet is 35g, which is roughly (because I have terrible kitchen scales that don't measure that finely) 2-3 tablespoons or one of our little measuring cups.  So on the top of the container of blitzed oats that I made, I have an instructions label - take one scoop oats + 1/2 cup milk, microwave for 90 seconds.  So it's exactly the same procses for my sachet oats, as the Uncle Toby's oats.  Then add your toppings and you're done.  Final costings work out like this:

Weetbix - 41c per 100g (1.2kg pack)
Savings brand oats - 17c per 100g
Sultana Bran - 79c per 100g (1.15kg pack)
Nutrigrain (for example) - $1.08 per 100g
Uncle Toby's Quick Oat Sachets - $1.28 per 100g
Springer Oats (bulk oats) - 17.1c per 100g (25kg bag @ $42.75 per bag) 

Says it all really, $1.10 odd cheaper (or one seventh of the price, roughly) per 100g, to make my own... and yes I did have to double check my maths on that one because I was sure they couldn't be THAT cost effective... and yes, I know that doesn't include the 'flavours' like mixed berries, dried apple or honey or cinnamon on top etc but I am almost sure that small amount of flavouring could not cost more than $1 per 100g to put on especially if you added it in the same quantities that are in the sachets (not a lot at all).  That one requires more brain power to work out the per 100g cost of the flavours, so that can go on the 'eventually' list. 

I also realise that me making it at home doesn't include the cost of packaging it up.  However, it would be interesting to see just how much it does cost (6 sachets, 1 box + ink, processing, shipping) and how much this really adds to the product cost overall.  The flip side is that for me at home, and this would be a doozy to work out for 25kg worth of oats (!), I don't have to dispose of 6 sachets and a box each time (which can go to the worm farm, it's true).  For 25kg of oats processed and packed like this, I think would be a LOT of extra packaging, that I am now not purchasing and disposing of.  So it works in that sense too. 

And that's that.  Sachet oats for 17c per 100g instead of 1.28 per 100g and following the same 'add milk and microwave for 90seconds' method.  For flavourings they can add tsp jam (sometimes homemade but otherwise Anathoth), cinnamon and sugar (want to put a mix in a shaker thing otherwise we'll go through too much cinn/sugar), honey etc.  Breakfast is ready! 


Linda said...

I'd love to know where you buy your oats in 25 kg bags! I buy a lot of oats to make porridge and muesli bars. Good post. So economical AND good!

Kristy said...

Hi Linda. If I read right, you're in Vic? I'm not so probably no help to you in terms of the bulk foods dept, sorry!

BUT the place I get mine from sells to hotels and restaurants etc so long as I meet the minimum order of $150 (which is not hard, a few bags of oats, organic local flour etc) they deliver to me for free so maybe a commercial type bulk foods place in your area might do the same? Otherwise, ask your local restaurants or churches where they do their bulk ordering from, perhaps?

Good luck finding a bulk foods place :) PS Maybe try... what's that Aussies Living Simply forum? they might (probably) have a post or two on there about local bulk foods places... I'll have to go check out your blog now for muesli bar recipes :)

Linda said...

Hi Kristy, ooops. I made an assumption that you were in Victoria! Thanks for the info anyway. You're right that I could probably find a source if I tried a bit harder, just always put it in the 'to do' basket!

Linda said...

Oh and not on my blog. I use the recipe for honey oat bars.from purple pear blog and cut them in a muesli bar shape.

Kristy said...

I hope that I didn't come across as rude :) Was just makign suggestions because I did the same thing, 'oh one day I need to find a bulk foods' and I confess that I didn't actually, a friend who did a bulk order for their church, mentioned it to me... so that's kinda cheating on the 'to do' list lol isn't it :)

Kirsten McCulloch said...

Hi Kristy, I just popped across from Little Eco Footprints.

What do you use to chop your oats? I am a little basic in the appliance department, but this sounds like a great idea. I tend to make porridge by the pot full like you. Sometimes I soak the oats overnight to make it quicker - if I'm that organised! - or else it's just weetbix for breakfast here too :)

But, the kids would love some DIY sachets, I am sure :)

Kristy said...

Hi Kirsten :)

Yes, we don't have a lot in the appliances dept either and funnily enough what I use was a verge find. Someone had thrown out two of them because one of the attachments didn't work but everything else was fine.

So the appliance, it's like a stab blender that comes with a few attachments ie whisk, stab blender, and a 'blitzer' (sorry I don't know a better word for it) with a small two piece blade (like a 2 bladed fan) that goes round and round... like this one:
it's the round with the lid attachement...

Hope that's some help? Even you could borrow one and do a big lot up and then you'd be right for a while?

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