The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 7, Number 1 Early Summer 2005

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Early Summer 2005 Index

Character Profile: Cookie Jarvis
Who Owns The Cereal Companies?
Breakfast With The Count
Has Alpha-Bits Gone AWOL?
Cereal Review - General Mills "Honey Nut Clusters"
Cereal Review - General Mills "Peanut Butter Toast Crunch"
Cereal Review - Kellogg's "Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun"
What's New in Cereal?
  • Kellogg's Star Wars Cereal and Promotion
  • General Mills Chocolate Lucky Charms
  • Wheaties is the Official Breakfast Cereal of Major League Baseball
  • New Cereal Reference Book To Be Published
  • 70-cents Off Froot Loops Cereal Internet Coupon
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Character Profile: Cookie Jarvis
by Topher
JarvisCookie Jarvis (1970's) was the Cookie Crisp cereal magician. He was the first spokes-character for Cookie Crisp, having appeared on Ralston Chocolate Chip Cookie Crisp, Ralston Vanilla Cookie Crisp, and Ralston's short-lived Oatmeal Cookie Crisp (circa 1979-1980).

"I've come from afar, to change your dish, into a cookie jar!" He was replaced by the trio of Officer Krum, Cookie Crisp Crook, and Chip the Cookie Hound.

After General Mills bought Cookie Crisp from Ralston in 1997, they subsequently killed off the cookie crook and Officer Krum. Of note, it was General Mills and Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising (Gen Mills ad agency) that named the cookie cop "Officer Krum" in one commercial they did in 1998. Ralston didn't give him a name.

Chip, the cookie crisp hound, survived. Chip has a signature howl, "Coooooooookie Crisp".

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Who Owns The Cereal Companies?
by Topher
The big four cereal companies in the United States are Kellogg's, General Mills, Post and Quaker Oats. Kellogg's and General Mills are both publicly traded companies. Post is a division of Kraft Foods, which while publicly traded, is majority-owned by Altria (formerly Philip Morris). Quaker Oats, owned by publicly-traded PepsiCo, is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Kellogg's and Post are both based in Battle Creek, Michigan. General Mills is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In the early 1990's Nabisco's entire cold cereal line, including Shredded Wheat, was sold to Post along with trademark rights. Nabisco itself, now a unit of Kraft, still makes the hot cereals Cream of Wheat line.

On January 31, 1997 Ralcorp Holdings sold their branded ready-to-eat cereal business to General Mills. This included its core Chex and Cookie Crisp brands, along with trademark and technology rights for these branded products. Ralcorp still makes private-label cereals.

Nestle has a cross marketing agreement with General Mills. Nestle distributes General Mills cereals in Europe, while General Mills distributes Nestle cereals in the United States.

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Breakfast With The Count
by Brian Cross, Guest Columnist
(Reader's note: This is what happens when you eat too much sugary cereal and drink a large coffee on a Monday morning, kids. Don't try this at home.)

Chocula It's time for me to talk about one of my all-time favorite cereals. It's one that ranks right up there with heavyweights like Lucky Charms and Honey Nut Cheerios. In fact, it may even be my all-time favorite, but the sugar rush acquired by consuming the tasty goodness contained within the box may just be messing with my mind. Yes, folks...it's Count Chocula.

See, and I even posted an image of the "classic" box, back when cereals came with cool prizes inside. Nowadays all we get is offers to send money in for cheap toys, or some crappy DVD with episodes of shows we don't even watch, or (and this is the worst) passwords to enter on the cereal's website to unlock "bonus content." Whoop-dee-doo.

Back to the task at hand. In case you're wondering what brought on this exercise in randomosity, I'll explain. I'd been looking for a box of Count Chocula for quite some time, but my local grocery store never carried it. I was worried that perhaps General Mills had ditched the brand, much as they did with Frankenberry or Boo Berry. (I've heard that those two actually are still produced, but only around Halloween or something.) But, while visiting my girlfriend one weekend, I found a box at her local grocery store, and I was happy as a pig in mud.

