Friday, December 21, 2007

Cinnabon cereal

As I keep saying, innovation is essential in today's crowded cereal market. Consumers are looking for something unique, and desire products that create an emotional response.

Cinnabon, a well-known baker of cinnamon rolls, knows that many people cannot resist the flavor and scent of their baked goods. Now, they have extended their success to cereal, with two new Cinnabon Crunch cereals (in Cinnamon and Caramel Pecan flavors).

Kellogg has several cinnamon roll variety cereals, but let's be honest: Which brand has the most appeal to consumers?

One way the big cereal companies can regain their edge is to partner with other successful food brands to create new, exciting, and appealing cereals.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas gift idea

If you are looking for a perfect cereal gift for the special woman in your life, here is an idea: The Cheerio Necklace.

According to Perpetual Kid, cereal is "Good to eat, better to wear!".

The cereal charm is cast from an actual Cheerio, and made from sterling silver.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Indiana Jones cereal has posted a photo of a sample box for a new Indiana Jones cereal that Kellogg is expected to market soon in conjunction with the upcoming "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" movie to be released in 2008.

It seems like it's been awhile since there has been good movie-themed cereal. This should be a box to collect.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday relief

After a day of stuffing oneself with turkey, followed by another of non-stop shopping, something lighter is needed.

Here's a useless diversion that creates futuristic names of current cereals: Futuristic Cereal Name Generator.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cheerios Snack Mix

OK, it's not a breakfast cereal, but Cheerios' new Snack Mixes (in original and cheddar flavors) are worth noting.

With the growing struggles that the big cereal makers are having, they must find ways of strengthening their brands. Innovation is essential.

Cheerios is one of the strongest cereal brands going, and it is wise for General Mills to do all it can to keep it in the forefront of consumers' minds. They have already recognized that it is a perfect finger-food for children, and now reinforce that it has a role as a snack food. (With this latter emphasis, they have already done something similar with Chex.)

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Cereal ingredient trends

According to Productscan, reported in Food Business Review, after blend, oat was the leading flavor in global cereal launches in the past year. Chocolate was next, its popularity I've commented on before. Wheat's popularity is falling.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Food fraud?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest announced this week eight "food frauds", misleading claims made by food manufacturers.The list includes a cereal, Kellogg's Special K Fruit and Yogurt. CSPI says that despite the claim that it "combines the crunch of whole grain goodness, the smooth creaminess of yogurt, and the sweet taste of berries", the cereal actually has no berries or real yogurt, and barely any whole wheat.

Consumers demand integrity in advertising. The product must deliver as promoted. Are cereal companies pushing the truth envelope at times for the sake of sales?

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Kraft selling Post

UPDATE: Confirmed that on November 15th the sale took place for nearly $1.7 billion. (See Forbes)

Rumors have been swirling around a potential sale of the Post cereal brand from Kraft.

Reports today indicate that the division is about to be sold, likely to Ralcorp, a private-brand food maker. This is not surprising considering the dismal position of Post in the current marketplace. Hopefully it will breathe new life into this brand and contribute to more competition.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cereal Killers

With Halloween this week it is worth noting a creative art project called "Cereal Killers", described as a "spooky, kooky coffin table cartoon art book featuring terrorfying takes on some of your favorite breakfast cereal's" (sic).

Check it out: LINK

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Yet another bowl

Creative inventors are always looking for ways to make common activities easier and better experiences.

I have frequently highlighted innovative cereal bowls and dispensers, including travel bowls that separate the cereal from the milk, and keep the latter cold. The latest is the Fresh Start Breakfast Chiller, a complete, multi-compartment plastic device to take your cereal with you when are on the go. The bottom layer is actually an ice ring to keep your milk chilled for up to 6 hours.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Cereal and bloggers

It's time again for a listing of significant blog postings and articles pertaining to cereal. Here are some from over the past few months that caught my attention:

FARK provides a collection of user generated photoshopped cereal boxes inspired by Kellogg's decision to stop marketing unhealthy cereals to children.

GeekLikeMe complains on the lazy marketing strategies that cereal companies have adopted. has an article calling for a rebellion against breakfast cereal supremacy. takes an irreverant look at the dark side behind popular cereal mascots.

The Columbia Basin Herald
features a column bemoaning the frustration of ripping the cereal bag in the morning.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rapid cereal growth in India

Cereal companies may be having problems in North America, but there are tremendous opportunities in emerging markets like in Asia. The Economic Times has a fascinating article on the breakfast cereal industry in India, where sales are increasing 30% per year.

