Breakfast Cereals Americans No Longer Love

Posted on June 23, 2011 by


Thank you to our reader who corrected that General Mills manufacturers Cheerios.

The average American spends about 13 minutes a day preparing and eating breakfast, the meal nutritionists consider to be the most important of the day, according to NPD Group.   Increasingly, people are eating less cold cereal, which has been part of breakfast for more than 100 years, according to an article in

“In the 1980s and the first half of the 1990’s, the RTE (ready-to-eat) cereal industry was one of the most profitable of all food manufacturing industries, with profits averaging 17 percent of sales,” according to a 2000 report from the USDA.   “Consumers’ consumption of RTE cereals declined in the early 1990’s because of the high prices of name-brand cereals and the rising popularity of convenient breakfast foods such as bagels and toaster pastries.”

 Cereal is under assault from many quarters.  Government officials want to further restrict the use of cartoon characters such as Toucan Sam to sell sugary cereals because of concerns about soaring rates of childhood obesity. Companies have been reducing the amount of sugar in their products.   They are also selling them in other ways such as breakfast bars, sales of which are soaring.

Much to the horror of nutritionists, the popularity of egg-based breakfast sandwiches is surging.  It remains unclear how much this eats into cereal sales, however, since some people apparently eat a small breakfast at home and eat a “snack” like an Egg McMuffin later in the morning.  What it does illustrate is the power of a convenient food item to drive sales at restaurants, which have seen breakfast sales remain strong throughout the economic downturn.

Kellogg, the largest cereal company, isn’t faring as well. These are 24/7 Wall St. Breakfast Cereals Americans No Longer Love.

 6. Corn Flakes

 Originally developed in 1894 by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, as a way to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet. It’s an American classic like apple pie that is facing hard times because of the growth of private label brands.  Also, it’s being undermined by newer organic brands.

 5. Cheerios

 Cheerios has been the part of the diets of babies and toddlers for generations.  Birth rates have fallen, however, as the economy went south.  Moreover, the market for healthy cereals has exploded in recent years, further pressuring the venerable brand.

 4. Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran is the victim of its own success, which has spawned legions of knock-off brands. Many of them are made by private label makers and sold for a fraction of the cost of the real thing. Cash-strapped consumers probably can’t tell the difference.

 3. Rice Krispies

Snap, Crackle and Pop are among the most recognized brand icons in history.  The product has morphed from a health food to a snack food product.  It’s kind of tough to argue that something that’s an ingredient in delicious snacks is healthy.

 2. Corn Pops

 Corn Pops are a tough sell these days.  Parents — smart ones anyway — are not thrilled if their children ingest sugary cereals.  Adults don’t want them either because they are not healthy with 117 calories and 14.8 grams of sugar.

 1. Special K

One of the first diet foods.  It’s still a good way to start your day on the right track — nutritionally speaking.  Too bad that it is elbowing for attention in a very crowded market.

Why are these all Kellogg’s brands? Is it because there facilities have been cited by the FDA?

Posted in: kitchen