You won’t find many realms in the food world more varied and eclectic than cereal. One trip down the cereal aisle at your local grocery store will show you that there are literally dozens of different types of cereals for you to consider. Why, you can’t even count the assorted variations on Cheerios on one hand. From sugary cereals marketed toward children with cool cartoon animal mascots to healthy cereals for adults, you are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to cereals. However, the cereal business can be fickle and cruel, and not every cereal is destined for a long life. Over the years, a litany of cereals have been discontinued, or at least disappeared off the shelves of American grocery stores. Some of them are not missed. We’re all probably doing fine without Millenios, a Y2K-centric Cheerios variant that was literally just Cheerios with some 2s thrown in. On the other hand, there are some now-defunct cereals that didn’t deserve to be sent to that big supermarket in the sky. Here are the cereals we want to see back on the shelves, because it’s always possible that we can make a difference. After all, fan clamoring led to the glorious return of French Toast Crunch.
Hidden Treasures only existed for two short years (1993-1995), so there is a good chance you missed out on it. It was the rare cereal with a premise. The pieces were made of little corn squares, but inside they had filling, the ostensible “treasure.” There was grape, cherry and orange, but to take the whole “treasure” thing to the next level some pieces were hollow. One could imagine children feeling cheated by hollow squares, but also evidently the “hidden” part didn’t work out so well, either. It was easy to tell which filling was in which piece, eliminating the, let’s say “thrill,” of discovery. Perhaps modern technology could allow a revamped Hidden Treasures to live up to its name a little better.
Photo by theimpulsivebuy, CC-BY
The Oreo is the quintessential cookie. This is so true that people accuse Hydrox of being an Oreo ripoff even though it predates the Oreo. As such, you’d think an Oreo based cereal would work, but alas Oreo O’s lived a short though memorable life. It was like other “O” cereals, primarily consisting of little chocolatey rings. However, Oreo O’s took things to the next level by including some cream reminiscent of the Oreo’s classic cream filling. It was insanely sweet, and the kind of cereal that often gets chastised now for being unhealthy. However, having it around for the occasional indulgence would be nice. Also, it made milk taste absolutely amazing.
OK, so the idea of a cereal named after Steve Urkel may not seem to have much of a market in the year 2017. Urkel-O’s came into existence in 1991 to capitalize on the breakout character from Family Matters. However, if you saw a cereal called Urkel-Os at the store, and if you remember Urkel’s wacky adventures, are you going to try and claim you aren’t going to buy this cereal? Plus, Urkel-Os were strawberry-banana flavored. That sounds pretty tasty, especially since there aren’t many strawberry-banana cereals readily available, if any. It’s just an added bonus that Urkel’s goofy face would be staring back at you from the box.
The tagline for Kix was “Kid tested, mother approved,” indicating that kids would love them but they weren’t insane globs of sugar in a bowl. Kix were OK. If Kix were to disappear, there would be little rending of garments, if any. Berry Berry Kix is a different story. It was Kix cereal with some berry-flavored pieces. The way the berry pieces were molded made them look like bunches of grapes and/or raspberries, which was pretty cool. They tasted good too, adding a fruity flavor that paired well with the slightly sweetened corn flavor of original Kix.
Have you ever been eating Teddy Grahams and thought they’d taste great if you just dumped them in a bowl of milk? Sure you have. Teddy Grahams are basically cereal pieces with different marketing to begin with—that’s why it made so much sense in the ‘80s when they did in fact make a Teddy Grahams cereal. It came in three flavors: Chocolate, cinnamon and honey. Despite the seeming sweetness of Teddy Grahams Breakfast Bears, the cereal was marketed as having “LESS SUGAR than the leading kids’ cereals.” Sure, marketing can be misleading, but this could be a cereal you could eat without worrying too much about your sugar intake.
All of the monster cereals (Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Frankenberry, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy) are, at best, seasonal cereals now. However, both Brute and Mummy have been discontinued entirely after a brief resurrection. Fruit Brute is the hipster’s choice because it was in Pulp Fiction, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the cereal. One, Yummy Mummy is a better name for a cereal. Two, when the cereal was relaunched, it was orange-cream-flavored with marshmallows. That’s right, a Creamsicle in a bowl. You can’t argue with that.
Photo by theimpulsivebuy, CC-BY
If any food is tied to pop culture, it’s cereal. There was a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure cereal and a Reptar Rugrats cereal and a Mr. T cereal and so on and so forth. It’d be easy to be swayed by nostalgia and the amusement that comes from buying a box of cereal with the Ghostbusters logo on it (yes, they had a cereal too). However, The Simpsons has been on for over two decades, and they deserve a cereal. Nobody eats Butterfinger B.B.s anymore.
While we don’t want to overwhelm this list with pop culture-influenced cereals, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal isn’t here because of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. This cereal is basically Rice Chex with marshmallows, and you don’t normally get to eat a Chex-style cereal with marshmallows. Also, this cereal turned milk green, which is fun.
Most of the cereals on this list are of the sugary variety. However, even something with a slightly healthier bent can come and go. Admittedly, Wheaties Dunk-a-Balls were designed as a limited edition cereal. Still, it’d be a joyous occasion if they were to return. The cereal looked like little basketballs, with the lines painted on and everything. They weren’t quite as healthy as Wheaties, aka the Breakfast of Champions, but they were still probably better for you than, say, Cupcake Pebbles.
Do you remember Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! All Berries? It was Crunch Berries cereal, but it was only the berries. None of those little mouth-shredding traditional Cap’n Crunch pieces were to be found. Now, imagine a healthier version of that. Just Bunches! removed the flakes, which are fine, so that it was nothing but, well, bunches of oats. They had a couple of flavors, but honey roasted flavoring is what Honey Bunches of Oats does best. It’s more of the best part of the cereal. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s like the adult version of a child’s dream of a cereal that is all marshmallows.
Main photo by Zoe, CC-BY
Chris Morgan is not the author of THE book on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but he is the author of A book on Mystery Science Theater 3000. He’s also on Twitter.