Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Good news for Teen-Age Girls

New study (sponsored by General Mills) reveals that "Long-term U.S. Study Shows Teen-Age Girls Who Frequently Eat Cereal Weigh Less On Average", and that the "risk for being overweight increased among the girls who did not consistenly eat cereal".
 
 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kids, don't tell your parents!

From the WashingtonPost.com, studies that show the value of breakfast for children, and how oatmeal is healthier than Cap'n Crunch (surprise, surprise!). An excerpt:
 
"Simply eating breakfast produced better test results than missing the morning meal -- findings that echo results of numerous other studies. But the researchers also discovered that boys and girls performed better on the tests when they ate oatmeal than when they had Cap'n Crunch. (The research was funded by Quaker Oats, maker of both products used in the study.) "
 

 

Maybe banks should send us cereal boxes?

 
"Research suggesting that three quarters of consumers are more likely to read the back of cereal packets than information sent to them by their financial service providers has led to calls for a simplification of financial correspondence."
 

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Monday, August 29, 2005

The appeal of Cereal

More insights from "Adults Get a Taste of Childhood's Simplicity" in the Orlando Sentinel:
 
Cereal evokes strong memories. It is comfort food. It is a reminder of simple childhood pleasures. It is candy disguised as breakfast.

"It's a reference point that's powerful," says David Roth, co-founder of Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe. "Cereal is one of the first foods you eat."
...
"Cereal is universally appealing," Roth says. "It speaks to the sense of joy and freedom and happiness and indulgence people feel."

For those reasons, cereal is among the most commonly bought items: According to the research firm ACNielsen, 95.5 percent of households purchased at least one cereal product in 2004.


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Cereal party for adults

The Orlando Sentinel had an excellent article ("Adults Get a Taste of Childhood's Simplicity") about cereal culture today, and I will post a couple of mesages based on it.
 
At the Peacock Room in Orlando, they are hosting a weekly Cereal Sunday event for adult 21 and above where "pajama-clad bargoers huddle around TVs flickering with Speed Racer and Bugs Bunny cartoons. Others sit at the bar, eating Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops."
 
Cool! I want to go to a party like that!
 

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cereal advertising lies

A recent post by the blogger linkandluigi dealt with the issue of cereal TV commercials, and the images that marketers are trying to portray.
 
Cereal is much more than just food. Through the use of themes, characters, and promotions, cereal manufacturers have been successful at creating an emotional experience associated with breakfast. This is why cereal has become such an integral part of our culture.
 
Seth Godin, in his recent book, All Marketers Are Liars, addresses this by pointing out how companies are successful when they create "lies" that we want to believe.
 
Oh, how we like to slip away into the fantasy world provided by cereal!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

MarinO's

It seems like every sports celebrity has their own cereal now. Here's the latest: MarinO's (Dan Marino).
 
 

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet

The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet is a new cookbook by David Hoffman that should be a tremendous purchase for any cereal enthusiast.
 
Here's a review from The Arizona Republic:
 
Cereal. It's what's for breakfast.

At least, it used to be. Now, according to David Hoffman's new cookbook, The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005, $14.95, hardback), it also can be for lunch, dinner and dessert.

This book goes beyond sprinkling cornflakes over a casserole. You'll find dishes such as Cap'n Crunch Crab Cakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream and Lucky Charmed Utah Lamb, which uses Lucky Charms marshmallow pieces, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard to make a cereal-infused balsamic syrup. The baby-spinach side salad is garnished with toasted Lucky Charms oats.

Most of the recipes don't sound as if they have anything to do with cereal. Serve someone the Roasted Poblano Meatloaf, and he'd probably have no idea that it includes Corn Chex. Likewise, the person eating the Black Bean Burgers will be surprised to find out that Kix are part of the recipe.

The nature of the book makes it visually appealing. Cereal boxes tend to feature bright colors and cartoon characters, and much of the book includes photos of different boxes. You'll be able to revisit all your old cereal friends, from Toucan Sam to Count Chocula.

Even if you don't plan to cook, the book is worth reading for the trivia. Grape Nuts, it turns out, has one of the most misleading names in cereal-dom, because grapes and nuts have nothing to do with the product. It's made from wheat and barley. The inventor thought the name was appropriate because the cereal contained maltose, which he erroneously believed was grape sugar, and because the flavor reminded him of nuts.

