The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 1, Number 2 December 1999

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Reader's Poll
What Do You Do With The Leftover Milk In The Bottom Of Your Cereal Bowl?

I usually drink it.
I usually throw it away.
Results Were Posted In December 1999 Issue
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December 1999 Features

How To Make A Memory: What makes a cereal memorable?
Bring Back The Great Cereal Characters: Y2K - What a great year to bring back your favorite characters of the 20th Century!
Cereal Review - Post Oreo-O's and General Mills NesQuik / Nestle NesQuik
What's New in Cereal?

How To Make A Memory
by Donnie Neiswinger

I keep seeing old cereal boxes in collectors' inventories that I don't recall. Why is that? I mean, I know that remembering cereals isn't required for successful living, but why would I remember some and not others?!

I was blessed with a sweet-cereal-loving Dad, so we got pretty much any brand we wanted, regardless of its sugar content. The trusty cereal cabinet always bulged with at least five or six opened, unfinished boxes (not counting Mom's 40% Bran Flakes), including everything from Pink Panther Flakes to Freakies to Sugar Smacks. So how did I miss out completely on cereals like Moonstones, Cocoa Hoots, and Vanilly Crunch?! Did they come and go that fast? What else did I miss?!

The truth is, aside from numerous other possibilities, it could be that I actually did eat some and simply didn't like them. Memories are that way, I think. If something doesn't impress your senses, you forget it. Some memories are visual. Others are mostly sound, smell, taste, touch, or maybe a combination of a few of these. The most permanent, though, stimulate all five of the senses. And what else but a remembrance of food can do that?

Good breakfast cereal provides complete, sensation-packed memories that can last for decades. Even a lifetime... With really excellent cereals, like Cocoa Puffs or Apple Jacks, smell is usually the first sense to be excited. Unless you're a rare chocolate-hater, one whiff of a freshly opened box of Cocoa Puffs will start your mouth watering. Then you see it, tumbling out of the box as it falls toward the waiting bowl. If it's frosted, the sweet look of the frosty coating enhances your anticipation. If it's of a flaky consistency, some extra shaking of the box might be required to get it out.

The sound of a shaking cereal box triggers a rush of breakfast and snack memories. It means the time for tasting is near. The echo of the cereal and milk hitting the bowl, the sound and motion of the stirring, the coolness of the bowl in your hand (unless you're a strict table eater), the smell of the moistened grains... all of these are just a preview leading up to the first bite.

Some cereals release their flavor immediately upon entering the mouth, while others hold on to it until after the first couple chews. Some cereal tastes so good, you just hold it there for awhile between swallows. Individual desires will vary, of course, but everybody loves to munch, nibble, or gnaw into one kind of breakfast cereal or another. The "feel" of the nuggets, balls, chunks, or flakes as you devour them adds depth and texture to the whole sensual experience. You'll always recall what it felt like against the roof of your mouth as you chomped it to bits.

But if you don't like it, you might just forget the whole thing. Like I did. Apparently.

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Bring Back The Great Cereal Characters
by Topher

Do you miss Quisp, Quake, King Vitaman, Big Yella, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Freakies, Jean LaFoote, and other great cereal characters from the past? I know I do. While Quisp is still available in limited markets, these other characters were retired years ago.

According to Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Poll (an informal poll of site visitors) an overwhelming majority of "favorite character" votes have been cast for retired characters. Three of the top six characters haven't appeared on a cereal box in over two decades: Big Yella, Winnie-the-Pooh, and the Freakies.

Visitors to Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide come looking for characters they remember from their youth. The guide has information and images on over 750 fictional characters. 90% have been retired. Not very many characters last more than 3 years on a cereal box. The great ones, however, live on for decades in the childhood memory resesses of our minds.

My question to manufacturers: why spend money developing new cereals and cereal characters when there is pent up demand for an old stable of characters? This same thought process certainly has worked well for old TV shows reincarnated on the big screen in recent years, and appearing in reruns on Nick at Night and other specialty cable channels.

Y2K --- what a great year for cereal manufacturers to release their "Cereals of the Century"! Bring out fresh boxes of cereal featuring their popular characters of the 1900's, complete with awesome character graphics and a cool related character "prize inside" like a figurine or spoonsitter. Perhaps give us a boxtop mail in offer! What nostalgia. What a great marketing coup! Bringing back the great cereals that parents used to enjoy as children will certainly be of great interest.

