Ready-to-eat cereals released during the pandemic meet demand for nostalgia, indulgence and healthier options.
Kellogg Co. is introducing its inaugural dipped cereal in the United States with the debut of Kellogg’s Special K Dipped Chocolatey Almond Cereal. The cereal features multigrain flakes made with whole grain wheat and rice dipped in a chocolatey shell, cocoa-dusted flakes and sliced almonds. Formulated with vitamin A, C and E as well as antioxidants, the cereal contains 240 calories, 16 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 1.25-cup serving.
“At Kellogg's Special K, we help cereal lovers do what's delicious by providing them with a diverse range of flavorful and innovative products,” said Cindy Huntington, brand director at Kellogg. “If you're craving a deliciously unique, chocolatey experience, our dipped cereal is the perfect bowlful, easily enjoyed during breakfast or any time of day.”
Post Consumer Brands is expanding its Pebbles ready-to-eat cereal brand with the launch of a new limited-edition birthday cake variety. The new cereal features blue, pink and yellow flakes and a vanilla birthday cake and frosting flavor.
“When it comes to birthdays, there’s nothing more iconic than a colorful cake,” said Amy Brothers, Pebbles cereal brand manager at Post Consumer Brands. “Our new Birthday Cake Pebbles cereal is a fun and delicious twist on the traditional birthday cake and is just one more way we’re celebrating with fans and keeping Pebbles 50th birthday party going this year. Plus, all Pebbles cereal varieties are gluten-free, so everyone can partake in the celebration.”
In March 2021, HighKey debuted Plant-Based Protein Cereal, a new line of ready-to-eat cereal with the highest protein content and lowest net carbs in the plant-based cereal category, according to the company.
HighKey Plant-Based Protein Cereal contains 16 grams of plant-based protein, 4 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of fiber per ¾-cup serving. The vegan-friendly, gluten-free and keto-friendly cereal comes in three flavors: cocoa, fruity and frosted. The cocoa cereal contains 160 calories per serving, while the fruity and frosted varieties contain 150 calories.
Formulated with no added sugar and sweetened with erythritol and stevia, the new plant-based cereal is made with soy protein, coconut oil, rice flour, inulin and oat fiber.
“Our Protein Cereal has been a hit with consumers,” said Aditya Patel, co-founder of HighKey. “Featuring nostalgic games on the box and classic flavors, we knew that the next step would be to make a plant-based version. We're on a mission to change the way people eat and want to deliver as many low-carb alternatives as possible that taste just as great as the original. Plant-based, low-carb and low-sugar diets aren't mutually exclusive.”
Kellogg in January unveiled Kashi GO Keto-Friendly Cereal, the brand’s first keto-friendly offering.
Sweetened with allulose and monk fruit, the grain-free cereals are made with pea protein, lentil protein, sunflower oil, chicory root fiber and chickpea flour. The Non-GMO Project verified offerings come in cinnamon vanilla and dark cocoa flavors. Each serving contains 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar.
The cinnamon vanilla variety contains 160 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of fat, and the dark cocoa flavor is made with fair trade certified cocoa and contains 150 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of fat.
In January, Post Consumer Brands teamed with BellRing Brands, Inc. to launch Premier Protein cereal at Costco stores. The mixed berry almond cereal features wheat and corn flakes with dried strawberries, dried raspberries and sliced almonds. Featuring protein from milk, wheat and pea protein, Premier Protein cereal is sweetened with stevia and contains 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving.
“Premier Protein cereal has launched with great success at limited distribution,” said Robert V. Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Post Holdings, Inc., during a Feb. 5 conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter results. “This launch combines our heritage strength in cereal with our competence in protein and, we believe, delivers great-tasting cereal with high protein.”
General Mills, Inc. teamed up with Sesame Workshop to introduce Sesame Street Cereal, which hit shelves in January.
Featuring lightly sweetened whole grain corn pieces, the cereal comes in two varieties and is formulated with fiber, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E. Each 1-cup serving contains 140 calories, 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar.
The C is for Cinnamon variety, which features Cookie Monster and Elmo on the box, includes cinnamon flavored cereal pieces in A-Z letter shapes.
The 1 2 3 Berry cereal features Elmo and Abby Cadabby on the box and includes berry flavored cereal pieces in 0-9 number shapes.
“We are thrilled to team up with Sesame Street to launch cereals with key nutrients, delicious flavors and playful learning opportunities to make breakfast that much more meaningful for parents and kids alike,” said Hillary Balma, senior brand manager for General Mills. “We know that breakfast can be challenging for parents who are struggling to find foods that offer both the nutrition and the fun flavors kids want.”
The Sesame Street Cereal boxes offer games and six dual-language (English and Spanish) story books on the back, including Elmo Visits the Farm, Elmo’s Day at School, On the Go with Elmo, Elmo’s Big Day Out and others.