Count Chocula is a fantastic cereal, and everyone should eat it. (Except for diabetics, because it would kill them.) Not only does the Count have his own cereal, he also has two lackeys: the previously mentioned Frankenberry and Boo Berry (no relation), who in turn have their own cereals. It's painfully obvious that the Berrys both work for the Count; I've played enough Castlevania games to know that the vampire is always in charge. But this Count spreads sugary breakfast treats, not fear, death, and destruction. His cereal is a simple one: chocolate-flavored oat pieces, and marshmallow bits. No eye-burning colors. As is the norm with marshmallow cereals, it's gotten ridiculous over the years, as now there's no less than four different marshmallow shapes where there used to be only one or two. The latest gimmick is some green ones thrown in there, apparently meant to symbolize some filthy green slime that's encroaching upon the Count's empire. Maybe the Count said "I don't know" too many times.

So what really separates Count Chocula from other marshmallow luminaries like Lucky Charms and Marshmallow Mania Fruity Pebbles? Well, a vampire always beats a leprechaun and a caveman. This is proven by the fact that Lucky the Leprechaun has no lackeys, and Fred Flintstone's only lackey is Barney, who's constantly trying to steal Fred's Pebbles to begin with. If Franken Berry or Boo Berry tried to steal the Count's cereal, the chocolate vampire would likely cast a powerful spell that would condemn the monsters to a non-sugar hell for all eternity. Fred just yells out "Bah-nee, my Pebbles!" And Lucky...well, he's just Irish. Plus, he's too busy fending off annoying children, though his cereal does get bonus points for being magically delicious. The Count would just offer the kids some of his private stash of cereal, in order to indoctrinate them into his world of chocolaty goodness. In the world of tooth-rotting cereal, the Count is king.

© 2005 Brian Cross
Edited for content.

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Has Alpha-Bits Gone AWOL?
by Topher
We've been fielding questions from a number of site visitors this summer asking if Post's Alpha-Bits cereal was discontinued. The official word from Post is "no". They are still making Alpha-Bits and Marshmallow Alpha-Bits, but each is now only available in a 15-ounce sized box. This change may be the reason for spot shortages in select markets across the USA, from the Carolinas to California as many grocers are not currently stocking the cereal. Post attributes the unavailability to some "distribution centers no longer ordering it" but dismisses any notion that the lack of availability is a problem. If you miss Alpha-Bits, speak with your local grocery store manager and ask that they order and stock the cereal again.

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Cereal Reviews
by Topher, Editor

General Mills "Honey Nut Clusters"

Honey Nut ClustersHoney Nut Clusters were created by General Mills in 1987 and known as "Clusters" until 1997. One of my favorite cereal commercials of all time featured Robo-Squirrel, who was created by animator Peter Knowlton. Robo-Squirrel was no sneak. He brazenly bust doors down to steal Clusters right out of the hands of unsuspecting families.

The cereal is very crunchy. It is self-described as "delicious honey-sweetened nut clusters with crispy wheat and rice flakes". The box itself shows a number of knuckle-sized clusters. There is not a flake on the box. Frankly, I thought it was a box full of big clusters. What you get is a box full of flakes and what looks like very little brown and white styofoam balls in groups of twos, threes, and fours. What a major disappointment!
Once you get past the total letdown, the cereal does kind of win you over. Just don't buy Honey Nut Clusters in hopes of finding big clusters. I rate Honey Nut Clusters at 7 Boxtops (Very Good! Recommend Purchase), although I would much prefer a box of Clusters without flakes.

