Sugar Rush

About a year ago, we wrote about sweet snacks making their way into the cereal category. That trend has intensified since then, with a long list of candy, ice cream, and cookie brands being licensed for breakfast cereals:

  • General Mills debuted Nestlé Drumstick and Honey Maid S’More cereals, as well as Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème and Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll, the last two under the new Fillows brand, all in 2019, following the launch of Dippin’ Dots in 2018. The company has long been pairing with outside snack brands, albeit on a less frequent basis than in recent years, introducing the first iteration of Hershey’s Cookies & Cream in 2013 and Reese’s Puffs, which is still on the market, back in 1994.
  • Kellogg’s premiered Peeps cereal as a limited edition for Easter in April of this year, while its Pop Tarts variety was also released in 2019. The company markets cereals under the Hershey’s brand in Asia.
  • Post launched Hostess Twinkies cereal in summer 2019, adding it to a list of snack-branded breakfast foods including Sour Patch Kids, Donettes, Nilla, and Honey Bun varieties, all introduced in 2018; and Oreo O’s, Chips Ahoy, and Nutter Butter, all out in 2017. Post’s Malt O Meal brand launched Cold Stone Creamery cereal in two flavors in 2018.

In some cases, the cereal makers have secured multiple brands from one licensor, as is the case with General Mills’ Reese’s and Hershey varieties, both acquired from Hershey, or Post’s Oreo, Nilla, Nutter Butter, and Chips Ahoy, from Mondelez, and Twinkies, Donettes, and Honey Bun, from Hostess. In other cases, the cereals are co-brands of two trademarks within the cereal company’s corporate portfolio. That is true for Kellogg’s and Pop Tarts as well as General Mills and Pillsbury.

Not all of the recent raft of snack-based cereal varieties have been developed in conjunction with name brands. Post has launched generic Cookies & Cream and Maple Bacon Donuts cereals, while its Malt O Meal division offers Peanut Butter Cookie Bites. General Mills markets non-licensed Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch and a Churros flavor of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Quaker introduced Cotton Candy Cap’n Crunch this year, and Kellogg’s Pops and Post’s licensed Pebbles cereals have both had candy corn spin-offs.

The addition of respected trademarks to this sea of sugary flavors is likely to be a point of differentiation for consumers as they navigate the cereal aisle.

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