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, and that means nourishing the mind and body,” said Gabriela Arenas, vice president of licensing, North America, for Sesame Workshop. “Breakfast gives kids the boost they need to grow, play, and learn each day. We’re pleased to team up with General Mills to give families a nutritious meal choice and an opportunity to start the morning with their favorite Sesame Street friends.”
In January, Catalina Crunch expanded its lineup of Keto Friendly Cereal with two new flavors: fruity and chocolate peanut butter. Non-GMO, gluten-free and grain-free, the cereals are made with pea protein, potato fiber, corn fiber, chicory root fiber and tapioca flour and are sweetened with stevia and monk fruit. Both varieties contain 110 calories, 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 5 grams of net carbs and 0 grams of sugar per 1/2-cup serving.
Kellogg and McKee Foods joined forces in December 2020 to develop Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal.
“It’s a joyous moment to see one of our fans’ most-loved Little Debbie products — the Oatmeal Creme Pie — be transformed for a new eating experience,” said Jeff Badger, vice president of marketing at McKee Foods. “The cereal captures the flavor of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies in a fun, new way, whether you enjoy it in a bowl with milk or straight out of the box.”
The mashup features crispy oatmeal cookie flavored cereal pieces made with cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses with a sweet, creme-like coating that mimics the flavors of a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie. Each 1.25-cup serving contains 170 calories and 17 grams of sugar.
“At Kellogg, we are always looking for delicious ways to surprise and excite our fans,” said Erin Storm, senior marketing director of Kellogg All Family Cereal. “The original Little Debbie snack cakes, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, have delighted millions of kids and adults alike for generations. With Kellogg's Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal, families can experience the iconic snack in a whole new form, building new breakfast memories while paying homage to the beloved childhood snack.”
General Mills in December 2020 launched a new line of cereals that caters to keto consumers. Wonderworks Keto Friendly Cereal is made with milk protein, whey protein, inulin, cocoa, corn fiber and rice starch. Available in cinnamon, chocolate and peanut butter flavors, the cereal is sweetened with allulose, erythritol and stevia.
The cinnamon cereal contains 150 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of protein and 1 g ram of sugar per 1-cup serving.
The chocolate variety contains 150 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar per 1-cup serving.
The peanut butter flavor contains 160 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of net carbs, 17 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar per 1-cup serving.
Seven Sundays in November 2020 introduced grain-free ready-to-eat cereal formulated with cassava, upcycled sunflower protein, Medjool dates and coconut oil. The launch marked the Minneapolis-based muesli brand’s entry into the boxed cereal market.
Seven Sundays Grain Free Sunflower Cereal debuted at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Varieties include berry, cinnamon and cocoa. The company partnered with the maker of cold-pressed sunflower oil to source the leftover meal, which is rich in fiber and protein but is typically wasted or used as animal feed.
“We wanted to create something with a short ingredients list, only clean ingredients,” said Hannah Barnstable, founder of Seven Sundays. “The driving force was our original mission, to clean up the cereal aisle, and we felt we could have a real impact on traditional boxed cereal.”
Post Consumer Brands in August 2020 partnered with Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., to introduce a pair of ready-to-eat cereals inspired by Dunkin’ coffee beverages.
Post Dunkin’ Caramel Macchiato cereal and Post Dunkin’ Mocha Latte cereal each feature flavored marshmallows and crunchy cereal pieces. A serving contains a small amount of caffeine, equal to one-tenth of a cup of coffee, according to the company.
Funfetti — known for its appearance in cake mixes, cookies and frosting — reached into the ready-to-eat cereal category in August 2020 with the launch of Funfetti cereal.
Sprinkled with colorful bits and featuring the Funfetti birthday cake flavor, the cereal contains 160 calories and 16 grams of sugar per 1.25-cup serving.
“We are in a period right now where people are finding comfort in trusted brands that bring back wonderful memories,” said Dan Anglemyer, chief operating officer of Hometown Food Co., which owns the rights to Pillsbury's shelf-stable baking products, including Funfetti. “Over the past 30 years, Funfetti fans have baked up colorful moments for birthdays, baby showers, graduations, weddings and more. The possibilities of Funfetti are endless. This new cereal is a testament to our commitment of discovering innovative ways the Funfetti experience can continue to be a part of special moments both big and small. If you're going to indulge in a morning breakfast, there is no better way to celebrate then with a bowl of Funfetti cereal.”
Three Wishes Cereal in July 2020 expanded its ready-to-eat cereal portfolio with a new cocoa flavor that is Non-GMO Project verified and certified gluten-free. The grain-free cereal is made with eight ingredients: chickpeas, pea protein, tapioca, cocoa, salt, natural flavors, monk fruit and organic cane sugar. Each ¾-cup serving contains 120 calories, 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar.
“Our new cocoa cereal has all the flavor you want and expect from your favorite desserts, while providing a completely guilt-free experience,” said Margaret Wishingrad, chief executive officer and co-founder of Three Wishes. “We want you to cheat on your chocolate, ice cream and candy and reach for Three Wishes cocoa to satisfy any sweet tooth you may have.”
