Courtesy of Post Consumer Brands; SondraP/Getty Images

In 2018, we acknowledged that we all just want candy for breakfast

Margaret Eby
December 07, 2018

The last few years have been a time of upheaval for the cereal industry. A 2016 report confirmed that millennial consumers, who are always wontonly killing off things, if you believe headlines, were not big fans of cereal. Sales of the stuff had plummeted 30 percent, plus, according to a 2015 survey by Mintel, 40 percent of millennials didn't care for cold cereal because they didn't want to clean the bowl after. (Many "millennials are so lazy" jokes were made, ignoring that perhaps the extra time cleaning the bowl of cereal was inconvenient for broke young people who needed to work three jobs just to scrape by to pay rent and their student loans, but sure OK, millennials are "killing tuna" lol.)

In the past two years, the way that cereal has tried to survive is a bifucated approach. One arm of things leaned into the organic, superfood strategy, attempting to make a better, healthier-for-you branded breakfast for the wellness generation. That approach seemed to have middling results, based on the rejection of Trix cereal with more muted colors. The other school of the thought was to just admit to ourselves that cereal was never all that great for you anyway, and so much of it is just eating candy and cookies for breakfast.

Hence, when Post confirmed that Sour Patch Kids Cereal was indeed arriving in a Walmart near you this month, it made a certain amount of sense. I mean, if cereal is just candy, why not make more candy-flavored cereals? Oreo-os already exist.  Post has a Honey Buns cereal and a Donettes cereal now. What was really weird about the Sour Patch Kids decision wasn't the candy element, but the kind of candy it is. Sour Path Kids, duh, are sour, not cocolatey or sweet. When was the last time you had a sour cereal? I can't think of any other examples.

Trying the Sour Patch Kids cereal in a bowl of milk is an experience of your taste buds fighting each other. It's sour, but also faintly sweet, like if someone squeezed a lemon on your Fruit Loops. I got used to the taste after a couple spoonfuls, but I wouldn't say that it's something I'd actively seek out. It's less a cereal for the candy lovers out there than a cereal for the grapefruit lovers, which is an obscure sector of the market. And it's also, of course, a novelty, and something fun to bring home for your kids to try or to your friends' house for a party. And perhaps Sour Patch Kids is a harbinger, too, of where cereal is going. It's a limited edition item, and it's something of a collector's item already. Maybe cereal is less a staple of breakfast now than a treat and a fun, weird thing, like the Unicorn Frappucino craze of 2017. And you know? People bought a lot of Unicorn Frappucinos for a while.

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