Quaker's Cap'n Crunch line-up alone is impressive, featuring Jean LaFoote the Barefoot Pirate, Harry S. Hippo, Wilma the White Whale, Seadog, Chockle the Blob, Crunchberry Beast, Smedley the Elephant, Tugboat Granny, and The Soggies. Outside of Cap'n Crunch, Quaker also has characters like Quisp, Quake, King Vitaman, Mr. T and Mr. E "The Mysterial Cereal".

General Mills has Fruit Brute, Yummy Mummy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Baron Von RedBerry and Sir Grapefellow in the wings. Kellogg's might consider Big Yella, Ogg and Tusk, Bigg Mixx, Poppy, and Sugar Pops Pete. My son would also like to see K-Rex released in the USA. Ralston's (now General Mills) cereal characters to bring back include the Freakies, Cookie Jarvis, and Moonstones.

A lot of these retired characters are still loved by more cereal consumers than many of their current counterparts. For example, Ogg, Melvin, and Tusk the Elephant all represented Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies much better than currently despised Coco the Monkey. Let's hear it for the "Cereal Characters of the Century!" What are your thoughts? Let us know.

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Cereal Reviews
by Topher

Post Oreo-O's

Oreo Os Box We've seen cookie cereals before: General Mills (formerly Ralston's) long running Chocolate Chip Cookie Crisp, and Quaker Oats's less successful Cap'n Crunch's Choco Crunch to name two. A lot of people like to dip cookies in milk. Oreo is among the most recognized brand name in cookies. Nabisco practically invented the popular cookies'n cream category of ice cream! Why not create an Oreo's based cereal?

Great concept! My family couldn't wait to get our hands on a box when they came out. The box is attractive, but features no characters or prizes inside. The cereal is made up of dark chalky cocoa tasting rings (O's) with bits of sugar coating the outside. (Ever eat an Oreo inside out?). The cereal is a major disappointment. It doesn't taste like Oreo's (inside or out) and it is so sweet we couldn't bring ourselves to eat another bowl. Needless to say, the grey milk was a toss out as well.

The nice folks at Post were kind enough to refund our money upon calling their consumer affairs line printed on the box. According to Post, they've gotten mixed reviews and the world appears divided between the people who like overly sweet cereals and those who don't. It's a popular cereal if you like sweet cereals and don't care that it doesn't taste like Oreos.

General Mills NesQuik / Nestle NesQuik
NesQuik Where Post failed to make Oreo O's taste like Oreo's, Nestle succeeds in this cereal reincarnation of NesQuik (formerly Nestle Quik) powdered Chocolate Milk mix. It's a Nestle cereal, manufactured and distributed by General Mills in parts of the world (including the USA) under a joint venture agreement.

NesQuik spokes-rabbit Quicki graces the box. The moderately sweet cereal, shaped liked rabbit pellets (you'll get over it) are really crunchy, and stay crispy to the end of the bowl. This "chocolatey rice and corn puff cereal" concludes with one of the best leftover milk tastes ever. Chocolate milk that really does taste like NesQuik!

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What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Nestle Golden Nuggets

Nestle Golden Nuggets Klondike Pete (1999) and his mule sidekick Parder (1999) have once again stuck gold! Klondike Pete was previously seen 25 years ago on boxes of Nabisco's Klondike Pete's Crunchy Nuggets. Introduced in the United Kingdom, we're hoping this box finds its way onto store shelves in the United States.
The old prospector has been on a 20-year nugget hunt and has located the motherload in a new secret mine. Plum Loco Louie and Boot Hill Bob (aka The Breakfast Bandits) are two desperados who would like to get their hands on the "delicious boulders of wheat and honey."

The box itself is filled with wonderful animation --- the way a great character box should be!

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Reader's Poll Results
Which Major Company Do You Feel Makes The Best Cereal?
Kellogg's 45%
General Mills 28%
Post 17%
Quaker Oats 10%
Other 00%
This is an unscientific survey based upon 29 voluntary responses in our November 1999 Reader's Poll.

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© 1999 Topher All rights reserved.

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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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