Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Inventors are still trying to come up with the perfect cereal bowl, especially in our highly mobile society. I have highlighted a number of them in this blog.

Here's the latest, the CerealThing, a mug-shaped contained with individual milk and cereal compartments, separated by a patented valve. The insulatated milk compartment also has a built-in cold pack.

More information is available at

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Macho Muesli

Jordans Cereals, a British company that I have highlighted before, seems to be one of the industry's innovation leaders. Recently they introduced Macho Muesli, a cereal designed specifically for men. This was just the creation of some R&D test kitchen, but comes from a marketing campaign where men were invited to visit a Men & Muesli website and to share their ideas through an online survey.

Besides the tub packaging, Macho Muesli is a unique cereal taste, with "a tasty chunky blend of wholegrain cereal flakes with raisins, chopped nuts, dried sweetened cranberries, cocoa nibs and pumpkin seeds". In Jordan's words, "it's not bird food!"

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Learning from global operations

While ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are an innovation that originated in the U.S., their appeal has extended throughout the world. And, even the major cereal companies have been wise enough to allow their brands to take on local ingenuity and character.

Kellogg for example has the most extensive global operations. It is fun to visit the websites from many of these countries to see the unique products, packaging and other innovations.

In the United Kingdom, for example, there is Coco Pops Creations, a "pick'n'mix cereal" with four different cereal shapes and sizes to mix and blend for a different combination at every breakfast.

Certainly, what works in one country won't necessarily work in another. But, perhaps companies should be more willing to try some of these ideas elsewhere. I know some of this goes on already, but in an increasingly global economy this should be the rule.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

General Mills goes vintage

Things have been relatively quiet with General Mills lately. But, I've noticed that they have introduced limited editions of vintage cereal boxes, including Lucky Charms (the only one I've been able to find so far), Kix, Golden Grahams, Wheaties and Honey Nut Cheerios. This should be a fun trip down memory lane, tapping into our nostalgic cravings.

And, there is also a corresponding vintage T-Shirt offer.

Now, if only the cereal prices were vintage!

UPDATE 03/03/08: It appears that these retro boxes are only available at Target stores.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

More breakfast kits

The other day I posted about Kellogg's new Jump Start breakfast kits. Since then I've discovered that Kellogg is not the first company to come up with this concept.

Last year East Side Entrees partnered with General Mills to come up with Breakfast Breaks, a similar concept incorporating cereal (Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Lucky Charms) plus juice, a snack and even a spoon, napkin and moist towelette. While now available in some retail stores, the kits were developed for the National School Breakfast Program. In that context these kits make perfect sense.

I still can't see them doing well in the general marketplace.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

African American Cereal

In our highly diverse society, niche marketing is an effective strategy.

Now there is even cereal targeted to African Americans! Lawdy Miss Clawdy is a new brand that targets this distinct market with a wide range of food products. Their 'Make Momma Proud' Cereals come in four varieties, and feature inductees of the The National Black & Entertainment Hall of Fame (Dorothy Dandridge, Lloyd Price, Louis Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson). Besides encouraging pride among African Americans, proceeds from the sale of these cereals will go to support the construction of a new Hall of Fame building in Harlem, New York, and three universities in Louisiana.

Why not?

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kellogg product and brand extensions

In recent years Kellogg has worked hard at building upon its current products and brands to retain customer attention and loyalty in a crowded marketplace. From a marketing perspective this is wise, but I question how long they can do this before they have diluted themselves?

For example, I have discussed before how Special K (originally a single cereal product) is now a sub-brand itself targeted specifically at women struggling with weight issues. There are several varieties of the cereal now, plus cereal bars and even protein waters.

All-Bran is their latest attempt using this strategy. All-Bran is at the front of consumers minds when they think of fiber cereal. Here too Kellogg has introduced a range of new cereal flavors, bars, and their latest innovation All-Bran Fiber Drink Mix in pink lemonade and iced tea flavors. Hardly cereal, but a definite tie-in to health conscious consumers. Overall the All-Bran category becomes stronger.

But it's not only brands that Kellogg is extending. The products themselves are getting reused in new ways. They have just released Kellogg's Morning Jump Starts, a breakfast kit that contains cereal (Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Minii-Wheats or Rice Krispies) plus some other Kellogg product (like Keebler cookies or a Pop Tart), and juice. It's supposed to be a convenient meal-in-a-box, but I question whether its cost and excessive packaging are really that attractive, except for those parents way too busy to sit their children down for breakfast. But give them points for trying. I doubt, however, that this will catch on, except perhaps in the fast food restaurant industry.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

The Bear Naked story

The New York Times recently ran an article on Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott, founders of the successful Bear Naked granola cereal brand. Bear Naked is an innovative, alternative brand that recently was purchased by Kellogg, leaving the two partners with tons of money.

In many ways it is sad to see a small, upstart like Bear Naked get taken over by a big corporation. But, if you offered me $122 million I'd probably take it too!

Nevertheless, a story worth reading.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Flake technology

While marketing of cereals seems to get most of the attention, underlying the breakfast cereal industry is mass manufacturing. It's one thing to implement a recipe in your kitchen, another to consistently make thousands of pounds of the stuff for once batch. Obviously food technology is a big part of our food supply system, cereal included.

This may seem far from breathtaking or revolutionary but Baker Perkins, a food equipment company, has designed a new roller that is designed to make more even and consistent flakes. The result could be higher quality and lower costs.

My point in all of this is that appropriate technology may be one of the key things the cereal industry needs to increase customer value, regulate costs, and spur innovation.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

How else can you use cereal?

Cereal is certainly one of the most versatile of modern foods. And, not only for eating. For example, children will frequently use them in crafts and art projects.

In Britain, a land of strange creativity, the town of Bexhill is erecting a clock, patterned after Big Ben, that is made out of Shredded Wheat. (Read the story in the Hastings and St. Leonard's Observer).
Exciting, or what?

How else can you use cereal?

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cereal and bloggers

It's been a long time since I've listed significant blog posts in recent weeks and months. Here are some that have caught my attention:

Russ Cavins laments over the evolution of cereal and how they "just aren't what they used to be".

if on a rainy night reflects on the relationship between the healthful nature of cereal and the behavior of children.

Wexford Girl writes on her love affair with cereal

suburbian queen composed a fun little post describing the stages of life with cereal.

eaties was a cereal restaurant startup in Asheville, North Carolina but closed due to lack of success. Here is the farewell post. experiments with cereal in baking and demonstrates that there are cereals other than Rice Krispies that make great treats.

all kinds of stuff provides a fascinating exploration (including wonderful photos) of the evolution of Tony the Tiger to demonstrate how branding really started to go downhill in the 70's.

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