But this new market is no guarantee of success for the big players. Kellogg faltered early on in India for not recognizing unique cultural preferences (e.g. they like cereal with warm milk). A local company gained ground by creating a cereal that didn't get soggy in warm milk, and therefore attracted consumers.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cereal boxes for education

No, not those General Mills points people collect.

According to The Business Review (Albany), the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has partnered with Price Chopper Supermarkets to develop cereal boxes with information on nanotechnology printed on the box. It is hoped that middle- and high-school students will benefit from this.

OK, hardly exhilirating reading in the morning. But, why not? Since cereal has been traditionally marketed predominately by its packaging, maybe cereal companies (and even educators) could adapt this and think of other ways to rejuvenate this staple food and its place in our culture.

Besides, we might learn something.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shrinking boxes, growing profits

As previously reported, cereal companies have been shrinking cereal boxes in an effort to increase profits.

The strategy appears to be working, at least for now. General Mills latest financial results reveals that this strategy has increased profits during the last quarter. (See article at the

Corporations that short-sightedly look for short-term profits at the expense of long-term sustainability are playing a dangerous game. What will they do next time profits fall flat? You can only shrink the boxes so far. Eventually consumers will balk at the price of cereal, especially if there is not perceived value. Innovation could turn that around, but it doesn't appear that the big cereal companies are catching on to that.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

The challenges for cereal

As I've pointed out before, the cereal industry is facing many challenges. Major companies are facing tough competition and decreasing profits. and cereal consumption is declining in North America.

A recent article in Food Navigator-USA provides an interesting review of these challenges based on a recent market research report. Mintel identifies the challenges as "low brand loyalty, market saturation and increasing competition from other channels". The biggest challenge is increased competition from the foodservice industry. At least once a week 34% of consumers eat breakfast from a fast food restaurant. In other words, cereal is not as attractive of a convenience food as it once was. It may not be convenient enough. Obviously cereal manufacturers have been trying to address this through the introduction of cereal bars, etc. but even these do not appear to be reversing the current trends.

Another study from Research and Markets indicates only 52% of survey respondents cited cereal as their top breakfast choice. The suggestion is that "many consumers are simply 'bored' with the segment".

More reason why the future of breakfast cereal must step out of the ordinary and into the truly innovative.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Time for packaging innovation

For the second day in a row I am highlighting a cereal innovation from the U.K.

Jordans Cereals have introduced a new cereal bag that stands out for several reasons. First of all it breaks away from the cardboard box and liner approach found with most cereals. Second, it is a standing bag, and not the flimsy cellophane of bulk and discount cereals. Third, the packaging material itself is unique: recycled, recyclable, biodegradable and soon fully compostable. Finally, the packages look good!

I have long argued that the future of cereal will be shaped by those willing to innovate. The big cereal leaders, Kellogg and General Mills, seem to be more focused on short-term profits and brand extensions than truly creative innovations. Perhaps they need to look at European examples like Jordans and mymuesli to see more substantial breakthroughs.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Eatmecrunchy bowl

Occasionally I come across an interesting new kitchen item for cereal lovers. The latest is the Eatmecrunchy bowl, a uniquely-designed bowl for those who like their cereal crunchy.

The bowl has a shelf that holds the cereal above the milk, and a small section where the two actually mix. The bowl is from the United Kingdom, so I haven't tried it myself and it doesn't appear to be available in North America yet.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kellogg buying Post?

Post has long been an also-ran cereal company, behind the obvious leaders Kellogg and General Mills. In my opinion, there isn't much real innovation or creativity coming out of Post.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that rumors are flying in cerealville that Kellogg might be trying to take over its long-time rival.

The article is worth reading. LINK.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

All-Bran's subliminal advertising

This summer Kellogg released a creative, new commercial for All-Bran that takes on a sensitive topic (i.e. regularity) with subtle humor.

Watch it for yourself on YouTube and notice the striking visual metaphors!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kellogg announces new nutrition labelling

With pressure to focus less on marketing to children, and more on nutrition, Kellogg has announced a new approach to nutrition labelling on its cereals. Up to this point both Kellogg and General Mills have each been using a complex set of symbols to depict nutrition content of cereals, but it was a little to complicated for most consumers. Kellogg is simplifying things with its new Guideline Daily Amounts that appear on the front of the package, and convey key nutritional facts.

While simpler, the new labelling still assumes some basic understanding of key nutritional concepts by consumers. Savvy purchasers will find the information convenient, but for those who are confused by nutrition (or simply don't care) it is doubtful to make an impact.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hot cereal anyone?

With the growing trend of consumers toward natural products, hot cereals appear to be making a comeback. The simplicity of porridges are in stark contrast to the highly processed ready-to-eat cereals that dominate the market. The New York Times recently picked up on this with an article that highlights how Quaker is getting back to its roots by marketing hot cereals, specifically its new Simple Harvest line.

