What Would You Advise the President of Cereal?

April 15, 2015   49 Comments

Some influential people get to visit the White House to meet the president as part of their job. I get to visit Minneapolis.

Ask the President of Cereal

Why Minneapolis? The headquarters of General Mills is there and I have a meeting with the head cereal honcho – and, no, I am not making this up.

Ordinarily, they don’t allow me inside places such as corporate headquarters because I have been known to stand outside of them with a sign of some sort (once I was photographed outside of a Gristedes protesting juice boxes) but General Mills thinks Snack Girl can behave. I believe they think I might actually be helpful.

General Mills produces Cheerios, Chex, Kix, Fiber One, Lucky Charms, Total, Trix, Wheaties, among others.

When I shared on Facebook that I had this meeting with the cereal boss, my buddies all started telling me what I should convey for them. It occurred to me that my readers here on Snack Girl might also have something to say.

Breakfast cereal is on the decline here in the United States as we have begun eating all sorts of things for breakfast (quinoa, anyone?). When I was growing up, it was either Corn Flakes or Cheerios for breakfast. In 2015, my kids eat all sorts of things to start their day and, yes, sometimes they eat cereal.

What do I have to say to the cereal chief? I have not thrown packaged cereal under the bus like many of the “real food” bloggers with whom I hang. I think that you can find good ones if you follow my Healthy or Crappy Cereal Test.

I would, of course, like to see more cereal that passes the test (less sugar, whole grains, high fiber).

I am not going to Minneapolis until May so I have plenty of time to collect opinions.

Please share your respectful comments, questions, advice, and thoughts below and I will print them out and bring them to share with Jim Murphy, President Big G Cereals.

I am happy to convey your disapproval as long as it is shared respectfully. Since they let me inside, I am going to engage in productive discourse and, hopefully, affect change.

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 49 )

Congratulations Snack Girl on this opportunity and giving us a chance to have a voice too. As a mom and RD as soon as Cheerioes came out with chocolate flavored I was livid. Cheerios is one of the fewest sugar laided cereals on the market. They're the icon of starter foods for toddlers. Now even at church I see the mom pull out the chocolate Cheerios. I'm sure she doesn't realize the sugar content jumped 9 fold! Children get enough sugar throughout the day, they don't need to start with it. Encourage them to market low sugar cereals as cool! Come on Big G you have a great opportunity to brand yourself different and be a trend setter! Good luck!!!

Cereal costs fifty cents a box to make (including ALL costs), yet sells for nearly ten times that. Ask them to explain that. Ask how they can sell a box of sugar and flour and call it nutritious.

Most of the cereal is eaten by children, and the obesity rate for children in this country is of epidemic proportions. Ask them how much money they have put into researching the role of cereal manufacturers in this tragic attack on the health of children

Children and adults should be eating dinner for breakfast, and breakfast for dinner. It would solve the obesity problem and increase the productivity of students and workers.

Starting the day with a bowl of sugar, corn and flour does not help anyone, except those cereal manufacturers you plan to visit.

Cheerios and Corn Flakes were pretty goood choices. No wonder you are healthy! Didn't you ever get Rice Krispies? You are lucky your parents did not buy all those junky sugared cereals that keep kids quiet. So my advice to the big boys. Keep it simple - good grains, no sugar.

As an avid Snack Girl follower and healthy conscious person, I'm just simply wondering why can't some of the healthier cereals that are available in the U.S. be found in Canada?

My family loves cereals. We went gluten free and Chex is our favorite. I love the chocolate, whereas my husband loves the honey nut. So what's the catch? We only eat cereal as an occational DESSERT; never at breakfast.

Give me a "transparent" cereal with limited ingredients (like 5, max) and honest labeling, so ALL of us ~ from moms with young families, teenagers, college students, young professionals just starting out in their own apartment to baby boomers and seniors ~ can go into the grocery store, reach for your box, read the label and nutrition information with no hidden ingredients, no double-talk and no lies. Oh, how I wish I could just run into the store and grab that awesome cereal and know it was 100% healthy + good tasting, without having to pull out my laptop and research everything. Thank you, Snack Girl, for going to bat for us on this! You're awesome!

