Morning Summit cereal emphasizes healthier ingredients, but is it worth such a hefty price tag?

By Tim Nelson
Updated February 21, 2020
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Credit: Morning Summit

“It’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost? Ten dollars?”

That famous quote from Arrested Development is meant to paint wealthy socialite Lucille Bluth as completely out of touch when it comes to what things actually cost. But if General Mills understands their consumers like they claim they do, ten dollars might start to feel like a bargain when it comes to new, fancier brands of cereal.

At the recent Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, General Mills chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening touted the introduction of Morning Summit, a new, higher-end pricy offering aimed at the top end of the cereal market.

“We’re innovating in new product forms that command premium price points, including our new Morning Summit product, which has almonds as the first ingredient and sells for $13 a box,” Harmening said at the conference according to Fortune.

Given that your average standard-sized cereal box can retail for somewhere around $10 less than that, paying such a steep surcharge for a bunch of almonds feels pretty ridiculous. Luckily, it sounds like there will be other fresher ingredients like maple berries, dried cherries, organic coconut oil and pumpkin seeds, to name a few. That adds up to 15 grams of whole grains per serving, so at least you’re getting some nutritional value in exchange for that significant spend.

At a time when millennials are blamed for killing the cereal industry and sugary cereals are commanding more attention, targeting this high end market seems like an odd choice. But for Harmening, General Mills’ move is all about expanding the audience for cereal and hoping they’ll go along with the price.

“Our strategy to drive compelling cereal growth is centered on launching compelling innovation that offers taste, convenience, and health benefits, while investing in brand building that engages consumers and gives them a reason to walk down the aisle,” Harmening said.

Whether Morning Summit ascends to the pinnacle of the cereal mountaintop or crashes and burns remains to be seen. But if General Mills’ expensive offering finds an audience, you can bet that competitors will be quick to try and cash in themselves.