While cold breakfast cereals have an edge in convenience, the return to hot cereals are a trend worth watching.


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast is too important to skip,so I wouldn't dare do that. But, due to extreme personal circumstances in the last month or so blogging has taken a back seat. But, it's time to return to this passion and pour another bowl. There's much to catch up on from the last few weeks!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cereal and bloggers

It's been a long time since I last listed significant blog postings pertaining to cereal. Here are some over the past couple of months that caught my attention:

Samuel L. Bronkowitz presents comments on the not-so new-shaped Trix.

Girls Cash Cars reveals a simple, but hilarious Shreddies advertisement from Canada.

The Ramblings of a Collegiate Designer is about a graphic design student's adventure in creating a cereal box.

The Toque rallies against granola

Kellogg's new Cereal Straws have been getting considerable attention on the blogosphere, including: The Impulsive Buy, and The Thoughtful Bagger,

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More shrinking boxes

Last fall I reported the trend toward cereal companies decreasing the size of their boxes in order to cut costs and maintain profits. Kellogg was the first one out of the gate. Now, there are reports that General Mills is using the same trick to camouflage price increases.

Sneaky? Yes.

Harmful? Maybe not this one time. But, big cereal companies cannot believe that they continue to play these games without some affect on consumers. Many are already turning to generic brands and specialty cereals. If Kellogg, Generals Mills are not careful they will be minor players in a marketplace that could easily continue to dominate if they focused more on innovation.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cereal poll update

The results from my last Breakfast Bowl poll are in. The last question was: "How do you prefer your cereal?"

Here are the results:

Crunchy - 76%
Soggy - 24%

Now it's time for our next question: In light of their latest innovation, "What do you think of Kellogg's Cereal Straws?"


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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Caffeinated Cereal?

It seems the fad this year is chocolate versions of existing cereals.

Could caffeine be next?

A Colorado inventor, Dr. Robert Bohannon, has come up with a caffeine additive that can be easily added to virtually any food. It will be marketed under the brand name, Encaff. Obviously adding caffeine to cereal would be natural fit since many people depend on the stimulant to get going in the morning.

Caffeinated Corn Flakes anyone?


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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Cereal Bowl announces expansion

I have long been intrigued with the development of cereal restaurants over the past few years. Cereality was the emergent leader but had some early struggles, and may have some new life having been bought out by the parent company of Cold Stone Creamery.

But now, the other big contender, The Cereal Bowl, has announced expansion. They claim several thousand franchise inquiries, and say that they will be going nationwide with 16 store now under development.

I sure hope one of these companies gets wise and builds one close to me somewhere!

LINK to press release

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cereal Straws

I've been a little reluctant to post on Kellogg's new Cereal Straws. It's hard to take them seriously.

Cereal Straws were recently introduced as a fun way for children (I presume) to get their cereal and milk. The straws are actually flavored, crunchy tubes, and come in two varieties: Froot Loops and Cocoa Krispies. As I see it, their nutritional value is low and they are relatively more costly.

I doubt Cereal Straws will catch on, especially considering Kellogg's recent conversion to healthy cereals and related marketing. Nevertheless, I give Kellogg credit because they are doing what I have long suggested: focus on innovation. In a highly competitive market this is the only way they can stay competitive.

Who knows? Maybe I'll be wrong and Cereal Straws will catch on like another ridiculous Kellogg product: Pop Tarts.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

New beginning for Cereality?

News today that the parent company of Cold Stone Creamery has acquired Cereality. This is significant, not only because of Cereality's recent woes, but because Cold Stone is a perfect fit that could give the cereal bar some much needed expertise and direction.

Story in the Phoenix Business Journal.

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Cereal goes Simpsons

Summer has kept me busy and away from the computer, but the recent move by 7-Eleven has brought me back.

In anticipation of the upcoming Simpson's Movie, convenience story chain 7-Eleven has come up with some very creative marketing tie-ins, including the decorating of a few select locations to be the Simpson's inspired Kwik-E-Mart. But, the gimmick that has caught my attention, of course, is KrustyO's Cereal. The unashamedly low nutritious cereal adds to the movie's buzz and is a great collector's item for Simpson's fanatics and cereal box collectors.

KrustyO's (apparently made by Malt-O-Meal) is only available at 7-Eleven, and for a limited time.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cheerios in shape

General Mills Canada has introduced an innovative, curved box for Multi-Grain Cheerios. This creative design sends a strong marketing message about managing weight using the cereal. In a cereal marketplace crowded with this message General Mills has found a unique way to stand out.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reaction to Kellogg

Kellogg's recent announcement that it will change it's advertising and packaging policies has generated more reaction than any other cereal story that I can recall. Apart from the extensive news coverage, many bloggers have chimed in, as have a large number of news commentators. Almost all of the reaction has been negative, or at least skeptical.

