Most major packaged food industries are leaning in to the consumer demand for healthier foods. But as the Daily Mail reported earlier this year, Big Cereal is bucking the trend and launching more, not less, sugary products as of late, even though sales are down. Part of the marketing strategy for those sweet breakfast products seems to be banking on millennial's nostalgia for the cereals of their 80s and 90s youth. General Mills brought back the original fruit-shaped bits to its iconic rainbow-hued Trix, and issued limited-time re-releases of favorites like Count Chocula. Another tried and true strategy for hooking the jittery and flighty attention of sugary cereal consumers? Making a mash up of cereal and other sweet snacks, like French Toast Crunch (in limited release in 2015), Oreo O’s, or Dippin’ Dots. And now, sweet breakfast lovers can get their hands on beloved Hostess pastries in the form of cereal, thanks to a new partnership with Post.
Starting in January, grocery shoppers nationwide will be able to find Honey Bun and Donettes cereals alongside their bran flakes and Wheaties. Donnettes, those perfectly uniform doughnuts you can find in most grocery and convenience stores, come in six flavors in their full-size version, but as a cereal, they’re only available in powdered sugar, looking pretty much exactly like a sugar-coated Fruit Loop. Honey Buns, basically a sticky bun completely covered with a honey-flavored glaze, appear to go under the shrink ray from Honey! I Shrunk the Kids and get a little crunchier in cereal form.
Why is it that we must Frankenstein sweets and breakfast foods this way? Why must we hybridize the croissant with just about everything else? Why are we drawn to the cereal-ified versions of pumpkin spice lattes, Nutter Butters, or Chips Ahoy! cookies? Can a Donette not just be a doughnut in 2018?
There is something undeniably appealing in a basely childlike way about a bowl full of Barbie-sized foods that one can soak in milk and spoon up like a giant with an out-sized sweet tooth. So many miniature-sized things in one place just looks precious, like when kittens sleep together in a giant pile of fluff and toe beans. It’s the same reason we can’t get enough of those videos of the little hedgehog and his hamster friends eating tiny slices of birthday cake and burritos. We’re just hardwired to find tiny things cute.
There’s no word yet on whether or not Post has plans to make any of their other line up of pastries into cereal form. But the minute Twinkie, Ho Ho, or Ding Dong cereal becomes reality, you can be sure we’ll be here to tell you all about it. And continue to question exactly what late capitalism is doing to our brains, palates, and stomachs.