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Whenever I buy oats I go to buy oats I'm always left wondering if the higher price could result in a better product. I auspect it could be that a higher price just means an expensive cardboard box or a better position on the shelf.

I've checked for factors that I think might explain it such as origin and organic claims but that doesn't seem to explain either.

Can oats be different quality and how can I tell the difference. What effect does it have on what I prepare with it?

The Oats The types of Oates I'm asking about are the varieties that are plain and not premixed with other ingredients. There are a number of forms I know of such as Rolled, quick and steel cut oats.

As for the uses, I mostly mix with boiling water for breakfast but occasionally use in cooking as well so If there is a difference for different uses then knowing about that would also be useful.

super market shelf with oates

An example shelf

The above pricing ranges from $1.5 to $6 for what appears to be the same quantity of the same product. Note some of the products are mixed are not really oats they are mixes and not included in my question.

  • @Stephie I could not find a way to practically remove the content to the right. The centre left are more to the point but the actually samples are not that important as this will vary across countries and regions. Also there is a mix of quick and rolled oats the same question applies there – user1605665 Dec 9 '18 at 22:00
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    Ah. Just thought I’d check. So let’s ignore the honey-flavored ones etc. I still see quick and rolled oats. Do I read your question right as “if I buy the same kind of oat product, e.g. rolled oats, does it matter which brand I pick” or something like that? – Stephie Dec 9 '18 at 22:06
  • What are you doing with them? I usually buy the cheapest generic rolled oats for making porridge, flapjack, and granola, and haven't noticed a difference if I end up buying more expensive ones. But maybe you're doing something more unusual – Chris H Dec 9 '18 at 22:19
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    Why not do a blind taste test? – moscafj Dec 9 '18 at 23:09
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    @Stephie thanks for the questions, I've updated the question and your interpretation is right. Also, I don't take it as nagging I just give short responses. – user1605665 Dec 9 '18 at 23:22
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My experience is that for making porridge (various methods, sometimes soaked but not always) or granola, or for baking (flapjack/oat bars, crumble topping), all rolled oats are equivalent. I usually buy the cheapest (bottom shelf, boring packaging in UK supermarkets) but occasionally have to get more expensive ones.

One thing occurred to me that might possibly make a difference: some, such as Lidl's cheapest that I currently have, are packed in a paper bag. Many others, including the more expensive ones I've bought, have a plastic bag, possibly inside a box. If you're storing them for long periods in a humid place or exposed to strong odours, the paper may not be as good. Of course you could always put them in a sealed container when you get them home.

  • Find Raw groats. Cook em. Much better than steamed rolled, or steel cut. I'd say more, but someone seems not to like that. All your oats are vulnerable to air oxidation, going stale. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 10 '18 at 18:01
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    @WayfaringStranger I get through mine quick enough, thank you. If you include making big batches of granola that is. – Chris H Dec 10 '18 at 20:13

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