General Mills "Peanut Butter Toast Crunch"
Peanut Butter Toast CrunchPeanut Butter Toast Crunch, featuring Wendell the Baker in a diminutive role on the current box, is very similar in texture to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but a little more pleasing. The extruded flat-to-curly little textured toast-shaped rectangles float in your milk. I found these tasted better out of the box than in the bowl. Individually they pack a full-flavored peanut butter flavor, but were too sweet by the spoonful. They did not get soggy in milk and, surprisingly, didn't impart much flavor into the milk. I rate Peanut Butter Toast Crunch at 4 Boxtops ("We Have A Spill On Aisle 4". You Can Do Better.)

Kellogg's "Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun"
Mini Swirlz Cinnamon BunKellogg's 1991 cereal "Cinnamon Mini-Buns" was remarketed in 2005 as "Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun" cereal. The box is attractive, with an eye-catching cinnamon buns and title design. The cereal has the look and smell of a miniature, unfrosted, Cinnabon. It is very crunchy and sweet, but the cinnamon flavor is stronger than the sugar. Since it floats on top of your milk it stays crunchy to the end. Too bad. Frankly, I found if you drown the buns until they get a little soft in the milk they actually taste more authentic. The cereal leaves your leftover milk full of cinnamon flecks. I rate Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun at 6 Boxtops (Middle Of The Road. You Could Do Worse), but if you let them get soft, they score a "7".

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What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Star WarsKellogg's Star Wars Cereal and Promotion
Kellogg's released a "limited edition" Star Wars cereal featuring Darth Vader in connection with the 2005 release of Star Wars, Episode III, "Revenge of the Sith". This cereal consists of toasted oat grains with R2D2, C-3P0, and lightsaber marshmallows. Mail-in promotions include R2D2 cereal bowls, Jedi mind games (card matching game), and Star Wars character cookie jars. Light-up SaberSpoons are featured as a free prize inside 5 specially marked cereals.
General Mills Chocolate Lucky Charms
General Mills has just released a chocolate version of Lucky Charms. It's a chocolate-flavored whole grain oat cereal with the usual marshmallows.

Wheaties is the Official Breakfast Cereal of Major League Baseball
In March 2005, Major League Baseball and General Mills reached a two-year sponsorship agreement that will make Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions,” the “Official Breakfast Cereal” of Major League Baseball. As part of the agreement, Wheaties will create a minimum of three national cereal boxes featuring Major League Baseball marks and logos during 2005 and 2006. The boxes may feature current or former baseball players. The first two boxes issued were an April 2005 box featuring Albert Pujols and a June 2005 box featuring Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series, Game 1, Winning Homer. A special commemorative box will also be released for the All-Star Game in July.

New Cereal Reference Book To Be Published
A virtual encyclopedia of cereals from the late 1800's to the present is in the works. Reference your favorite spokescharacters, check out cereal ingredients, fun facts, and enjoy the wit of former Ohio sportswriter Marty Gitlin. This 130+ page black-and-white edition (slated for release in the 4th quarter of 2005) may be followed by a full-color edition which is slated to include a price guide with images of collector cereal boxes and cereal memorabilia from the past 111 years, along with other special features. The intent of the first edition is to invite cereal enthusiasts to provide feedback on anything in the book, including omissions that should be included in the later edition. Feel free to contact Marty Gitlin with any questions and indications of interest.

70-cents Off Froot Loops Cereal Internet Coupon
Follow your nose to [coupon expired] which can be printed on your computer's printer.

Send Us Your News
If you notice anything new in your supermarket cereal isle, or wish to report a new cereal development, please email us. We'll give you credit for your information, or keep it confidential, at your request. Thank you.

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Disclaimers and Other Legal Stuff
The Boxtop is a non-commercial publication. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by any cereal or company. All of the names, characters, brands, and icons included here are trademarks of their respective parent companies and cannot be used for commercial purposes. Enjoy breakfast and support your favorite characters!
Opinions expressed are those of the writer, which like most things having to do with cereal may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editor, anyone else on the staff, or the world at large. A good sense of humor is appreciated.
Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Editor.
All information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
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