Have you ever been in the cereal aisle and seen a new creation or limited time cereal that inspires you to think, What is happening to the world?
The first time I remember this happening was when I was about 10 years old and my dad brought home Fruit Loops with marshmallows. Even as a ten year old child, the cereal’s key demographic, I remember thinking that was a bit much. It was also the first time I realized that cereal companies will occasionally roll out new incarnations or creations in an attempt to keep the brand fresh.
But, how often does this technique actually work? I feel like maybe one in twenty of these experimental cereals is strong enough to stand the test of time and join the big leagues of classic standbys. Everyone wants to be the next Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries (note: “CAP’N CRUNCH”, not “CAPTAIN CRUNCH”).
This throw it all at the wall and see what sticks approach has, however, given us some amazing innovative monstrosities. The sheer boldness it takes for these cereal companies to invent, manufacture, test, and produce some of these cereals for consumption by the public is staggering.
Not to mention the gems we get when whatever the moment’s popular TV show/movie/celebrity is given its own cereal. That is some limited-time-only magic wherein the cereal box’s image works to sell the poison that resides within.
It is these strokes of marketing genius, this constant need to invent – or reinvent – the cereal industry, that gives my friends and me never ending joy.
For, you see, once a year us grown adults gather for a dinner party in which we taste, assess and rate these stepchildren of the cereal family. The more outlandish, linked to a trend, potentially disgusting the cereal, the better. We each bring a box of cereal, get our bowls and spoons and our rating cards, and the trials begin.
What follows are this year’s findings.
CONTESTANT 1: Kellogg’s Krave S’mores Cereal
We’d tried the chocolate version of this cereal at a previous party. It was like eating chocolate frosting rolled in dried grass clippings. This one, I have to say, was more promising. Definitely a strong s’mores flavor, and the texture was crunchy and pleasing. It tasted like eating lots of mini s’mores Pop Tarts. They didn’t stay crunchy in milk very long, so I’d recommend either eating them in small servings at a time, or sans milk as a a sweet snack.
Resilience in Milk: 3/5
This is one of those aforementioned cereals that capitalizes on the popularity of a movie/show/etc. These are rarely good because, even if you like it, it’s going to be gone as soon as popularity dips for whomever is on the box. I imagine not much attention goes into the creation of a short-lived cereal, and this one is no exception.
Upon first bite, my husband and I simultaneously said, “It’s salty,” and “It tastes like Corn Nuts.”
The only saving grace of this cereal is the marshmallows, but God help you if you get a non-marshmallow bite. I never knew kid’s breakfast cereal could be salty. Texture-wise, it was like any other cereal-and-dehydrated-marshmallow combo you’d expect. It did retain its crunch for a while, but it tastes like a bowl of Lucky Charms mixed with crushed Fritos. And, because it features licensed characters, it’s like $5 for a (mercifully) tiny box.
So when your kid points to this and says they want Elsa cereal, politely put Lucky Charms in the cart instead and say, “Don’t say I never did anything for you.”
Resilience in Milk: 4/5
CONTESTANT 3: Minions Cereal
As it moved up in the cereal line, we all quietly dreaded its approach.
When it came time to actually eat it, it delivered on anticipated horror.
This cereal looked like miniature crackers with images of the minions crudely stamped on them. They smelled like vaguely fruity scent. But, they tasted like summer garbage water. This might be due to the fact that they’re flavored with natural ingredients, but the end does not justify the means.
Nobody in the group made it past two bites of this. One of my friends spit it right back into the bowl.
How do I accurately describe this? Imagine you’re doing a papier mache project. You create a newspaper pulp and bind it together with some sort of flour and watered down glue. Next, you arrange it on a baking sheet and sprinkle it with powders whose labels read “Banana” and “Generic Fruit Flavor.” Then, just for funsies, you throw on a healthy dusting of whatever coats Cheez-its. Oh, and not traditional delicious Cheez-its. You wish. The white cheddar kind. You pop this Frankensnack into the oven until all moisture dies. You remove this banana cheese sheet, cut it into 1 inch squares, haphazardly stamp each one with an image that loosely resembles one of the Minions, throw it into a brightly illustrated box and sell it to unsuspecting children and cereal-loving 30-somethings.
You should be punished for your crimes.
Taste: An unwelcome mix of sweet and savory you never want in a breakfast cereal. 0/5
Texture: Like eating a bowl crackers floating in milk. 0/5
Resilience in Milk: Didn’t stick around long enough to find out. -/5
Not only was this a welcome palate cleanser after the previous……experience, it was pretty delicious and the sure winner of the night.
First of all, it’s a Fruity Pebbles offshoot, so you know it’s going to be good. Fruity Pebbles wins in both bold taste and satisfying texture. Its only weakness is staying crunchy in milk.
Secondly, these pebbles are like the most bright neon color attainable for a food product, so you know they’re going to be tasty.
Texture-wise, you know the drill with pebbles. Taste-wise, pretty great. I expected them to have that imitation “ice cream” flavor which just gets reduced to tasting like vanilla frosting. But, they had all the fruit flavor of Fruity Pebbles with what my friend described as a “tart hint of sherbet.” I highly recommend these if you like traditional Pebbles, but want something a little different without jumping the cereal shark.
Resilience in Milk: 3/5
CONTESTANT 5: Sprinkled Donut Crunch
This newest addition to the Captain’s family is nothing terribly exciting but is definitely a tasty treat. The foundation of the cereal is similar to the O’s in Oh’s cereal. The frosted crunchy rings act as a delivery system for the nonpareils which give the cereal its fun donut-like appearance.
The whole outfit has sort of a generally sweet, slightly vanilla flavor with a satisfying crunch. In typical Cap’n Crunch fashion, this cereal does rough up your mouth a little. But, it’s a small sacrifice to have a cereal that stays crunchy throughout your eating session. These would also be good as just a snack. I could totally kick it with a cup of these and munch them while watching a movie.
Resilience in Milk: 5/5