There is a long history of cereal brands making alliances with pop culture. While we all know the dangers of added sugar and empty carbs, more cereal boxes continue to appear in the supermarket all the time. New candy-flavored breakfast cereals are hitting the store this month.
Both Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles hit the market in the late ‘60s. With branding from the Flintstones, they kicked off the era of candy cereals linked to already popular brands. Every kid-friendly movie had a tie-in cereal, Dunkin’ Donuts had a brand and kids shows and toys all got their own breakfasts. Additionally, cute cartoon characters were stamped on the box and woven into advertising to sell the sugar-heavy breakfasts.
We seem to be in a breakfast cereal resurgence. This could be because millennials avoid breakfast cereals, viewing them as sugar-rush inducing foods composed of empty calories. Cereal makers are interested in reclaiming the people who ate their products as children. Toymaker Funko has been introducing kitsch lines, replete with mini versions of their action figures.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that starting the day with sugar and processed carbs, the cereals continue to come to the market. Hostess has released a Twinkies brand cereal. General Mills and Hershey are teaming up to make cereals based on Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and a new version of Reese’s Puffs with meatball-sized puffs.
While healthy trends happen all around us, these new cereals are not healthier than their predecessors. “The first ingredient of Twinkies Cereal is dextrose, which is sugar made from corn, and the second ingredient is just sugar, so you’re eating cereal that’s made up of more sugar than flour,” said Dr. Dyan Hes, medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics and director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
We give in to smart marketing. Last year Peeps brought out a cereal with Kellogg’s. People were upset — not by the poor taste of the cereal that, according to reviews, was unflavored except for being sweet — because the marshmallows were not Peep-shaped. It has been reintroduced with Peep-shaped marshmallows. Even though reviews are still saying the flavor is terrible, people are buying it.
A one-cup serving of the new candy cereals has almost half of the maximum amount of sugar someone under the age of 18 should have in a day. Most bowls of cereal hold significantly more than that amount. Our suggestion is to give these new brands a miss ad stick to fruit, healthy proteins and complex carbs for breakfast, the rest of your day will thank you!