A timeline of the best-selling breakfast cereals, organized by the year they were first available. For more info: http://geekoutnewyork.com/2008/10/cereal.php
Created by GeekOutNewYork on Oct 30, 2008
Last updated: 03/12/10 at 02:29 AM
Launched in 1989, making it very young as top-selling cereals go. I love Honey Bunches (the original, not the almond-y or fake strawberry-y version), but it's better to eat two small bowls than to have one enormous bowl because the little flakes get soggy quickly. I suppose you could also eat just one small bowl. In theory.
Based on shaky data, I'll estimate the introduction of Honey Graham Oh's at 1987. Oh's are delicious, so why are they so hard to find? Quaker Oats, also the makers of Quisp, has a penchant for developing cereals that everybody wants and then making them impossible to find. What a bunch of jerks. I'd like to punch that smug Quaker mascot square in the mouth. Too far?
Perhaps my favorite cereal, but caution, use sparingly. It's best we don't speak of the French Toast Crunch experiment.
This venerable brand has seen an untold number of bastardizations. It seems every time I go to D'Agostino I see that Kellogg's is spraying a new gross frosting on those poor innocent mini-wheats. I appreciate the slothful sentiment behind the bite-size version, but I still prefer the original mini-wheats you have to break up with your spoon. The Achilles heel of this cereal is that the mini-wheats are frosted inconsistently, so while your average mini-wheat is just right, sometimes you get one with a thick, hard layer of frosting (the result of too many coats) or, worst of all, a mini-wheat with barely any frosting at all. What does a regular-sized "wheat" look like?
I've never had it, but the old box art sure was creepy.
More than just Fruity Pebbles' oft-forgotten sibling, Cocoa Pebbles are the superior, more cocoa-riffic alternative to Cocoa Krispies. Krispies start losing their cocoa the moment the milk hits the bowl, so that by the time you eat down to the bottom layer, they've reverted to their true, pasty-white form. Cocoa Pebbles, on the other hand, hold on to their chocolate flavoring with exemplary determination, a commitment to great taste that deserves to be rewarded with your patronage.
I don't consider Fruity Pebbles to be in the same category as Trix or Froot Loops, as Fruity Pebbles is fruity in name only. It has a great texture, though, and I love the way when you pick up a spoonful of slightly wet Pebbles, your spoon is HEAVY. Pebbles stick together. A Pebbles meal starts strong and ends poorly. You're always left with a puddle of off-color milk and a few wimpy Pebbles that do little justice to their rock-hard namesake. Don't start a bowl if you're not willing to finish the job.
They have changed the taste of this cereal a couple times in recent years. Sure, it wasn't a top-tier brand to begin with, but I will never understand why companies muck around with a formula that has served them well for 40 years. In its current incarnation, Honey-Comb is one of those cereals, like Fruity Cheerios, that tries to be both a sugar cereal and a healthy cereal, and as a result fails to satisfy on either front.
Froot Loops are fine, but to my palate they get old fast. You're either a Froot Loops person or a Trix person. I'm the latter, although I absolutely hated those Trix commercials where they deprived the Sisyphean rabbit of his favorite food. Kids, it's cheap, buy two boxes and share.
According to Wikipedia, Lucky Charms was created when someone at General Mills tried mixing Cheerios with bits of circus peanuts. That is one twisted mind. But hey, thank God for it. The longstanding marketing strategy for Lucky Charms is to install a new die on the marshmallow-cutting machine and spray it with a slightly different spray of food coloring. Then shoot the commercial for NEW RAINBOW MARSHMALLOWS, and repeat. This was my first experience with planned obsolescence, and it totally worked on me. Still does. I feel ripped off if I'm eating a bowl of Lucky Charms that doesn't have the latest in marshmallow innovation. Lucky Charms and Trix are, to my knowledge, the only cereals that reliably turn poop green.
As you can see on the timeline, 1963 was a boom year for sugar cereals, and Cap'n Crunch wasn't going to miss out on the party. It launched that year and became the only breakfast cereal that literally hurts to eat. The eventual Crunch Berries variant was one of very few "hey, let's add some crap to an already good cereal!" gimmicks that was worthwhile. Note that the proper spelling is Cap'n Crunch, not "Captain" Crunch. GET IT RIGHT PEOPLE.
My mom refused to buy us Life until late in childhood, for no apparent reason. Once I finally did taste it, I mourned the years we had lost. Its flat shape makes it denser than your average cereal, something I always realize when I am joylessly downing the last spoonfuls after pouring way too much into the bowl.
Cocoa Puffs have the most artificial-tasting chocolate in all of cerealdom, which is saying something. For cereal that turns milk a disquieting shade of brown, I go with Cocoa Pebbles. In 1962, when a batch of Cocoa Puffs accidentally left the factory laced with LSD, afflicting thousands of children, General Mills turned the resulting PR fiasco in their favor by introducing the lovable Sonny, who was "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs"! My lawyers have advised me to state unconditionally that the previous paragraph isn't not untrue.
This is the second-best selling cereal in the present-day United States. That surprises me. I always thought it tasted pretty good for a supposed weight-loss option, but still, #2. Wow.
Frosted Flakes are the only American cereal (often the only breakfast cereal, period) that you can reliably get in Japanese food markets, so they accounted for 90% of my breakfasts when I was living over there. I have eaten them very little since.
Don't worry, the raisins in Kellogg's Raisin Bran are safely ensconced in a layer of tooth-rotting white sugar, so this cereal is safe to eat.
I knew that I was getting old when I started enjoying Cheerios without any sugar. When I was a kid, it took me half a bowl of sugar to make it through one bowl of Cheerios. I have no issue with public breastfeeding, but I do think it's gross when moms feed Cheerios from a ratty Zip-Loc bag to their gurgling babies at the airport.
The first breakfast cereal that tasted good, Kix later formed the foundation of Trix (Kix + fruit flavoring) and Cocoa Puffs (Kix + cocoa). I'm surprised that the 1992 spinoff Berry Berry Kix has survived so long, but I'm glad that it has. It's tasty.
When the biggest thing your cereal has going for it is the funny noise it makes, you have a poor product. No surprise, then, that Rice Krispies suck. That snap-crackle-pop is the sound of your breakfast rapidly devolving into mush—not that Krispies are any good while they're dry, either. I suppose in 1928, they'd take what they could get.
What does a cereal invented more than 100 years ago taste like? This.
I couldn't find the date when Grape-Nuts first went on sale, so the 1897 date is a best guess—that's supposedly when C. W. Post invented them. For obvious reasons, Grape-Nuts always remind me of 2-XL, that cassette-powered learning robot who squawked, "A peanut is neither a pea nor a nut!" in the commercials during American Gladiators. I don't mind a bowl of Grape-Nuts. They aren't so bad, despite their bum rap, provided you sprinkle them with plenty of sugar. On their own, they are of course quite vile.