While I won't (and can't) reference every online reaction, here are some of the more significant ones that I have come across in the last week:

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Major nutrition and advertising changes at Kellogg

This week Kellogg bowed to ongoing pressure from advocacy groups who believe that cereal companies are wrongly targeting children with unhealthy cereals. The company announced:

1. It will cease advertising to children under 12 unless the cereal meets certain nutritional guidelines for calories, sugar, fat and sodium, and

2. It will cease using licensed characters or branded toys to promote unhealthy cereals.

In addition, Kellogg will introduce new front-of-package labeling to clearly state the cereal's nutritional values.

These are profound changes that could dramatically alter both Kellogg's cereals and marketing. It is a shift that could also change the place of cereal within our larger culture.

Under these new voluntary guidelines, some cereals often targeted to children meet the nutritional standards, while others don't. For example, Frost Flakes (and the Tony the Tiger) are safe. But, an old standard like Rice Krispies is not (too much sodium). This could mean the end of the Snap, Crackle and Pop characters, let alone Toucan Sam, and Dig 'Em.

I understand the rationale for the changes and the pressure put on companies like Kellogg. I hope that with all these changes we do not lose the "fun" aspect of cereal, since breakfast cereal is much more than just another food in our society.


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Thursday, June 14, 2007

More trouble at Cereality?

I don't like to operate on rumors, but since this so close to be being verified, I will pass it along anyway.

An anonymous person posted a comment on a recent post concerning a Cereality restaurant closing in Evanston, Illinois. Here's what they said:

"I work for Cereality but not for long. Our downtown Chicago location is closing this Saturday."

If this is true it is not a good sign for Cereality, which has been the early leader in the cereal restaurant concept.

We'll keep watching ...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New innovations from Kellogg

In a tight, competitive market innovation is essential. Watch for new versions of two favorites coming soon to a grocery store near you: Pops Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Froot Loops Smoothie.

The Pops cereal fits the trend this year of adding chocolate to common cereals. Froot Loops Smoothie is comprised of yogurt-covered pieces, another common technique being used in the last few years.

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Cereal poll update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "What do you add to your cereal?"

Here are the results:

Milk - 31%
Fresh Fruit - 13%
Soy Milk - 10%
Yogurt, and Dried Fruit (TIE) - 8%
White Sugar - 5%
Nuts, and Supplements (TIE) - 4%
Chocolate Milk, Brown Sugar, Spices, and Other (TIE) - 3%
Juice - 2%
Water, Coconut, and Candy (TIE) - 1%

NOTE: percentages are based on total number of votes (i.e. multiples choices were permitted), not voters.

My take on the above results: Cereal is a truly versatile food!

Now it's time for our next question: "How do you prefer your cereal? [Crunchy or Soggy]"


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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cereal can help you get pregnant?

OK, the title's a little misleading. But a recent article in the Daily Mail (UK), "Eating a bowl of cereal could help you get pregnant",  sure catches your attention!

It's an article about vitamin B6, a good source of which is breakfast cereal.


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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Pirate's Life

Timed well with the latest version of Pirates of the Caribbean, Quaker has initiated an interesting contest tied in with Cap'n Crunch. According to their survey 83% of children (ages 8-13) think it would be fun to be a pirate. Building on this fascination, children are invited to write their own pirate tale in the "Legend of LaFoote" contest. LaFoote is an old character in the Cap'n Crunch saga and is being revived.

LINK to press release

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bat in breakfast cereal

I haven't posted here for awhile since I've been in the midst of moving. I have a few items to catch on, including this bizzare story:

According to The Local, a couple in Sweden opened up a box of Kellogg's All Bran and out plopped a dead bat. You hear of these kinds of things with other foods and even restaurants. Now cereal joins this type of notoriety.


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Imported cereal

For the most part breakfast cereal in North America is manufactured and distributed here. But, like everything else, globalization is changing things. Could cereal be next? This would definitely put pressure on the big cereal companies, forcing price wars, etc.

I was in my local grocery store today and saw cereal imported from Argentina, but packaged for the U.S. market. "Global Brands" produces several knock-off varieties of popular favorites like Corn Flakes and Froot Loops. The packaging was less than impressive with thin cardboard, off-color photos, and amateurish graphic design.

Why would people buy these? Price. 98 cents a box. It obviously targets the low-end sector of the market, but still it is one more pressure that the cereal companies don't need. Or, maybe it will force them to compete even more with innovation.

