Is a favorable raisin quantity variance good for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran?

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran is famous for its advertising slogan of “Two scoops of raisins in every box.” The current box design for Raisin Bran shows two scoops of raisins on the front of the box.

file-2 (3)A few months ago, a post went viral on Reddit that showed a picture of the raisins actually found in the post writer’s box of Raisin Bran. The pile of raisins appeared to be quite small. Next, two writers from Tech Insider measured the raisins versus flakes in two boxes of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. They found that, in this admittedly small sample size of two boxes, two scoops averaged out to be 1.25 cups of raisins, or about 13.9% of the total cereal (see During this same time, social media lit up with other Kellogg’s Raisin Bran customers questioning the quantity of raisins in their boxes.

Back to the Reddit post. The photo posted showed the raisin quantity in the post writer’s box to be much less than 1.25 scoops. If Kellogg’s production of Raisin Bran used this quantity of raisins (the amount shown in the Reddit post) in all of the boxes it produced during that production run, then the materials quantity variance for raisins would have been favorable and significant.

By the way, the words “Raisin Bran” cannot be trademarked; those words were deemed to be too common to be allowed to trademark them.  As a result, several companies produce and market their own “Raisin Bran.”


  1. Based on the information given, what would the standard quantity of raisins per box be?
  2. Is a favorable raisin quantity variance good for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran? Explain.
  3. What could cause an unfavorable raisin quantity variance for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran? Would the unfavorable quantity variance be good for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran? Why or why not?
  4. Would the direct materials price variance for raisins likely be related to the direct materials quantity variance? Explain.

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CSCA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Education.

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