Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rare Cereal Box

Although not a record (but getting close) an extremely rare cereal box just sold on eBay for $1035.10. The 1969 Rice Honeys box features Beatles' Run-Ons in conjunction with their "Yellow Submarine" movie (ebay item: 170296884010).


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Changing the box

Kellogg announced today a marketing test of new cereal boxes that could change the way we look at cereal in the grocery store. They are launching a six-month test in the Michigan area of boxes that they claim are "more consumer-friendly" and "space-saving". It could also provide new opportunities for shelving configurations in stores.

On the surface this appears to be another one of those packaging "tricks" to squeeze more profit out of cereals. I believe this relatively minor change has the potential to have a much greater effect. And, it could give Kellogg a new place in consumers' minds, at least in the short-term.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cereal with a conscience

Corporate philanthropy is not new, even for cereal companies. But, here's one worth noting and is in line with the company and its products.

Quaker Oats has announced a partnership with Share Our Strength (a non-profit organization) with the goal of donating one million bowls of oatmeal to help end childhood hunger in America. Besides being a good public relations move for Quaker it can make a difference for families who need it.

More information and get involved at:

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Cereal boxes archive

One of the best things about cereal is not cereal itself but the boxes. For decades cereal boxes have been one of the prime drivers for cereal sales. There is not another food that has sold more for its packaging than its content.

Artist Dan Goodsell has compiled a fascinating online archive of old cereal boxes. There are hundreds of images of past boxes.

Take a nostaligic journey at:

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hannah Montana

One of my fascinations with cereal is because of its link with popular culture. For decades cereal companies have found ways to tie-in cereals sports figures, TV and movie themes, etc. Most recently Kellogg seems to be doing this the most.

The latest example is new Disney Hannah Montana cereal, a multi-grain "secret star" cereal with strawberry milkshake flavoring. It's unlikely to become a classic cereal, but I'm sure that in the coming weeks young girls will be begging their mothers to bring a box home. And, that spells profit for both Kellogg and Disney!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Banana Nut Cheerios

General Mills has further extended its leading Cheerios brand with new Banana Nut Cheerios. This brings to eleven the number of Cheerios varieties.

Brand extension is an important way for the big cereal companies to innovate and fight off the trend toward generic cereals. Kellogg has done this well with an ever broadening line of Special K products. And Post has found success in its Honey Bunches of Oats line.

But, Cheerios does it best.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breakfast and virginity

From time to time I come across research studies done to study the effects of breakfast on human behavior and health. But, this latest is the strangest:

According to a recent Japanese study people who skip breakfast tend to lose their virginity earlier.

Makes you think twice about eating your Froot Loops.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Raise prices in a recession?

Reports are that Kellogg is about to hike prices on most of its cereal brands, the second increase in less than one year.

I understand that costs do tend to increase (although oil has dropped significantly), but I wonder (as I have before) how much consumers will be willing to spend on high-priced, name-brand cereal during a recession. Are short-term profits really that important at this time?

Innovation is still the long-term answer, but right now the big cereal companies need to find ways to express value in their brands, and they need to do this in a way that it is convincing to consumers. How will they respond?

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

MyWayCereal crowding the market

With the start of the new year things are rather quiet in the cereal world. One story that is regularly catching my attention in recent months concerns the start-up of custom-cereal companies such as mymuesli, MixMyGranola, and [me]&goji. The latest entrant to the field is MyWayCereal.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but what amazes me is how these startups are taking an innovative idea, but are themselves lacking any real differentiation. That is, they are all similiar: Choose your combinations online, and the finished product will be sent to you in a cylindrical container. Aren't there more ways for them to be innovative? Sure, the market is at its earliest phases and no real leader has emerged in the U.S., but sadly there will be casualities in this industry before maybe one rises to prominence. One only has to look at the cereal restaurant explosion of few years ago to see the same initial excitement. Except, today the concept seems to be almost dead. Hopefully custom-cereal makers will see the light and avoid these pitfalls.

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