We'll keep watching.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cereal restaurant closing

I have regularly highlighted developments in the latest restaurant trend: Cereal. As a cereal fanatic this of particular interest to me, although I don't live anywhere near one. I'd like to believe that this is unique type of restaurant that could have significant appeal in the fast food and snack market.

But things are not all well in this fledgling industry. Cereality, the front-runner among other competitors, has just shuttered one of its newer locations according to the Daily Northwestern. The Evansville, Indiana Cereality has been closed just six months after opening. It was to be a training location during the restaurant's expansion.

To be fair, some franchise locations don't work, and often the reasons are legitimate and specific to that restaurant. But, this should be of concern to Cereality and to others in this niche market. I remain convinced that it is a viable concept, but obviously the right formula needs to be found. For example, many of these have been opened near colleges. I question this as a sustainable model. Airports, shopping malls, and office complexes may be better locations. And kiosks may be more cost effective than conventional retail space.

But, of course, no one asks the people passionate about cereal on these things. (Although, my invitation still stands!

CORRECTION (6/13): It is Evanston, Illinois, NOT Evansville, Indiana.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chocolate Chex

Building on the success of its Chex brand, according to their website General Mills will soon be introducing Chocolate Chex. An interesting extension for two reasons: 1) Chocolate appears to be the cereal flavor du jour right now; and 2) this moves Chex slightly away from what it is originally known for: simple and healthy grains.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Kellogg ethical

With the growing scrutiny on large corporations, when eating your cereal tomorrow morning you may be relieved to know that Kellogg was recently named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Magazine.


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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cereal and bloggers

Here's a list of significant blog postings from the last month or so pertaining to cereal:

Stunslinger wonders why no one has made a knockoff of Life cereal.

Kathy Wollard at Newsday explains why cereals clump and bob in milk.

Mother Tongue Annoyances probes into the why Grape Nuts contain neither grapes nor nuts

Human Core Dump examines the meaning of the various charms in Lucky Charms

Design Database found a photo of some wonderful cereal shoes

Namewire analyzes the recent joint marketing venture between Curves and General Mills

I Killed Captain Crunch provides some interesting background info on the Cap'n

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Curves cereal

I reported on this back in February when stories started appearing on the blogosphere, but pulled the story when General Mills started threatening legal action against those who had leaked it. But, it's now official...

The Dallas Business Journal is reporting that Curves women's fitness centers and General Mills are teaming up to launch a line of health oriented granola bars and cereals. Other reports indicate that the new cereal will be available in Honey Nut and Whole Wheat flavors. The cereal itself sounds far from exciting, but the marketing is ingenious and will help General Mills compete against Kellogg 's successful positioning of Special K to women.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

mymuesli - Cereal of the future?

I have long called for cereal companies to innovate. I believe we may have seen the best attempt at that so far not from one of the big American companies (i.e. Kellogg or General Mills), but from mymuesli of Germany.

claims to offer "custom-made cereals" and tout it as "Fruehstueck 2.0" (translated as Breakfast 2.0).

Here's how it works: They have seventy different ingredients which can be mixed and matched in any combination you choose (apparently 566 billion combinations!). They create the cereal, package it in an innovative canister, and ship it to you (sorry, only in Germany right now!).

Wow! That's impressive.

I'd love to get my hands on some of that stuff. I have some contacts in Germany and I just might see if I can order some.

Cereal companies: Are you paying attention?

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Is cereal getting sweeter?

With all the recent emphasis on low-carb foods and the controversy over sugared cereals targeted to children you'd think cereals were getting healthier. Maybe in some ways. But, maybe not in other ways.

An article in the TimesOnline reports on a study that finds food products, including cereals, actually contain more sugar than before. In fact "Some of the biggest increases in sugar have been in breakfast cereals." Even more health oriented cereals like Special K and All-Bran reflect this trend.

To be fair, this is a British study, and there is some evidence that recipes differ from country to country even for the same brand. Nevertheless, health conscious consumers must be concerned.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cereal Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "Is cereal a good value for the money?"

Here are the results:

It depends (variety, brand, specials, etc.) - 56%

Yes - 29%

No - 15%

My take on the above results: Not really surprising. 29% seem completely undisturbed by current cereal prices. The majority, however, appear to be shopping with discernment. Considering that this blog may be "preaching to the choir", cereal companies should be concerned about the perceptions consumers have.

Now it's time for our next question. Following up on a previous poll, "What do you add to your cereal?"


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Monday, April 30, 2007

Cereal box mosaic

Cereal history buffs will love this incredible new "coverpop" mosaic featuring over 1300 boxes of cereal from the past. Simply move your mouse over the mosaic to see incredible boxes from the past. Click to enlarge.

