The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 17, Number 1 Spring 2016

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Spring 2016 Index

1. MIKAL Vollmer's "Free Inside" Show Is Available on YouTube
2. General Mills: Please Bring Back The Original Monster Cereal Formula
3. General Mills Releases Five Awesome Star Wars Boxes
4. MBC's Salute to Advertising’s Greatest Icons
What's New in Cereal?
2016's New Cereals
Kellogg's Offering Collectable Spoons Free Inside Cereal Boxes
Check out these Cereal Fansites

Send Us Your News

MIKAL Vollmer's "Free Inside" Show Is Available on YouTube
by Topher
MIKAL Vollmer's Mikal Vollmer began collecting cereal boxes in 1987. Mikal say's, "There were a number of box collectors, mostly of radio premiums, who were looking for cereal boxes from the 1940s and '50s, with promotions that corresponded to rings and pins of their favorite radio serial heroes. No one, that I knew of, was collecting the cereal boxes that were at the supermarket right then. I immediately began the fanzine FREE INSIDE!". His magazine, "Free Inside!" is packed with images of cereal boxes & premiums, information, tips, and commentary! This library provides a great flashback look at the state of the cereal industry from 1988 to 2003.

MIKAL Vollmer is back with brand new issues of his "FREE INSIDE" The Fanzine of Contemporary Cereal Box Collecting on YouTube examines the fun of cereal box collecting as hobby. Enjoy several themed episodes (about 3 minutes each) on collecting todays cereal boxes and prizes.

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General Mills: Please Bring Back The Original Monster Cereal Formula
by Timothy Scheatzle
Original Monster CerealsGeneral Mills: I have been a Monsters Cereal connoisseur since I was very young. I have always appreciated their unique appearence and taste. I can remember being very young and seeing all three of the original Monsters in the cereal aisle for the first time --- probably around 1981. There was something so magical about the white boxes in contrast with the blue, pink, and brown spooky characters on front. I was instantly obsessed them, especially Boo Berry. And wow, did they ever taste good!

I can remember the awesome aroma of the cereal. Boo Berry was like a blueberry sugary vanilla candy smell, Franken Berry had like a Strawberry Quik powdery smell, and Count Chocula smelled like a can of cocoa powder. They where all so delicious and the milk took on the appearence of the cereal.

The cereals now are void of any real aroma, have far less marshmallows, don't turn the milk into liquid versions of the cereal, and flat out don't taste as good. My obsession has lasted for 30 plus years. I never wavered in my love for the Monsters, even in the lean years as they became much more challenging to find. I think I actually liked them the most when they became super rare from 1993-2003. Having said that, I believe in 2005 General Mills made a very bad decision when they changed the recipe from oat flour and corn meal to just corn.

Around this time, they also became a seasonal offering. I had speculated shortly before these things happened that the cereal giant was trying to phase out the iconic cereals and replace them with Lucky Charms Berry and Chocolate and hope the general public wouldn't notice. Why else would they change what was arguably the most popular cereals of the 70's and 80's?

In my opinion, this was similar to what the Coca-Cola company did when they introduced New Coke. The outrage from fans intense. Coke amended their poor decision and restored the original recipe cola. To this point however, General Mills has shown no sign of doing the same with the Monsters. No doubt sagging sales led to the Monsters becoming seasonal and the recipe being cheapened with an inferior formula. I would argue though that the only reason the Monsters faded away from their once lofty perch atop the cereal best seller list is because the allocated budget for the cereals was likely decreased and marketing suffered. Add the recipe change and sales all but flatlined, leading to a once a year offering.

I can live with the yearly offering, especially in their current sad formulation. There is a better way and I'm trying to help General Mills see the light that is in allowing us to have the opportunity to enjoy these cereals as they where intended. Made with oats. I have pleaded with General Mills on their blog to have this change initiated but more voices are needed to be heard.

There are a ton of comments that support this change not only at only their blog but on countless other blogs on the internet. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Hunt, the manager of social media in Global Communications at General Mills, in the hopes that having one voice from a lifelong fan, would somehow encourage a discussion for a change.

I tried to highlight that I am an advocate for the countless fans who support oat based Monsters. Again, I appreciate Kevin taking the time to talk with me but I don't feel as though I made any progress. After listening to the recent podcast, I decided to take this campaign directly to the cereal guru, Topher Ellis. I believe with his help, this dream has a chance of becoming a reality.

Kevin told me that the reason French Toast crunch is being brought back to the market was realized because of several factors including the public letting General Mills know they wanted it and a petition was started. This is exactly what has occurred with the Monsters. Below is my 3 part question summary to Kevin Hunt as well as my sincere desire to have this request escalated and put into action.

  1. I initially addressed the taste test that supposedly led to the loss of oats in the Monster Cereal formulation. What was the inclusion criteria for the "taste test consumers" (i.e. age, gender, number of participants, cereal preferences)? I don't doubt a taste test occurred but I overwhelmingly disagree that a majority of any taste test consumer group could ever prefer corn versus an oat/corn formula --- unless they had a preference for a bland, less sweet version of the original.

    Unlike the delicious "Lucky Charms-like texture" of the original oat version, the texture of the whole grain corn Monsters is like styrofoam. The once unique flavor of each cereal is much now harder to distinguish, especially between Franken Berry and Boo Berry. Original Franken Berry smelled like Strawberry Quik, and that was the result of the milk after eating a bowl. Now, the aroma is very bland, the milk doesn't take on the appearance or flavor of the cereal, and the overall quality is decreased by a major reduction in marshmallows.

