Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ancient cereal?

Because of the large role that cereal plays in our modern diet and lifestyle it's easy to overlook the historical background of this food staple. While breakfast cereal today is a food often interesting more because of its marketing than substance, it is worth noting that cereal is not a modern invention. True, packaged, ready-to-eat cereals are relatively new on the human stage (apx. 100+ years), but there is evidence that other cereal concoctions have been around for a long time. In fact, a new Canadian study just published in the journal Science reveals that our ancestors have been processing grains for at least 100,000 years. And this likely included porridges.

I wonder what their boxes looked like?

(Source: AFP)

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recession good for cereal?

It was exactly one year ago that I pondered the impact of the recession on the cereal industry. One year later it looks like the recession could actually be boosting cereal sales, at least for General Mills. Their second quarter profit is up 50%, and analysts believe that in addition to lower ingredient costs more people are turning to cereal for cheap meal, and not just for breakfast. People are eating at home more and cereal is a versatile food that can be eaten at any time. 

Are you eating more cereal now?

(Source: AP)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chex and the Holidays

It's that time of year for parties and social gatherings. And, you are likely to find Chex Party Mix at some of them. The famous snack concoction incorporates General Mills' versatile Chex cereals.

An interesting article in the New York Times provides good background on the mix, and further recipe innovations using the cereal.

(Note: I am quoted in the article).

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

General Mills to further reduce sugars

General Mills announced today that they will be further reducing the sugar content in cereals. Specifically, this applies to cereals advertised to children and the sugar levels will be brought down to "single-digit" levels per serving.

The trend toward healthier cereals is growing, largely the result of pressure from advocacy groups concerned about the marketing of unhealthy cereals to children. Kellogg has already reduced sugar content in many of its cereals, and both Kellogg and General Mills have boosted their cereals with fiber.

General Mills admits that reducing sugar can impact cereal taste. But, they believe that "technology, time and investment" is allowing them to reach their goal.

This evolution to more nutritious cereals is a reality we must accept. While classic cereal brands targeted to children will persist, they will certainly never again be as many of us remember them from our childhoods.

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