Box Out

By Dean L. Jones

Roughly, over the past decade the once prominent sugary laden cereals commonly sold in colorfully decorated cardboard boxes are steadily losing sales.  Today, the formally incredibly popular cereals that nearly 100% of the baby boomer generation ate daily finds a definite need to stay relative.

The big cereal makers once controlled the ready-to-eat foodstuff category by exploiting an emotional connection to their products for increasing sales.  The box cereal market took advantage as a self-proclaimed breakfast item using a variety of witty tricks and treats.  Such gimmicks included catchy musical jingles, iconic lifelike and cartoon mascots, celebrity endorsements, complimentary toy trinkets found inside the package and least we not forget collecting cereal box tops to mail off for a special prize, all of which no longer serve as viable marketing practices to sell these non-nutritional cereals.

The large amount of processed sugar in a variety of box cereals is the same as having ice crème for breakfast and/or other dessert category foodstuff items.  For instance, the processed sugar percentage by package content for some Kellogg’s boxed cereals show Honey Smacks 55.6%, Post Golden Crisp 51.9%, Froot Loops Marshmallow 48.3%, Smorz 43.3%, Apple Jacks 42.9%, and Froot Loops Original 41.4%.

Even though last year box cereal makers made $10 billion in revenue, still the foodstuff giants are making subtle product transformations to help re-establish consumer interest.  Consumers are being lured away from box cereal in favor of all day breakfast menus offered by fast food restaurants and products touting to be healthy breakfast options like yogurt, granola bars, smoothies, and juicing.

Speaking of juicing, the trend to juice fruits and vegetables for a liquid breakfast may not be the best alternative when it comes to avoiding a sugar overload.  Ideally, it is far better to eat whole fresh fruits and vegetables to get the benefits from fiber. [A variety of colors provide for a good mix of vitamins and minerals]

Juiced fruits and vegetables are void of fiber because machines extract the juice and leave behind the pulp, which has the necessary fiber.  Additionally, it takes more fruits to make juice than when eating whole fruit, which is when juicing causes calorie consumption to really add up.  Although juiced calories from vegetables are a lot less than sweet fruits, a juice-only diet does not yield enough fiber or protein to make you feel full, so naturally more eating ensues to compensate for the empty feeling.

Nonetheless, it is devastatingly evident that choosing to box out sugary foodstuff from a young person’s diet is crucial toward starting the day off right.  Added sugar is an inflammatory to the body and routinely consuming a nutritionally deficient breakfast opens the door for constipation, diarrhea, colds, headaches, indigestion, etc.  Accordingly an easy to implement resolution for the New Year is living more SugarAlert!
Dean is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.