  2. The Monsters where at one point in history, a top seller for Big G cereals. Enough so that they created a new Monster (Fruity Yummy Mummy). That success would have never been achieved had they not been created with oat, similar to Lucky Charms. I believe the decision to make them on an annual basis was due in large part because sales dramatically declined after the change to 100% corn was made. Additionally, the Lucky Charms line was extended around the same time with Chocolate and Berry to replace the discontinued Monsters.

    This is also strange because General Mills chose just "Berry" instead of Strawberry or Blueberry, when experimenting with a new addition to the Lucky Charms family. At the same time, the description on the Boo Berry box changed from frosted Blueberry to frosted Berry flavored. Coincidence? I don't think so, especially because other than a difference in color, Franken and Boo became similar in taste from that point on.

    Similar to the fate of corn based Monsters, consumers rejected Berry Lucky Charms. As a result, they where soon discontinued because they didn't taste good due to being void of a true berry flavor and consisted of corn not oat! Chocolate Lucky Charms are also made of corn unlike their original version. Why is that? Since they're still in production, I'm sure they sell okay but only because chocolate is much easier to distinguish in the corn and a more popular flavor overall than strawberry or blueberry. To further prove my point, many have commented on this blog that they hate the bland corn version Monsters but that Count Chocula is at least the most flavorful.

  3. It's time to make this right and give the decision of corn vs oat to the consumer. These cereals are too important to completely ignore the fan requests and our knowledge of how much better they used to taste. General Mills: please ask the brand team to change the formula back to corn and oats for 2016 and take stock of consumer comments. How about making the corn version in the new annual boxes but use the original oat and corn formula in the retro boxes? I LOVE these cereals --- especially Boo Berry. But it's not just me, there are so many comments out there about this. See the following links for proof: Mr Breakfast - Franken Berry Comments, Mr Breakfast - Boo Berry Comments, Mr Breakfast - Count Chocula Comments, Anthony Marco's Monster Cereal Fan Page, General Mills Blog (Archive), General Mills Blog (2014), General Mills Blog (2015), Retroist - Monster Cereals.
Please give our taste preferences some serious consideration. The Monsters are an annual celebration, but have become an annual disappointment for the fans who love the cereal the most. Thank you.

If you'd like to join the discussion and make your voice heard, you can contact General Mills at Ask General Mills, call 800-248-7310, and post on their "A Taste of General Mills" blog.

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General Mills Releases Five Awesome Star Wars Boxes
by Topher
Star Wars Boxes
The folks at Genereal Mills released 5 character makeover boxes in connection with the December 2015 Disney reboot "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". BuzzBee dons a black cape and helmet as Darth Vader, the Trix Rabbit cross-dresses as Princess Leia, and Chip the Wolf is appears as a stormtrooper. In addition, Cinnamon Toast Crunch crazy squares become TIE fighters, and the Reese’s Puffs become an asteroid field for the Millennium Falcon. The humor and outstanding art makes these boxes a lot of fun to collect. If that wasn't enough to claim a spot in your grocery cart, the boxes also featured a free prize'n'side: one of seven collectible Droid Viewers which reveal an image from the movie. The droids included: R2-D2, C-3PO, B-U4D, PZ-4CO, Mouse Droid, and 2 different BB-8's.

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MBC's Salute to Advertising’s Greatest Icons
by Topher
Museum for Broadcasting CommunicationsThe Museum for Broadcasting Communications held "A Salute to Advertising’s Greatest Icons" at thier Chicago museum last year. The exhibit "examined the creation and evolution of the characters from their inception to contemporary use, through early commercials, vintage print ads and packaging and a wide variety of character memorabilia". The cereal aisle was represented by Kellogg’s: Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes), and Snap, Crackle & Pop (Rice Krispies).

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What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

2016's New Cereals
Here's a look at the cereasl introduced in 2016. Dates are approximate.

January 2016
Kellogg's Disney Pixar - Finding DORY (Beautiful collector box)
Kellogg's Special K Nurish - Apple Raspberry Almond
Kellogg's Special K Nurish - Coconut Cranberry Almond
General Mills Batman - Chocolate Strawberry (Nice collector box)
General Mills Superman - Carmel Crunch (Nice collector box)
Kellogg's SMORZ (It's Back)
Kellogg's Mini Wheats Harvest Delights - Blueberry with Vanilla Drizzle
Kellogg's Mini Wheats Harvest Delights - Cranberry with Yogurt Drizzle

February 2016
Post Honey Bunches of Oats CRUNCH!
Kellogg's JIF PB&J Strawberry
GM - Lucky Charms (LE) Green Clovers & Gold Coins

March 2016
Post Honey Bunches of Oats - Chocolate

Kellogg's Offering Collectable Spoons Free Inside Cereal Boxes
One of six free "Disney Parks Spoon Straws" inside specially makred boxes of Kellogg's Krave, Corn Pops, Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size, Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Froot Loops cereal.

Check out these Cereal Fansites

Cereal Eats: Leandra Palermo's articles on all things cereal.

Cerealously: Dan G's Blog "for breakfast cereal and its surrounding culture, featuring reviews, news, special events, and more".

Cereal Fix: Cereal news brought to you by Andrew Sylvester and Ashley Storm.

The Impulsive Buy - Cereal: Cereal reviews posted by different reviewers.

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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