And there wouldn't be a breakfast of champions if it weren't for a Minneapolis health clinician who spilled bran gruel on the stove. The gruel turned into a crisp flake, which he tasted and realized had potential. He took it to the Washburn Crosby Co., which developed it for market in 1921 and dubbed it Wheaties.

More information on the book can be obtained here.

 

Monday, August 22, 2005

The "2-Week Fiber Challenge"

Cereal is not all fun. It has a serious side too: Your health.
 
While this is sales strategy mixed in with a public relations campaign, Kellogg wants Americans to eat just one bowl a day of either Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran or All-Bran for two weeks. 
 
Get more information at: www.kelloggfiberchallenge.com

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Even criminals like cereal

"Armed Man enters home, eats bowl of cereal, police say" from the Reno Gazette-Journal:

A man under the influence of drugs and looking for a free meal invaded a family’s home at gunpoint Thursday night, Sparks police said.

When police officers arrived at the home in the 2000 block of South Mackenzie Circle, they said they found Daniel Jeppsen sitting on the couch eating cereal and milk.




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Admiral Crunch?



Click here to add your name to a petition to promote Cap'n Crunch to an Admiral.


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Cereal and culture

Here's a quote from the blog punkybrister69 reviewing a book, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman:

"The Lady or the Tiger" [essay] is an exploration of American individualism, consumerism, and peer pressure using cereal as a metaphor. And it totally works. Klosterman starts off with the development of cereal--a story I've heard before, but which I always find entertaining--and develops the idea that breakfast cereal is an American idiom. If you think about it, it really is. The marketing of cereal to children vs. adult-oriented marketing plays a part, of course, and the resulting analysis is hilarious, but eerily true. One of my favorite bits, concerning the Trix Rabbit:

"An inordinate number of cereal commercials are based on the premise that a given cereal is so delicious that a fictional creature would want to steal it. We are presented with this scenario time and time again. The most obvious is the Trix Rabbit, a tragic figure whose doomed existence is not unlike that of Sisyphus. Since the cereal's inception, the rabbit--often marginalized as 'silly'--has never been allowed to enjoy even one bowl of his favorite foodstuff, and the explanation for this embargo smacks of both age discrimination and racism (we are to accept that Trix is reserved exclusively 'for kids')." (p. 121)

In this essay, the public's relationship to breakfast cereal is likened to our relationships with others in society... AND IT WORKS. The argument may sound silly, but--if you think about it--a lot of us are who we are based on our relationship to pop culture.



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Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bag or box?

NFO MySurvey.com recently conducted a marketing survey regarding ceral packaging.

Here is what they found:

Survey Results - In a Bag or In a Box?

Dry cereal is a popular food item - no surprise there. A recent survey indicates that 87.5% of our members have bought dry cereal in the last six months and in most households it doesn't last very long -- 60% of respondents said a box of cereal lasts for two weeks or less.

Cereal manufacturers know their products are popular, but they continue to look to consumers for ideas about how to improve. Even for products that are consumed quickly, packaging preferences are an important consideration. Here are the cereal packaging preferences, from most to least popular, based on the same survey:

      Type Of Cereal Packaging % of Respondents
      Box with resealable inner packaging 65%
      Resealable packaging with no outer box 17%
      No preference 10%
      Box with non-resealable inner packaging 7%
      Box only, no inner packaging 1%



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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cereal complaints

Not everyone's a cereal fan, and some people have some gripes.

Here's one from Bert's Blog: Tony the Tiger was a liar, lamenting over the wasted space in cereal boxes.


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What kind of cereal are you?

On the heels of yesterday's quiz, here's another one: What kind of cereal are you?

Hardly serious, but fun.

Here's my result:

Fruit Loops/Trix - Silly rabbit trix are for kids
u are a good combination of colors and fruits
making you brightm fun, happy and at the same
time under control. you enjoy doing things
w/friends and beign popular but you no when
some1 isn't being true and you have ur limits
making u a good person. u r the party of Lucky
Charms mixed with the wholesome essence of
Cheerios.


What kind of cereal are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Which cereal mascot are you?

Cool quiz at http://www.readingforresults.com/cereal/quiz.htm.

Find out what cereal mascot you are like.


I'm Fred Flintstone!





You're the aggravated, aggressive Pebbles mascot, Fred Flintstone!


Which cereal mascot are you?



