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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