OK, a lot of shit went down in December. The U.S. House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The United Kingdom decided that it was still somehow OK with Boris Johnson, and it voted overwhelmingly Conservative in its mid-month general election. And Big Bird died.
Although we kept up with all of that, we somehow missed the release of Reese's Big Puffs, an oversized breakfast cereal that seems to answer the question "What if ball gags were peanut butter-flavored?"
The cereal's arrival was announced by The Junk Food Aisle, a true-to-its-name website that chronicles everything that happens in the candy aisle of supermarkets and big box retailers. At that time, Reese's Big Puffs were just starting to appear in Walmart stores, and they're expected to remain a Walmart exclusive for "the next few months."
Reese's Big Puffs are, as the name suggests, just a swollen-looking version of the legacy Reese's Puffs cereal we've come to know, and maybe for some, love. Although the Big Puffs' box promises that they're "way, way, way bigger"—and the photo makes each Big Puff look like it's the size of an artificially flavored fist coming toward your open mouth—it turns out that they're roughly three times larger than the OG Puffs.
In late December, YouTube food reviewer Tami Dunn and her husband Kevin spent almost 10 minutes comparing the two versions of Reese's Puffs. ("Oh wow," Dunn said in her initial assessment. "It's the same cereal, it's just bigger.")
Kevin was slightly more analytical—or as analytical as one can get when you're talking about two bowls of cereal. "I like the Big Puff. I like the texture," he said. "But I tell you what, you lose some flavor. Because you're getting—think about the coating on the outside where the flavor's at. I could eat one of these [Reese's Big Puffs] that takes the place of probably four of those [Reese's Puffs] but you've got a lot more surface area on on the little ones. So you get a lot more flavor. They're still very good, it's just not as high level of flavor."
Although Tami and Kevin were slightly less into the Reese's Big Puffs ("If you're already eatin' the Reese's cereal anyway, then I mean, why not?"), they never addressed the most pressing question, namely "Why the fuck do these exist?"
The simplest answer might be "Because sugar," and that's probably the most accurate, too. According to Adweek, in the past three years, Post Consumer Brands and Mondelēz International have collaborated on five new cereal brands: Oreo O's, Nutter Butter, Chips Ahoy!, Nilla Banana Pudding, and Golden Oreo O's. Those five boxes of A.M. abominations generated $70 million in sales—which probably explains why they also released a Sour Patch Kids cereal last year. (Post has since stepped out on Mondelēz to parent a Twinkies Cereal with Hostess.)
"In the cereal category, the sugary stuff is actually what’s selling now,” said John Baumgartner, a senior equity analyst at Wells Fargo told the outlet. “Cereal’s one of the categories where people are splurging a bit more in terms of indulgence.”
Now we have one more sugary, unnecessarily large option to splurge on too. Also, maybe ball gags should taste like peanut butter.