In July 2020, Kellogg fused its Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops cereals into one new product: Kellogg’s Mashups Cereal. The limited-edition offering contains 160 calories and 15 grams of sugar per 1.25-cup serving and comes in both 9.8-oz and 15.6-oz boxes.
“Kellogg's is always looking to innovate and deliver new experiences that our cereal fans desire,” said Erin Storm, marketing director of Kellogg All Family Cereal. “As almost half of cereal lovers mix cereals together, we wanted to make this two-in-one breakfast experience even easier. With Kellogg's Mashups Cereal, families have a convenient way to enjoy a delicious mix of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops all in one box.”
In June 2020, Magic Spoon debuted a duo of new grain-free cereal flavors: honey nut and peanut butter. Both are keto-friendly, gluten-free and soy-free. The varieties have been the most requested new flavors since Magic Spoon launched a year ago, the company said.
The honey nut cereal contains 1 gram of sugar, 4 grams of net carbs and 11 grams of protein, while the peanut butter cereal contains no sugar, 3 grams of net carbs and 11 grams of protein.
In June 2020, Kellogg’s Kashi business built out its Kashi by Kids line with new Super Loops Cereal.
Available in chocolate and berry flavors, the cereals are made with superfood ingredients, including lentils, brown rice, berries and cocoa and provide 4 grams of protein per serving. Both varieties are certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified.
The chocolate cereal is made with whole grain yellow corn flour, whole oat flour, red lentil flour, brown rice flour, fair trade cocoa, pea protein, expeller pressed sunflower oil, cane sugar and natural flavors. Each 1-cup serving contains 140 calories, 9 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber.
The berry variety contains whole grain yellow corn flour, whole oat flour, red lentil flour, pea protein, expeller pressed sunflower oil, raspberry powder and strawberry powder. Sweetened with cane sugar and colored with carrots, radishes and red cabbage, the cereal contains 140 calories, 8 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
“With the new Kashi by Kids Super Loops launch, Kashi wants to support parents and provide them with delicious, high-quality food for their kids,” Kashi said. “Instead of using single grain flour, Kashi chose to use a blend of diverse superfood ingredients such as brown rice flour and red lentil flour. The ingredients also enhance the texture and flavors of the cereal, which are key concerns for kids and parents.”
Kashi by Kids Super Loops Cereal was created in a collaboration between Kashi and the Kashi Kids Crew, a group of Gen Z students ranging from 13 to 17 years old who are passionate about sustainability, food, health and the environment, Kashi said.
“I am an advocate for healthy foods and am passionate about helping kids my age find foods that taste awesome and keep us fueled throughout the day,” said Tabay Atkins IV, member of the Kashi Kids Crew. “Each member of the Kids Crew brings something different to the table, and it was so fun to create something that we can feel good about eating every day.”
General Mills in April 2020 spiced up its cereal portfolio with new Cinnamon Cheerios. Made with cinnamon, the sweetened whole grain oat cereal is gluten-free and contains 140 calories, 12 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
“Cinnamon Cheerios are the perfect combination of real, delicious cinnamon and whole grain oats, which can help lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet,” General Mills said. “They’re made for cereal lovers to enjoy in a variety of ways: with milk at the breakfast table, handheld for a tasty after-school snack or as an ingredient in trail mix or another favorite recipe.”
To celebrate its one-year anniversary in April 2020, Magic Spoon added a limited-edition birthday cake flavor to its line of better-for-you breakfast cereals. Featuring a frosted vanilla cake flavor with colorful confetti sprinkles, the gluten-free offering is sweetened with allulose, monk fruit extract and steviol glycosides. Each ¾-cup serving contains 100 calories, 11 grams of protein, 3 grams of net carbs and no sugar.
“We created Magic Spoon to help people embrace their inner child and bring back all the nostalgia we loved about cereal as kids, while upgrading the experience to meet our healthy core values,” said Gabi Lewis, co-founder of Magic Spoon. “In just one year, we proved the viability and appetite for not only the kind of cereal people want, but the way they shop for it, too. Our direct-to-consumer model has challenged the traditional cereal aisle and given us incredible data to be able to strategically grow and scale the brand.”
SunflowerFamily USA in April 2020 unveiled a new Organic Sunflower Protein Crisps breakfast cereal. The high-protein plant-based cereal contains up to 14 grams of plant protein per serving, is soy free, grain free, dairy free, gluten free and allergen free.
The Organic Sunflower Protein Crisps contain six ingredients and are considered a good source of dietary fiber (5 grams) and naturally occurring minerals and folate. The sunflower-protein cereal is available in a cacao and a vanilla.
“Our customers were asking for an organic, plant-based cereal that was high in protein and free from dairy, gluten and soy, but it didn’t exist, so we decided to make one,” said Gary Bartl, owner of SunflowerFamily USA.