I'd love to see some grain free options (quinoa, nuts, fruit, coconut...), and if you're going to use grains trying sprouted grains and more whole pieces (not just flours).

No GMO's or BHT.

I was delighted when I was able to buy Gluten Free Chex. It tastes Good!!!! Unlike most GF cereal including GF Rice Krispies. I would love to have the option to buy a good tasting GF Cheerios.


I rarely eat breakfast cereal and the main reason is it has too much sugar and not enough fiber!!I would prefer cereal that is whole grain with less sugar. Cereal actually tastes good with less sugar. When I do eat cereal, I like chex, cheerios, Fiber one and shredded wheat(plain). Thank you and I pray that the meeting goes good and the cereal boss's decide to change the way they process cereal.

Good for you! Cereal is a frequent breakfast item around here for my 14 year old son - with about 20 minutes in the morning from waking up to out the door, it is quick and puts something in his stomach. He does like Wheaties (yay!) and we add unsweetened dry cranberries. (I think the marketing with sports players is great and probably influences him!) Unfortunately, he also likes Lucky Charms, and a lot of the sugary cereals too - I will by them on occasion.

Funny story - we had wild turkeys in our yard the other day & my son wanted to keep them around, so he grabbed the first thing handy - a box of Lucky Charms & tossed them on the lawn for the turkeys. Well, they ate the cereal & left all the marshmallows!

No GMOs or BHT...and organic ingredients.....we've basically given up processed cereals and switched to organic rolled or steel cut oats.

Cheerio's, regular & honeynut, are my favorites. of all the department store cereals. I look for least amount of sugar, some fiber and some protein. I also buy Wheaties and fiber one. Most cereals are junk food labeled as breakfast cereal. I never buy those kind.

late spring through late fall I am a cold cereal eater...Post shredded wheat and bran minis, Post raisin bran and wheat chex.....all low or no added sugar, natural fiber and high in fiber....NO HFCS....I am cutting that out as much as possible plus all the other names corn "sugars" goes by....and when I eat these cereals I do not sprinkle on sugar....never have...grew up that way....

keep cereal ingredients simple....leave out the HFCS....unless it's corn flakes, why do we need added corn product....I like the KISS method...;-)

I agree that we need more grain free options, or at least whole, gluten free grains, non-GMO, and less sugar. Also no artificial ingredients like dyes and flavors. But it has to be marketed at a reasonable cost for families. I have found in my quest to eat healthy my grocery bills are enormous. Gluten free, whole foods, organic, free range, grass fed...all these cost triple the alternatives, and packaged trash is cheap and easy, so it's often a go to for busy, cost conscious families. No wonder we not only have an obesity epidemic, but so many people are afflicted with cancer, MS, Parkinson's, ALS, heart disease, diabetes, and dozens of other serious illnesses. Maybe starting with GM, we can have an ally in the mammoth food industry to start making good food (as in tastes good) that's good for you, affordable and readily available in mainstream markets.

I would love more cereals with high protein. I'd eat it much more if that were the case!

I personally don't like cereal. The whole thought of it getting soggy in milk is a huge turn-off for me. My girls do like cereal though and they usually have it for about a week once a month (eggs the other weeks). They eat plain cheerios and milk. They love it. My father in law likes to buy them tons of Lucky Charms. They usually open up a cup and eat some and the rest I throw. In the end, it's up to the parents to make the right choices for their kids, not the cereal companies. Want them to stop making cereal with so much sugar? Stop buying it!

As a dietetic intern in my renal (kidney failure) rotation, I've learned there is a need for more cereal made without phosphate for those who need to restrict phosphorus intake. More options without phosphates would be great for this population.

My husband has a gluten sensitivity so he was thrilled to learn that Cheerios is going gluten free. My hope is that in removing the glutenous content - that it is not replaced with sugar. I certainly respect that consumers should have choices but cereal boxes should be labeled with information to help the consumer make an informed choice. Simple ratings = A - not quite cardboard but most healthy; B - a bit tastier - still healthy; C - good choice all around and tasty; D - taste great - not so good for you; F - well, you get the idea.

More corn free cereals. My son was diagnosed with a corn allergy and so few cereals are corn free. Not a lot of options, especially for a kid.

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