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Cost efficiency of home-toasted muesli

If I was ever in any danger of attracting a greater readership than the friends I had gently persuaded to read this blog, that title should probably shoo them away.

So: I posted recently about toasting my own muesli and how delicious it was.  The question was raised as to whether or not toasting one’s own muesli is cost-effective.  In order to answer this gripping question, I did some research, which I have (roughly) transcribed as follows:
ME: Hi Mumini, it’s your favourite golden daughter!
MUMINI: How lovely.
ME: I rang to do some research on the cost-effectiveness of muesli.
MUMINI: Right…
ME: So I want to know how much yours costs, for the purposes of comparison.
MUMINI: Okaay… for about 350g, it’s about $9 or so — I can’t remember to be honest. You can only get it at the health food shops, I know. You can’t get it at the supermarket.
<family gossip ensues that is interesting to nobody outside the family, and then the conversation concludes>

So, $9 per 350g, scales to around $25 per kilo (clicky for proof, for example).  No affiliate between myself and the sites I’ve linked, by the way, they’re just for the purposes of justifying my numbers.  So!  Let’s settle upon $25 per kilo for good quality toasted muesli — I should stress that this is pretty fancy stuff, this muesli my Mumini is addicted to, it’s got toasted macadamia nuts and everything.

When I cooked my last batch, I ended up with about 650g of muesli, which is around 6 cups; I have 1/3 cup at a time, so that’s 18 serves in a batch.  I’d say that the last batch I made, which followed (loosely) the same recipe, was about the same size.  I am still using the ingredients I originally bought, when I trucked on down to the health food shop and lashed out on bulk-buy oats, sultanas, craisins, etc. (do I know how to rock the weekends or WHAT?).  The original batch of ingredients breaks down sort of like this:

  • Dried pawpaw, sultanas, glacé ginger, sultanas and craisins: enough for ten batches of muesli (give or take some small loss through snacking).
  • Pepitas, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds: enough for ten batches of muesli
  • Linseed meal: enough for about seventeen batches of muesli.
  • Dried coconut: enough for five batches of muesli.
  • Rolled oats: enough for four batches of muesli.

So, my original shopping list provided enough fruits and seeds for ten batches of muesli, although I need to buy another bag of coconut and another two bags of rolled oats. Which would bring the grand total to $75.92 — a hugely inflated price because I accidentally bought my first round of ingredients at the organic-only health food shop, where the prices are easily 30% higher (I just pulled that number out of my arse, by the way, I haven’t actually checked) than the regular health food shop.  I haven’t included the cost of using butter and sugar, which you can use in toasting your muesli, because both are ingredients you’ve probably got at home anyway, and you don’t need so much that you’d need to buy extra supplies of them.  Additionally, they’re optional: you can make delicious muesli without them.

So, at that hugely inflated price, which would make about 6.5 kilos of muesli (10 batches of 650g each), we end up with about $11.68 per kilo, according to my calculator awesome math brain.  Even using organic ingredients, I’ve managed to come in well under the $25.00 per kilo cited above.  I would argue that it is definitely cost-effective to make one’s own toasted muesli at home.

There are some additional considerations, of course: I love to cook and I really get a kick out of toasting muesli (which is why I don’t get invited to parties much), so I have completely disregarded labour/time costs.  If you hate cooking, or your weekend time is otherwise dedicated to other activities, you might need to consider that in your own evaluation.  Secondly, I love that I can tailor my muesli according to taste, adding heaps of ginger or craisins or pepitas or whatever, and no currants or nuts.  I consider that a pretty good benefit, but it’s tricky to place a value on it.  So go forth and toast, dudes, safe in the knowledge that you are doing something clever, delicious and frugal!  And if you come up with some really wikkid flavour combinations, pipe up in the comments and let me know.  I’m thinking of trying to get some dessicated citrus zest for my next batch, and play up the craisins/sultanas/citrus angle pretty strongly.

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