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Apple Jacks controversy

Kellogg's is facing negative publicity over a new Apple Jack's TV ad and website that disparages real apples. More reason that advertising targeted to children is coming under more scrutiny. Read more here.


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Cereal survey

The American Cereal Council (the cereal industry trade association) is looking for families with school-aged children to take part in a simple survey. They'll supply money for cereal and milk, and the families are to track their breakfast habits and impressions. Learn more here.


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Monday, August 15, 2005

'Gr-r-r-eat!'

An excellent article from the South Bend [Indiana] Tribune that describes how

"Cereal lovers roar their passion for the crunchy stuff in testimonials, a cookbook and themed eateries"

Plus, some interesting stats:

Cereal sales

  • Cereal sales themselves have not ballooned, growing to $9 billion in 2003 from $8.5 billion in 1998. But studies suggest that cereal remains a staple for children, teens and adults.

  • Cereal is the third most bought item in the supermarket, after milk and soda.

  • In 2004, 96 percent of U.S. households purchased cereal and the average person ate almost 100 servings during the year.



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    Cereal for breakfast 'boosts brain and belly'

    Another "excuse" to eat more cereal!

    A BOWL of cereal is being touted as the perfect brain food for children preparing to start back at school.

    Welsh research has found that those who eat cereal every morning are more mentally alert and less tired than their non-breakfasting friends.

    A bowl of cornflakes first thing in the morning has been found to boost alertness by 12% and cutmemory and attention span difficulties by up to 10%.

    But the common breakfast cereal has also has long-term health benefits, including reducing the likelihood of suffering from stomach complaints.

    From a Welsh study in icWales.

    Cereality

    One of the most interesting innovations for cereal lovers is a relatively new chain of "cereal bar" restaurants called Cereality. There are only four locations right now, but I'd love to have one close to me!



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    Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Altering Alpha-Bits: Not as Simple as ABC

    Cereal manufacturers have been tinkering with the tried and true formulas to make them more healthy. They say consumers are demanding it. But reducing sugar and using whole grains is not without its problems.

    An August 11th article in the New York Times, "Altering Alpha-Bits: Not as Simple as ABC", explores some of these issues. Here are some key points:

    Constructing healthy food is no easy task. Most modern foods are tightly engineered products that can fall apart when ingredients are taken out or added. Tinkering with the formula can alter the taste, the texture, the look and the way the food feels in your mouth, what food scientists call mouthfeel.

    Consider what happened to Alpha-Bits this year when Kraft Foods decided to add more whole grains and remove all the sugar. Kraft's goal was to have a cereal that parents would not mind giving to children under 6 as finger food.

    Unlike General Mills, which reformulated many of its cereals with 25 percent to 50 percent whole grains, Kraft was determined to make Alpha-Bits with 75 percent whole grains.

    But raising the amount of whole oat flour made the product considerably bulkier than before, and the letters that came out of the machine, known as an extruder, looked a bit too chunky to be legible.

    Additionally, the absence of a sugar coating caused the letters to break apart more easily. As a result, the new version of the cereal, which Kraft started selling this month, looks significantly different from the old version, which children have been eating for nearly four decades. The company says that its team of cereal scientists is working hard to resolve the product's "letter integrity" issues.




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    Puffed Wheat recipes

    There are many tasty treats that can be made with cereal. Here are two using simple puffed wheat, from the blog chef-girl.net:

    Puffed Wheat Squares

    Honey Cinnamon Puffed Wheat Squares


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    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Cereal party, anyone?

    Now, there's an idea!

    From a blog, Wasps: "So after brining [sic] the car home last night Liz and I went to Laura's house to have a cereal party (where you bring your favorite cereal and share) ..."


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    Cereal stories

    Cereal is so much more than a food. For most of us it has been a daily part of our lives, rich with memories and impressions.

    From time to time I will share stories from individuals of their memories and experiences with cereal. Here's one from the blog Bite the Pariah called "The Call of the Crunch Berry".


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    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Welcome to The Breakfast Bowl

    Pull up a chair, grab a bowl and spoon, choose your favorite cereal, and pour on the milk!
    Join me in a fascinating journey into the food that shapes not only our bodies, but our culture as well!
    Watch for a wide variety of personal memories and reflections, industry news, and related discussion.
    And, be sure to leave your comments, as I'd love to hear from you!
    Better get back to the cereal before it gets soggy...


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