Lots of fun!


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Monday, April 23, 2007

Cereal World and partnerships

Life has been quiet lately on the cereal front, but here is a recent development ...

I continue to watch with the interest the growth of cereal restaurants, like Cereality, The Cereal Bowl and a host of smaller copy-cats. This fresh concept is bound to see continued expansion.

But, growth has been far from explosive. Some have argued that the concept is not likely to take off outside of college campuses or airports. And, selling primarily cereal items is not a long-term profitable venture.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Cereal World, a Minneapolis restaurant, is soon to launch but in conjunction with the "Minnesota Popcorn Connection". While this combination provides branding complexity and confusion, it may be a worthy attempt for viability.

We'll keep watching.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cereal and bloggers

Here's a list of significant blog postings from the last month or so pertaining to cereal:

Tarks Place provides an informative compilation of cereal advertising slogans from over the years.

aiyenface examines the origins of the universe over a bowl of cereal.

Adan Berkowitz and eyeofhorus83 consider the changing shape of Trix, especially now that they have gone back to the original puffs shape.

Cereal Insider wonders why there is a lack of female cereal characters can't stand Fruity Pebbles

djchuang doesn't believe that cereal restaurants will attain the same level of success as Starbucks.

You Look Great warns of the danger of uneaten cereal boxes in your home.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

General Mills looking for innovation

My second post on General Mills and innovation in the last week. It looks like they may be getting it.

Their website has a new page calling for scientists, inventors and others from outside the company who might be able to partner with the company. They say:

"We are constantly looking for world-class innovation partners - partners with novel capabilities - who can help us meet the needs of our consumer today and help develop products that will meet their needs of tomorrow."

General Mills is more than cereal, but obviously cereal is a big part of their business and it is a highly competitive segment. Innovation is the only solution for the long-term.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekly Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "How do you eat cereal?"

Here are the results:

In a bowl with milk, duh! - 91%

Directly out of the box - 18%

Added to other foods, like salads - 12%

In recipes - 3%

Other - 3%

NOTE: Multiple responses were permitted


take on the above results: No surprises.

Now it's time for our next question. In light some recent posts concerning the price of cereal, let me know "Is cereal a good value for the money?"


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Friday, March 30, 2007

Cheerios On-The-Go Pack

I've recently been critical of cereal price increases and have called for more innovation and value from manufacturers. Today I was pleased to see an example of this coming from General Mills.

Playing on the fact that Cheerios is the favorite cereal as a finger food for toddlers, General Mills has introduced a convenient container for parents for dispensing the little O's. The On-The-Go Pack is really nothing more than a cheap (but cool!) plastic container that is reusable and reinforces the Cheerios brand. And for 1.1 oz of cereal (1 official adult serving) it was selling for $2.19 at my local grocery store. Costly, but brilliant marketing. And probably will contribute to increase General Mills' revenue and profits.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

How much is too much?

Prices rise. That's a reality of life. Cereal price will rice, and that is to be expected.

But, at what point do cereal price increases drive consumers away from cereal, or at minimum, to generic brands, etc?

I'm not sure there is a good answer to this. Even marketing surveys done by the big companies probably do not reflect the actual responses by consumers. Yet, it is a valid question, especially considering the tough competition in the cereal industry and the increasing decline in cereal consumption in North America.

According to Market Watch, General Mills has recently indicated that they may be increasing prices. There is even speculation that they may resort to shrinking the box size as a way to keep costs down.

Pricing always comes down to value. Cereal companies must never lose sight of offering value in the consumer's mind. This means innovation and a strong brand image.

I fear that they are getting closer to losing the value battle.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Flake - the movie

Flake is a new comedy movie that has the lead role managing a cereal bar. According to an initial review it's not a great picture, but I'm sure cereal restaurants like Cereality and The Cereal Bowl are ecstatic!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Weekly Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "Should cereal companies be restricted in marketing to children?"

Here are the results:

Yes - 48%
No - 52%

My take on the above results: I let this poll run a little longer than usual because it was so close. Obviously people are fairly evenly divided on this issue, a fact that should concern advocates on both sides.

Now it's time for our next question. Cereal has become a versatile food, so, "How do you eat cereal?"


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

A reminder for cereal lovers to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a bowl of Lucky Charms!

Also, in the St. Patty's Day theme, the Cereal Bowl restaurants will be offering green milk this weekend, in both whole and skim varieties! Read Press Release.

Now, that's fun!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nature Valley goes cereal

Nature Valley, the prominent granola bar brand, is now expanding to cereal (a reverse trend compared to cereal companies who launch breakfast bars!). According to their website Nature Valley cereal is "100% natural" and will come in two varieties: Oats 'n Honey and Cinnamon.

