February 22, 2024

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Delicious food

Best-selling cereals from the decade you were born


Breakfast cereals have filled cupboards, graced kitchen tables and been munched by people getting dressed/looking for their keys/rushing out the door since the mid-1800s. From the first manufactured cereal, Granula – so tough on the teeth it had to be soaked overnight – to the novelty cereals of the 1980s and 1990s, they’ve also reflected the times. Here’s a selection box of delights through the years, from classics invented the decade you were born to varieties that spiked in popularity.




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Those little Os have been around for oh-so long. They were originally called Cheerioats, and were the first ready-to-eat oat cereal. The name was simplified to the catchier Cheerios in 1945, and they’ve been swimming in milk in bowls around the globe ever since.




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Two cereal giants – Kellogg’s and Post Cereals – launched a Raisin Bran in 1942, making it a ubiquitous cupboard staple. The ingredients are simple – raisins and wheat bran – and its high-fiber content made it a popular choice for health-conscious breakfasters.




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Snap, Crackle and Pop have actually been making mornings a little noisier since 1928, when Kellogg’s first marketed the puffed-rice cereal. But they reached peak popularity in the 1940s, when all three elf mascots had been introduced and Rice Krispies Treats – where the cereal is stirred with marshmallows and melted butter and set into delicious little squares – were already a thing.




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Launched by Post in 1948, Sugar Crisp was an early adopter of the (unsurprisingly successful) ‘coat it in sugar’ strategy. It’s had more name changes than we’ve had cold breakfasts, switching to Super Sugar Crisp, then Super Golden Crisp and, finally, to Golden Crisp – as it’s still sold in the US today. The sugar-coated puffed wheat is similar to the UK’s Honey Monster Puffs, formerly known as Sugar Puffs.




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Having been rationed with restricted availability during the Second World War, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were back in kitchens and bowls with a vengeance in the 1950s. Whether you like yours drenched in ice-cold milk or with just a splash (or love them with or without sugar sprinkled on top), their classic status is undeniable.




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Post’s Alpha-Bits were both a breakfast cereal and a spelling lesson rolled into one. Each box was stuffed with frosted wholegrain corn and oat letters so kids could make words in their milk, then devour them. It disappeared in 2006 but made a comeback two years later, and now has a ‘new and improved’ recipe and larger letters.




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Tony the Tiger was unleashed on breakfast tables in the mid-1950s as the roarsome mascot of Kellogg’s Frosties cereal, originally called Sugar Frosted Flakes. It was a huge success and the crunchy, sugar-coated corn flakes are still a morning (and, sometimes, after-pub) favorite.




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Trix launched in 1954 as a sugary version of General Mills’ Kix cereal, and to say it was colorful would be an understatement. The cereal, a lower sugar version of which is still sold today, consists of corn cereal pieces sweetened and given fruity names like ‘orangey orange’ and ‘lemony yellow’. They were later shaped to look like fruit pieces too.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Known as Coco Pops in the UK and Choco Pops in France, these are, effectively, chocolatey Rice Krispies – and were an instant kids’ favorite for obvious reasons. Not that adults were (or are) immune to their cocoa charms and their impressive ability to turn milk chocolatey.




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Toucan Sam flew onto breakfast tables in 1962 and has kept visiting ever since. The cereal is as bold and colorful as the mascot’s beak, with fruit-flavored circles in vivid colors of purple, yellow, blue and orange. Basically, it’s exactly what kids want to see in their bowls.




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Quaker’s sweet and crunchy corn cereal, shaped like little saucers, has a storied past. It was launched in 1965 along with a sister cereal, Quake, which was discontinued in the 1970s after the company asked the public to vote on which one to keep. Quisp vanquished another breakfast contender shortly afterwards: the public also said they preferred it to Quaker’s orange-infused cereal, Quangaroo.




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Those cheeky little leprechauns were always trying to keep people away from their Lucky Charms, and who could blame them? This 1964-launched cereal was (and still is) pure fun and color in a bowl, with a rainbow of oat pieces in myriad shapes from clovers to crescent moons. It even has marshmallows! What sweet-toothed child could resist?




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It’s hard to imagine a more yuppy breakfast than a bowl of muesli, and Alpen certainly helped spread its popularity when it launched in 1971. The idea came from one of Weetabix’s board members, after he tried Swiss muesli on a family ski trip.




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Nature Valley launched its packaged granola in 1973 – the first granola on the mass market. Suddenly, crunching on clusters of toasted oats and nuts bound by honey was no longer seen as the domain of hippies and the ultra health-conscious. Instead it became a mainstay in breakfast bowls (or sprinkled on yogurt).




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These crunchy, toasty, brown-sugar doused squares were instantly popular after being launched in 1975. And, as demonstrated by this 1978 Woman’s Day ad, they could also be mixed with nuts for a sophisticated (and, judging by the model’s expression, very moreish) cocktail snack.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Invented in 1980, these are Kellogg’s Corn Flakes drenched in honey and coated with chopped peanuts – and, as everyone who’s ever munched them straight from the box knows, they are irresistibly delicious. They’ve been a hit since they were launched in the UK, though didn’t make it across the Atlantic until 2011. They’re now sold simply as ‘Crunchy Nut’.




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These knobbly, toasty-tasting flakes were invented in 1955 and, as this 1960s ad shows, were marketed as a low-calorie and high-protein option. But, for many, they will always be associated with 1980s. It was in this decade that Kellogg’s began its red swimsuit (later, a red dress) adverts and people were encouraged to eat a bowl of cereal for lunch or dinner – as part of a calorie-controlled diet, of course.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The 1980s was surely a golden decade for cereal. Golden, sugary and cinnamon-y, in fact, as 1984 saw the dawn of what’s become a steadfast favorite, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The crisp squares are made with rice and wheat and coated in sugar and the warm spice of cinnamon to evoke cinnamon toast or buns.




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This ground oat cereal was first launched in 1957 as an instant porridge. But it was in the 1980s, when it was marketed as ‘central heating for kids’, that it really became a cult breakfast hit. Who could forget the Ready brek glow?




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


General Mills launched this cinnamon and syrup-laced cereal in 1995, and you’d be forgiven for thinking such a novelty food wouldn’t last the distance. But normal rules don’t apply in the cereal world, and these tiny toast-shaped pieces continue to be a favorite bowl-filler today.




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The 1990s was clearly a decade of sweet decadence when it came to breakfast cereals. Oreo O’s launched in the late Nineties and is a dream for the sweet-toothed. Each box basically contains Oreo cookies deconstructed as breakfast cereal, with little chocolatey loops and a ‘creme’ coating. Many hearts were broken when they were discontinued in 2007 – and mended again when they made a comeback a decade later.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Kashi Good Friends cereal, now owned by Kellogg’s, followed a very different path to the confections of the 1990s, packing in the fiber. It’s the Chex Mix of cereals, with wholegrain flakes, sweetened granola and, erm, twigs – which are thankfully made of bran, not branches.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


32/32 SLIDES