August 22, 2011

But Is It Oatmeal?

I had breakfast at Chick-fil-A this morning. I didn’t feel like cooking, and I was tired of McDonald’s and other fast-food alternatives. When I sat down and looked at my tray, I discovered a red card announcing that Chick-fil-A now offers “Multigrain Oatmeal.”

“Multigrain,” of course, is a hot advertising term, one which says “healthful” to the average consumer. But isn’t oatmeal necessarily made from oats?

On my way out of the restaurant, I asked the woman who had taken my order what made Chick-fil-A’s oatmeal “multigrain”? She didn’t know the answer, but she went into the kitchen to find out. When she returned, she gave me an answer very close to what is said on the company’s Web site:

Ingredients: Oatmeal (water, steel cut oats, rolled oats, brown sugar, contains 2% or less of flaxseed, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, salt), dried fruit blend (cranberries [cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil], golden raisins [contains sulfur dioxide as a preservative], wild blueberries [wild blueberries, sugar, malic acid, canola oil, natural flavor], cherries [red tart cherries, sugar, sunflower oil]), roasted nut blend (glazed walnuts [walnuts, sugar, natural flavor, canola oil], roasted almonds, glazed pecans [pecans, sugar, natural flavor, canola oil]), cinnamon brown sugar (brown sugar, cinnamon).

Apparently, what makes the Chick-fil-A oatmeal “multigrain” is the presence of small amounts of flaxseed, buckwheat flour, and whole wheat flour. One has to wonder why these ingredients are included. In a check of my local supermarket, I found no boxes of oatmeal that contained any grain other than oats. I can think of only four reasons for including the other grains:
  1. Flavor (Is there really enough of grains other than oats to make much of a difference in flavor?)
  2. Texture (One could ask a similar question here.)
  3. Cost (Perhaps flaxseed, buckwheat flour, and whole wheat flour are cheaper than steel-cut or rolled oats. Almost certainly, whole wheat flour is.)
  4. Advertising (“Multigrain” may simply be an advertising gimick.)
Perhaps there is more than one reason for including the other grains. If oatmeal contains grains other than oats, however, is it really oatmeal?


  1. I'm happy with Trader Joe's steel cut oats with some fruit and half and half. Inexpensive too. I make a potful of oatmeal and freeze it in individual portions then use the nuker.

  2. Lionel,

    Did you not realize that Chik-fil-A is HORRENDOUSLY homophobic, w/ its corporation heavily financially-involved in banning same-sex marriage?

    Please, don't spend your money there.

  3. JCF,

    No, I didn’t know that. I did know that they are aggressively Christian. The restaurants constantly play contemporary Christian music, which I find irritating and distracting. On the positive side, I find the service very customer-friendly.

    I’ve done some searching on the Web, and I’ll have to reconsider my patronage of the restaurant chain.


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