It's granola bar cereal.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Innovative Design

To get attention in a crowded cereal market you have to stand out. Dorset Cereals in the U.K. appears to have done so with their very attractive line of cereals. Obviously these are targeted to adults, and they represent a health-oriented brand. Nevertheless, rarely does one see true packaging design innovations in cereal, which is strange since few other commodities are so dependent on their packaging. Dorset is an exception.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cereal box landscapes

Cereal boxes are an important cultural expression. Canadian artist Gary Michael Dault is building on their significance by painting "1-minute paintings" on cereal boxes, but depicting landscapes. His work is currently being shown in a Halifax art gallery.

Read the article in The Chronicle Herald.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Weekly Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "When do you commonly eat cereal?"

Here are the results:

Breakfast - 72%
Lunch - 23%
Dinner - 33%
Snack - 58%
(more than one reponse was permitted)

My take on the above results: No real surprises, except I would have expected breakfast to have been a little higher and lunch lower. Nevertheless, cereal is truly a versatile food in our culture.

Here's the question for this week:

Now it's time for our next question. With all the controversial of marketing unhealthy cereals targeted at children, "Should cereal companies be restricted in marketing to children?"


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cereal and blogging

Here are some noteworthy posts regarding cereal from the past few weeks:

The World, The Flesh and The Devil ponders dating from the perspective of a bowl of Lucky Charms

Full Flavour Behaviour! rants on the nutrition marketing on British Cheerios boxes

Cereal blogger shares the reason Rice Krispies snap, crackle and pop

You ain't my friend, Palooka proposes "Unlucky" Charms

Emerald City writes a treatise on Crunch and Chocula

Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death reviews the new Special K Chocolatey Delight

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

NEW Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles

Innovation is essential for keeping a brand fresh and growing. According to The Retroist, Post has recently released Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles, a new variety of the Pebbles line. Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles have never been favorites of mine, but you can't fault Post for tapping into Flintstones nostalgia with this entire line.

Just plain fun.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kellogg's Hot Wheels cereal

Kellogg is on to something. Last week I reported on the Barbie Fairytopia cereal hitting markets. Now I've discovered Hot Wheels, a new cereal obviously targeted to boys. As you can see from the photo, there are at least three design versions of the box. The back features cut-out collector cards.

There are several interesting aspects to these new cereals:

1. Kellogg is recognizing the time-tested value that cereal marketing is done best when it highlights pop culture.

2. Kellogg has partnered with Mattel on these new cereals. A good partnership, and certainly a good replacement for its loss of Disney.

3. Hot Wheels and Barbie are resurrections of previous cereals from 2 decades ago. Hopefully other cereals from the past will find new life for a new generation!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Barbie Fairytopia cereal

Although I haven't seen it yet and it is not yet promoted on the Kellogg website, indications from ebay auctions and other bloggers is that there is a new Barbie Fairytopia cereal hitting the market. It's been many years (30?) since Ralston's Barbie cereal, so it's fun to see this new modern version introduced.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

The passsion of cereal box collecting

Cereal box collecting is a growing hobby for those fascinated with the expressions of pop culture in these marketing containers. I am an avid collector myself, but it's always interesting to read of the passion of serious collectors of cereal boxes. The Roanoke Times recently ran a story that included the story of Bob Konrad, a Michigan collector with over 2000 boxes in his collection.

What's scary is that I can identify with Bob's obsession.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Weekly Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. My last question was: "Who is your favorite current cereal character? (FINAL PLAYOFF)"

Here are the results:

Tony the Tiger - 43%
Cap'n Crunch & Trix (tie) - 14%
Sugar Bear - 11%
Dig'Em & Fred Flintstone and Barney (tie) - 7%
Sonny the Cuckoo Bird - 4%

NOTE: Technically, Dig 'Em received the highest number of votes, but it was apparent that despite the features preventing it, someone spammed my poll on Sunday with 28 votes. I've disregarded 27 of them.

My take on the above results: No surprise. It was no concept. Without question Tony is the most popular cereal character today and ever. Case closed.

Here's the question for this week:

Now it's time for our next question. Cereal is more than breakfast food for many people. So, to confirm this assertion, "When do you commonly eat cereal?"


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cereal as dessert

Cereal has long been a snack favorite at any time of the day, and there are hundreds of dessert recipes incorporating cereal as a primary ingredient. But, now cereal could become even more popular for those with a sweet tooth.

The Cereal Bowl restaurant chain has recently introduced a new line of menu item featuring cereal as a "wonderful new dessert experience". For example, there is Strawberry Cheesecake Oatmeal, "A delicious combination of old fashioned oatmeal, Strawberries, and The Cereal Bowl’s own proprietary Graham Bites and Cheesecake recipes".

