Monday, January 30, 2006

Cereal and bloggers

Notable blog postings on cereal from the past week:
The John Larroquette Project relates a nightmare discovering that he is out of cereal.
fortysomething goes down memory lane remembering an old Sugar Pops box.
Corner 133 describes the quest for the perfect cereal bowl.
Jay Storey in The Daily Cardinal writes on "Cereal Monogamy in College"

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

How Kellogg Ignored Warning Signs of Food Lawsuit

Early this month I reported in "Activists sue over cereal ads" that the Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening a lawsuit against Nickelodeon and Kellogg for using cartoon characters  to sell unhealthy cereals. For those interested in this development, a worthwhile read is at, an advertising industry publication and website. Their article "How Kellogg Ignored Warning Signs of Food Lawsuits" chronicles how the company "took few actions to promote health-oriented product changes".

I told you healthier wasn't better!

Yesterday I posted about Business 2.0's "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" in 2005. Here's another from the same list:
82. Go d thi g we h te A pha-B ts, anyw y.
Attempting to reformulate Alpha-Bits into a healthier cereal made with 75 percent whole grains and no sugar, Kraft Foods runs into "letter integrity" issues: The whole-oat flour yields an edible alphabet that's too chunky to read, while the elimination of the sugar coating causes the floating font to break apart more readily. Adding insult to injury, a dining reporter for the New York Times soon weighs in, saying the less-legible cereal "tastes like wet cardboard."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

4th Dumbest Moment in Business

One of my favorite business magazines, Business 2.0, has published their list of 2005's "101 Dumbest Moments in Business".
Number 4 on the list is General Mills for promoting children's health through such "healthy" cereals as Cocoa Puffs, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms. As I've pointed out before, these are mixed messages that cereal companies are sending, and in the end no one wins.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean

Movie-themed boxes have been some of the more interesting cereal promotions over the years. The latest is Kellogg's Pirates of the Caribbean. The bold design featuring Johnny Depp has been catching the attention of consumers. In fact, it is my observation that within the blogosphere this has probably been the most talked about cereal box. People are noticing it, and obviously buying it. Good job, Kellogg's. Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Great Grains

I continue to assert that cereal restaurants are a hot trend to watch for, especially this year. While I can't devote attention to every Cereality copycat or restaurant opening, this one one caught my attention. Great Grains Cereal and Juice Bar in Utah is a new entry in this emerging restaurant trend. What I found especially interesting is a TV news story by KUTV that can be watched online.


Monday, January 23, 2006

The trend is yogurt

USA Today has a brief article on the growth of yogurt as a food ingredient and even as a component in personal care products.  This is certainly evident in cereals, with a number of new cereals launched even within the last year containing cereal, most notably Cheerios, Life, Total, and Special K. Besides offering its unique flavor, yogurt has some real and perceived health benefits that are attractive to consumers.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bloggers and cereal

Here are some notable blog postings on cereal from the past week:
Beanblog tries to make the case that Cookie Crisp is a healthy breakfast choice.
Monkeycube reflects on the new Berry Lucky Charms and other cereal related thought, and in a separate post provides a comic book example of Cap'n Crunch's "Soggies".

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Activists sue over cereal ads

A topic that shows up here from time to time is the controversy of cereals and cereal ads that are targeted to children. Many of these cereals are not that nutritionally sound. Last month, for example, I reported on a study from the Instititute of Medicine of the National Academies which confirmed the link between cartoon characters in cereal ads and their influence on children.
Now, according to the Boston Globe, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened a lawsuit against Nickeloden cable network and Kellogg for using cartoon characters like SpongeBob SquarePants to sell unhealthy cereals.
So will this be the end of creative cereal marketing? Will Kellogg, General Mills, etc. change their marketing because of this threat?
Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Cereal not big in China

It is apparent that cereal is not a staple food everywhere in the world, like it is in North America and in a few other places. Cultural influences have kept cereal from becoming the way most people in the world start their day. While you can typically find cereal in grocery stories in other countries, you may have to search to find the few brands for sale.
General Mills has recently discovered this in China. Cereal isn't taking off, so they are recognizing the reality of the situation and promoting other foods such as dumplings and fruit snacks to increase sales.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bloggers and cereal

Here are some noteworthy blogs regarding cereal from the past couple of weeks:
hipchick1o1 reminds us of a Willy Wonka quote stating that cereal is made of "those little curly wood shavings you find in pencil sharpeners".
playfulady wonders why cereal manufacturers don't put toys in the cereal for adults.
raven_eyeliner is concerned that some cereal boxes are teaching morality
In nemo85 we are presented with the observation that "dog food is basically beef cereal". Yumm!

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Cereal ad wars

General Mills has been losing market share to Kellogg, so this week they announced that will be significantly increasing their advertising spending. They believe that their market share has dropped due to raising prices on many of their cereals.
That's a possibility, although I'm not completely convinced that, with the exception of the bagged and store-brand cereals, people buy cereal more for brand than price. Yet, within the last couple of years General Mills has done a better job of brand development. So, maybe price has been having an effect. I guess we'll have to see what happens as the result of these new marketing efforts.
LINK to Reuter's story.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alternative cereals

Barbara's Bakery. Peace. Kashi. Nature's Path. Cascadian Farm. These are some of the alternative branded cereals that are sold in some grocery stores, and in many health food stores. Their emphasis on is on health, claiming to be organic, more nature, or environmentally-friendly. Interestingly, some of these brands are actually owned by the big cereal companies like Kellogg's, General Mills, and Quaker.
The New York Times published an informative article on this phenomenon: "Serving Good Intentions by the Bowlful". Check it out.

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Cereality Catering

Cereal restaurant leader, Cereality, is expanding its concept to included catering. While they currently only have a few locations, they are even willing to do it at distant locations. (LINK for more information).
It could be a fun alternative to many of the predictable hors d'oeuvre's, snacks, etc. offered at business meetings and parties!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Longhorns to appear on Wheaties

For the first time in nine years a national college football champion will appear on a Wheaties box. General Mills announced that the Texas Longhorns, winner of the Rose Bowl yesterday, will appear on Wheaties, beginning in Texas in a few weeks and going nationwide next month.
(I guess I shouldn't mention that I was cheering for USC!)

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Post-Holiday reminder

Cereal and egg nog don't go together. Check out this comic:

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Cereal restaurant articles and reflections

Two new articles today, highlighting the growing interest in cereal restaurants like Cereality. includes cereal restaurants in its trends to watch for in 2006.
In These Times provides another look at Cereality and the whole patent issue.
As I stated as recently as few days ago, I am convinced that cereal restaurants are a hot trend and will continue to gain consumer and media attention.
A question I have been pondering, is: With the impending growth of cereal restaurants, will the role of cereal in our society change? From a breakfast and comfort food, to a fast food? What impact will this have on our emotional attachment to cereal?
Good questions for further reflection.

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