Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal — Review

Simpli Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal

First, the good news: 

  • Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is delicious. I loved it, as did my 9 year old son, Wesley, and my 4 year old daughter, Audrey.  All of us have to be on a gluten-free diet, due to celiac disease.  Some gluten-free products can run on the odd/nasty side, unfortunately.  Not so with this one!  For taste, it gets a hearty thumbs up from all who sampled it.
  • I am in full support of the company’s aims to produce completely gluten-free oats, from seed to packaged product (more on that, later).
  • And, with only four ingredients DONE RIGHT, Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is CLEAN food, which is important to me.  
  • The product is stellar.

However, I’m not sure I’m the best person to review it.  Here’s why:

  • I’m too cheap, and I want to buy locally. Currently, Simpli products are available online, through their website — http://www.livesimpli.com.  Perhaps the ONLY good thing about living in a large city is the ready, local availability of just about anything I could want or need, gluten-free items included.  I virtually NEVER purchase food items online, especially ones that are $4.95 plus $3.95 shipping ($8.90 total) for one 8.4 oz package of five packets of oatmeal.  No matter how stellar a product, I absolutely cannot afford — even for a special occasion — to spend $1.78 for a small bowl of oatmeal.  Although I rarely eat instant oatmeal, my children, when they eat it, use two packs at a time.  So, realistically, you’re looking at a $3.56 bowl of oatmeal.  Buying a bulk pack of nine boxes is slightly more economical — it works out to $5.70 per box, including shipping, or $1.14 per serving ($2.28 per double serving).  Still.  I would just never pay that. If Simpli was carried it locally, at my local natural-foods store, Sprouts, had their biannual 25% off of all gluten-free items, which would make it about $3.70 per box… I might consider that for a special occasion, like packing food for a trip whose destination may not have g.f. foods readily available.
  • I like thick-cut oats. I’m just not a fan of the gooey consistency of any instant oatmeals.  I like some chew and heft to my oats, which is why I love Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, a pantry staple of mine.  However, those take (according to the way I make it, not according to package specifications) eight minutes to cook, after the water has boiled, so a good 12 minutes cooking time, plus about five minutes of sitting time… so, 17 minutes or so, from start to finish, versus about four with Simpli Apricot Instant Oatmeal.  In other words, I understand that, given the nature of instant oats (thinner cut), they’re just not going to turn out the way  I like them… so it’s not a flaw in the product;  it’s just a difference of opinion, values, and texture.  Also, returning to the “I’m too cheap” mantra, I buy Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats locally for about $5.50 per 2 lb bag.  That works out to $0.34/oz for Bob’s vs. $1.06 per ounce for Simpli — THREE TIMES THE COST — when Simpli is purchased online.  And Bob’s Gluten-Free Oats aren’t cheap!!!

With those caveats, let me reiterate that Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is delicious.  As stated above, I like my oats with a little more heft, so I don’t prefer the texture of any instant oats, and don’t regularly eat instant.  However, that’s not Simpli’s fault.  Judging by taste — it’s perfect.  “Bright” is the adjective that comes to mind.  The apricot flavor REALLY shines through beautifully.  With only four ingredients — Oats, apricots, sugar, and salt — I was wondering how they would be able to make the apricots tender enough.  Simpli’s solution?  Mince them.  Mince them teeny, teeny, tiny.  That way, they rehydrate perfectly, and the apricot flavor is broadcast through each bite.

Also, Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is not too sweet.  I think it’s perfect.  There are only 10 grams of sugar per 48 gram packet, and much of that, I’m sure, comes from the apricots themselves.

The instructions on the box call for 2/3 cup boiling water, stir, and let sit for one minute.  I knew I was reviewing the product, so when I made a bowl for myself, I made sure I followed the instructions to a “T”, including using a measuring cup for the boiling water (something I would never normally do), and setting the timer for that one minute.  Based upon that, I would suggest that, unless you want some soupy oatmeal, you should EITHER use less water (say, 1/2 cup), OR you should let your bowl sit for a good 4+ minutes, to let it thicken.

About the gluten-free aspect:  Simpli takes it seriously.  I’m slightly bummed that this oatmeal is a product of Finland, but perhaps that’s the only place where they could ensure that the oats would grow and be processed according to their exacting specifications.  Although I can occasionally be somewhat lax about cross contamination, I’m a stickler for g.f. oats.  I get asked frequently about why, if oats are technically gluten-free, does one need to buy GLUTEN-FREE OATS.  I explain that there are so many chances for cross contamination in the grain-growing, harvesting, storing, and processing process that unless a producer is intentional about maintaining the gluten-free aspect of his oats, you, as the gluten-free consumer, are almost guaranteed to consume gluten if your oats, if they’re not certified gluten-free.  This graphic, from Simpli, illustrates it so well:

SO!

All of that to say that Simpli Gluten Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal is a fabulous product.  But, I hope it’s coming to a store near me, because I will almost certainly not be buying it, otherwise.

Maybe this is the opposite effect of what Simpli anticipated, sending me a free package to review, but this product has inspired me:  I think I’m going to purchase a package of Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Gluten-Free Oats, and make up my own packets of instant oatmeal, and just place them in Ziploc sandwich bags.  If Simpli can create a simple instant packaged oatmeal, so can I!!

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 21, 2010, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GFCF, gluten-free, Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Resources, Health, Reviews, Vegan. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. there is another instant option here..i have found at WF. darn if i can remember what it is called and i’m all snuggled in the bedroom w/ my laptop. but they do exist. and i buy a TON of food online… so i may give these a try!
    here is what i have purchased.

    http://www.amazon.com/Glutenfreedas-Instant-Oatmeal-Variety-6-Count/dp/B002AUF0Q2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1292992619&sr=8-2

    • Yeah, on my local Yahoo Celiac group, there was a discussion about various g.f. instant oatmeal. The consensus was that Glutenfreeda was the best. Glutenfreeda is a lot less expensive, too!

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