I’m going all Amy-Dacyzyn-y again! (in case you weren’t aware of it, she’s the Tightwad Gazette mastermind and she possesses the patience to do very detailed price comparisons down to the penny. That doesn’t come naturally to me, unfortunately!)
For my super-scientific (!) comparison, I bought a package of Jello Pudding Pops at Aldi, where a 12-pack box sells for $2.50. Aldi’s ice cream novelty prices usually look pretty good to me, so I’m guessing that this is probably on the low end of the price spectrum. If you happen to remember how much pudding pops go for at a regular store, do leave a comment and share that info!
I’m going to compare the cost of the real pudding pops to homemade pops made with my recipe for homemade chocolate pudding. I could swear that I’ve posted it (the pudding recipe) on my blog before, but I couldn’t find it! I’ll try to rectify that soon.
Anyways, here’s the ingredient list:
2.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Generic cocoa powder (8 oz.) is $2.99 at Weis, so each tablespoon costs 6.8¢.
Generic sugar is $3/5 pound package (less at Aldi, usually), so each cup costs 26¢.
A gallon of milk at Aldi costs $2.69, but we’ll bump it up to $3. Each cup costs 18.7¢.
Generic cornstarch (16 oz) is $1.29 at Weis, which means that each tablespoon costs 2.4¢.
I don’t have my vanilla price handy, but the Tone’s variety on Amazon costs about 9¢/teaspoon.
2.5 tablespoons cocoa powder-17¢
1/2 cup sugar-13¢
2 cups milk-38¢
3 tablespoons cornstarch-7¢
3/4 teaspoon vanilla -7¢
So, the total for the homemade pudding is $0.82.
What about pudding pops made with packaged pudding mix?
A package of instant pudding mix is $.50 at Aldi and probably $.75-$1.00 elsewhere. So, the pops made with packaged pudding would cost anywhere between $.88 and $1.38.
A homemade pudding pop weighs almost exactly the same as a packaged pudding pop, but the homemade version makes only 8-9 pops and there are 12 in the Pudding Pops package. A theoretical 8-count package of pudding pops would then cost $1.66.
So, here’s how things stack up.
8 pudding pops made with from-scratch pudding-$0.82
8 pudding pops made with boxed pudding mix-$0.88-$1.38
8 packaged Jello pudding pops from Aldi-$1.66
The homemade versions are definitely cheaper, but not by an amazing amount (though percentage-wise, it’s a big savings…50%). If the pudding pops were purchased at a regular grocery stores, I think the homemade ones would be more of a win.
Price is really not the only consideration here, though. Take a peek at the ingredient list for the commercial pudding pops.
There’s high fructose corn syrup, two kinds of hydrogenation oils, and several non-food-ish items at the end of the list. Dear me.
Then too, there is the fact that eating a box of commercial pudding pops leaves you with this, a pile of nonrecyclable trash.
And eating a batch of homemade pudding pops leaves you with this, a pile of washable, reusable containers.
Of course, the ingredients for homemade pudding come in containers too, but every single one of my ingredients comes in a recyclable or compostable containers.
What about taste/texture?
I think the commercial pudding pops have an advantage texture-wise, as they’re fairly soft straight from the freezer. Homemade pops need to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before they’re soft enough to bite. This doesn’t bother me at all, but it might concern someone who’s used to the commercial pops.
Taste-wise, I think the chocolate commercial pops were similar to the homemade ones, but the vanilla ones tasted awful to me. They had a very processed, fake-vanilla taste to them. I imagine a homemade vanilla version would have a superior taste (I’ll let you know!).
So, the homemade pops are a win over the commercial variety in every area except texture, and that is mostly solved simply by letting the pops hang out at room temperature for a few minutes. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that the texture was an issue until I tried the commercial ones (this was my first box ever!), and I still feel like it’s not a big enough deal to warrant spending more, eating weird ingredients, and producing more trash (especially if you’re like us and aren’t used to the commercial pops in the first place!).
Today’s 365 post: Pre-Vacation Fridge Cleaning
Also, I want to know what you eat for breakfast on the weekends!