Here today, gone tomorrow
As yet another reminder that everything on this planet is born only to die, the majority of new cereals only last five years before being discontinued and flung from this world, never to return. Although it might appear that we're experiencing a golden age of new cereals, where anything from Tiny Toast to chocolate Frosted Flakes (with build-your-own skeleton marshmallow bits) is at our fingertips. But it seems that these new cereals are never long for this world, with many of them dropping out of production only a few years after first appearing on store shelves. Better start doomsday prepping by stocking up on your favorite boxes.
According to Data Driven Thoughts, the majority of all new cereal launches have occurred within the last ten years. One third of all cereals to ever hit the market, in fact. And only four manufacturers (General Mills, Kellogg Company, Post Cereals, and Quaker Oats Company) account for the vast majority of new launches. But despite all of these new products, almost half of all new cereals are discontinued fewer than five years after launch. In other words, companies are throwing cereal at the wall and seeing what sticks. The bad news is that very few varieties do.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Timothy Huneycutt. Because you never know when your beloved cereal might end up in the great big breakfast table in the sky.
Now, you might be shaking your fist at the heavens and wondering why our great cereal creator giveth only to taketh away, rest assured that unlike the untimely demise of your childhood goldfish, there might be some satisfying answers. The first and perhaps most obvious reason for short-lived cereals is to create hype for limited releases. Limited-edition cereals, like those released last summer ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, can drum up hype quickly and cheaply for cereal companies. Other limited-release cereals, like marshmallow-only Lucky Charms, can capture the breakfast world's attention through manufactured scarcity.
But a less cynical reason for the short lives of discontinued breakfast cereals could be the waning popularity of cereal itself. More than 40 percent of millennials told the New York Times that they've shied away from cereal because it's too much of a hassle in the morning (guys, just rinse the bowl out). That, and the fact that most consumers are opting for yogurt instead of cereal to kickstart their mornings. Yogurt sales have soared over the past decade, due in part to its perception as a convenient, health-conscious breakfast option.
So if you were looking to new cereals as a reason to keep living, look elsewhere. Just like everything good in this world, your favorite new box of crunch goodness is subject to Fortuna's taciturn decision-making as she spins her eponymous wheel. Sic transit gloria mundi, my friends.