Sounds delicious!

Certainly the recent development of cereal restaurants will promote and increase cereal consumption at various times of the day and occasions, but this recent development is a much more blatant step that truly recognizes the true versatility of cereal.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Where's the fruit?

Today's San Francisco Chronicle has an article reporting on a study released by the The Prevention Institute and the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments (who comes up with these titles?). The report reveals that more than half of children's foods purported to contain fruit actually have little or no fruit in them. They did not consider real fruit flavoring or less than 10% fruit juice as qualifying as containing fruit (So even some of the newer cereals claiming to be more natural, such as Fruity Cheerios, are in their eyes no big deal). Of course, this matter is not just limited to cereals.

The topic raises a number of issues, ranging from truth-in-advertising to marketing to children to nutrition. Not the first time that cereal has been implicated.

By the way, here are the cereals that made their "no fruit" list: Berry Berry Kix, Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, Froot Loops, Fruity Cheerios, Fruity Pebbles, and Trix.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cereal and bloggers

Here are some noteworthy blog postings concerning cereal from the past few weeks:

Finding Salihah shares a mother's experience resulting from the cut-out hole as part of a free book promotion recently in Cheerios.

V^3 ponders the merits of cereal as a late night snack.

The Chicagoist doesn't get the new chocolate flavored cereals.

Cereal Buzz's latest review: Cocoa Krispies Choconilla

danxishere is frustrated with General Mills tampering with the shapes and colors in Trix and Lucky Charms

aghrivaine proposes a cereal version of the "beer helmet"

Ed South waxes nostalgic on some obscure cereals of the past, and then offers his opinions on the new Disney cereals. tries to create a popcorn cereal.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

First look at new Disney cereals

As announced a couple of months ago, after working with Kellogg and then trying on their own, Disney now has a licensing agreement with General Mills.

General Mills website now has pictures and information on the first three new Disney cereals, presumably to hit store shelves soon: Little Einstein's Fruity Stars, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Berry Crunch, and Princess Fairytale Flakes.

Certainly a step up from Disney's disastrous attempt to launch their own cereal brand.

Also, interesting to note that these new cereals are slightly more nutritionally sound than most typical children's cereals, although much of this is merely marketing.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch

I don't typically report on every new cereal that comes along, especially those from the fringe companies. But this one I couldn't resist.

Health cereal manufacturer, Nature's Path, has announced the introduction of Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch. I haven't seen the cereal yet on my grocers' shelves, so I haven't tried it. But the name alone has me intrigued.

Sure it sounds healthy. But it's also creative, especially with an ingredient not commonly used in cereal: pumpkin.

Maybe mainline cereal companies need to learn a lesson from Nature's Path. You don't have to resort to gimmicks to get attention. Create a unique, cereal that also tastes great and could have a real winner.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Weekly Poll Update

The results from our latest Breakfast Bowl poll are in. Last week's question was: "Who is your favorite current Post or Quaker cereal character?"

Here are the results:

Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble - 40%
Cap'n Crunch & Sugar Bear (tie) - 27%
Quisp - 7%
A,B and C - 0%

My take on the above results: I'm shocked. I thought the Cap'n would run away with it, but obviously the star power of Fred and Barney is too great!

Here's the question for this week:

Now it's time for our CEREAL CHARACTER FINAL PLAYOFF. Using the top two winners from our previous rounds, here is your chance to vote for your favorite cereal character from among all brands. So, "Who is your favorite current cereal character? (FINAL PLAYOFF)"


Sunday, January 14, 2007

NEW Cocoa Krispies Choconilla

A couple of days ago I reported on Kellogg's new Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries, but it is not the only new Krispies offering. A more sugared option is also now available: Cocoa Krispies Choconilla, a "blend of chocolate and vanilla flavors". Hardly innovative, but definitely inline with the trend toward more chocolaty cereals.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

NEW: Kellogg's Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries

In an age of culinary convenience, Kellogg has launched a new version of Rice Krispies that includes strawberries. Not the delicious, fresh kind that taste great in cereal, but the freeze-dried ones that add flavor but not like the real thing.

Look for them in your grocers' aisles soon.

More information at: press release and website.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cereality expands to airports

Cereal restaurant pioneer, Cereality, has announced that it is expanding its concepts to airports. Previously, Cereality restaurants were found primarily on college campuses, targeting college students who enjoy eating cereal anytime of day. With a new location in Newark, and ones opening soon at JFK in New York and in Chicago, Cereality is targeting a new market: travelers.

Great idea. I can't wait to fly into one of those airports!

Story from the Chicago Sun-Times.

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