Best buttermilk waffles? We rank the house brands

Up and at 'em kids.

The heat is on, but soon enough, summer will be over and out for another year, and you'll busy with class once more. So no more sleeping in. Time to rise up and make the most of your final days of freedom.

So if you're up, you might as well eat. And Store Brand Scorecard's favorite easy-to-make breakfast is the toasted waffle. We want you to wake up early, but we've got to be a little realistic, and toasting a frozen waffle is fast, painless way to grab your breakfast mere moments after getting out of bed.

But just cause it's a quick breakfast doesn't mean it can't be a good one, or a valuable one. Store Brand Scorecard tried out Eggo's buttermilk waffles and three store brand equivalents -- from a big-box store, a grocery store and a mini market -- to see which brand tasted the best for the price. All products were purchased July 9th weekend in the Chicago area. Prices are subject to change.

Brand Name:
Eggo (Kellogg's)
Cost:
$2.14 at Walmart, $2.59 at a Chicago-area grocery store
Size: 10 waffles (12.3 oz.)
Nutritional Facts: (for 2 waffles) 180 calories (50 from fat), 6 grams of fat (9% recommended daily value), 420 milligrams of sodium (18% recommended daily value), 26 grams of total carbohydrates (9% recommended daily value)
Taste: So it's not fresh off the griddle, but the buttermilk finish gives this frozen waffle some weight.

The Big Box Store: Walmart
Brand Name:
Great Value
Cost: $1.25
Size: 8 waffles (9.9 oz.)
Nutritional Facts: (for 2 waffles) 180 calories (50 from fat), 6 grams of fat (9% recommended daily value), 420 milligrams of sodium (18% recommended daily value), 26 grams of total carbohydrates (9% recommended daily value)
Taste: The nutritional facts are identical to Eggo, and so is the taste.

The Grocery Store: Jewel-Osco (a Supervalu store. Supervalu, number 47 on the Fortune 500 list, owns and operates such grocery retailers as Shop n' Save and Albertsons.)
Brand Name: Jewel
Cost:
$2.19
Size: 10 waffles (12.3 oz.)
Nutritional Facts: (for 2 waffles) 210 calories (60 from fat), 7 grams of fat (11% recommended daily value), 270 milligrams of sodium (10% recommended daily value), 32 grams of total carbohydrates (11% recommended daily value)
Taste: The buttermilk is just a bit stronger, but overall the taste is comparable to Eggo and Great Value.

The Mini Market: Aldi
Brand Name:
Breakfast Best
Cost:
$1.39
Size: 10 waffles (12.3 oz.)
Nutritional Facts: (for 2 waffles) 180 calories (50 from fat), 6 grams of fat (9% recommended daily value), 420 milligrams of sodium (18% recommended daily value), 26 grams of total carbohydrates (9% recommended daily value)
Taste: Experiencing some serious deja vu here. The Aldi brand has the exact same nutritional breakdown as Eggo and Great Value, and it tastes just like them too. "Deja my Eggo," anyone?

Greatest Value: With each batch of waffles tasting so much alike, the value battle comes down to price. In that case, Eggo comes in last. (A box bought at Walmart is just five cents cheaper than Jewel's brand.) On a scale of 0 to 10, Eggo gets a value score of 5.

Falling in third is Jewel, the one brand that differed from the Eggo formula, but it isn't different enough, and it's the most expensive store brand. Value score: 6.

Walmart's waffles are the cheapest, but the box comes with eight while its competitors pack 10. In this case, eight isn't enough. Value score: 7.

For just 14 cents more than Great Value, Aldi's Breakfast Best sells the same tasting waffles, plus there's two more in the box. That's just seven cents per additional waffle. And to think it costs $1.20 less than Eggo at Jewel yet tastes exactly the same. That, friends, is a deal of champions. Aldi is the winner of this challenge, earning a value score of 8.

Piet Levy's Store Brand Scorecard tests a major label food product and three private label equivalents to see which brand offers the best value for the price. It appears every Monday on WalletPop's Money College page. Send suggestions, including items you want Piet to try, to moneycollege@walletpop.

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