What’s old is very often new and, in the case of food, nothing sells quite like nostalgia — the tastes one remembers from childhood can push you to buy a donut despite being on a mission to eat healthier or go inside a McDonalds (MCD) – Get McDonald’s Corporation Report or Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report Taco Bell for the first time in years.
Brands know this aspect of human psychology well and will regularly use it to bring back long-gone products and flavors as part of limited-period promotions or campaigns.
And as the outrage over Klondike’s decision to discontinue the Choco Taco has shown, messing with a classic will also not be taken lightly.
Nothing Screams Childhood Like Cereal
Despite the fact that over 280 million Americans of all ages were estimated to at least occasionally eat cereal in 2021, nothing brings back memories of childhood quite like the staple breakfast food — and that goes double if it’s bright, comes in a box with cartoon mascots, and is loaded with sugar.
“We’re seeing that consumers are drawn to tastes that remind them of their childhood and help elicit feelings of nostalgia and comfort,” Tom Dixon, chief growth officer at Post Consumer Brands, told Progressive Grocer in 2021.
Over the last year, several big brands have launched products with classic cereal flavors. In April, Krispy Kreme (DNUT) – Get Krispy Kreme Inc. Report released a line of donuts with the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, while Pepsi Co (PEP) – Get PepsiCo Inc. Report‘s Tropicana briefly toyed with the terrible idea of orange juice that is meant to replace milk in cereal.
The latest product is not something that “tastes like cereal” but actual cereal.
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General Mills (GIS) – Get General Mills Inc. Reportthe giant behind everything from Cheerios to Lucky Charms and Twix, is bringing back four cereals that haven’t been sold for over a decade — Frute Brute Monster Cereal, Franken Berry, Count Chocula, and Boo-Berry.
Known by an older generation as the Monster Cereals, these four flavors were first introduced by the cereal maker in 1971 after the cartoon movie evildoers.
With the exception of Count Chocolate’s frosted chocolate pieces with marshmallows, the other three cereals taste like different kinds of berries.
The boxes will be available throughout the fall at places where cereal is regularly sold and come with codes that one can use to enter for a chance to win toys designed by the creator of the monster characters.
Nostalgia With A High-Art Twist
“For the first time in nearly a decade, Frute Brute is back with the limited-edition release of four @kaws-designed Monsters Cereal boxes!” General Mills said in an Instagram post.
The four cereals have been known to appear and reappear throughout the last few decades. While Frute Bute was formally discontinued in 1982, one could buy a box of Count Chocula as late as 2009.
As their mascots are classic cartoon monsters, many of these cereals have also routinely been brought back by General Mills for a limited time around Halloween. In 2021, all four of the cereals were mixed together in a single box called the Monster Mash.
“Inspired by classic horror film characters, the Monster Cereals have been fan favorites for more than half a century and this year renowned American artist and Monster enthusiast KAWS was inspired by the vintage styling of the original boxes,” General Mills said in a press release .