"What about the steam wave cereal?", Asks my friend and discovers the box of the "fruity" magic spoon on my counter.
The packaging is peptorosa with a violet gradient on the side and on the front of a bespectacled girl sitting on a grain-eating bird. There's no overflowing bowl, no splash of milk and no Kellogg or General Mills logo in the corner. Instead, there are the nutritional values: 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of net carbs – numbers that you definitely will not find on your box of Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs from childhood.
Cold Cereal has been America's most popular breakfast food for decades, not because of its health benefits but because of its price (cheap), its taste (sweet) and its appeal to a very particular group of consumers (children). It does not hurt that it is also extremely easy to prepare and only requires a bowl, a spoon and milk ̵
However, sales in this category have been declining in recent years, leading many experts to the growing public awareness of the harmful effects of surplus surpluses, which may include an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. and obesity, as well as shifting consumer appetite for higher-protein foods such as yogurt and energy bars. Low-carb diets have recently experienced a renaissance, although Keto, Paleo and Whole30 are the top priority instead of the early-onset Atkins and Dukan diets.
For followers of one of these regimes, traditionally packed cereals are strictly prohibited – not just sugary childhood favorites like cinnamon toast crunch and lucky charms, but also "healthy" varieties like cheerios and raisin bran, which are made from cereals (a no no) and carbohydrate rich (17) grams and 38 grams per serving, while ketogenic diets generally limit total carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams per day).
Magic Spoon is part of a small squad of startups founded last year with the goal of bringing grain back to a market that has given up on dietary restrictions and some breakfast gang loyalists who might to convert those looking for less sugary options for themselves or their children. The brands each offer a variation of low-carbohydrate, high-protein cereals, sell (at least for the time being) directly to the consumer and promise consumers a third option between "inevitable sugar coma" and "sad brown" health flakes. "
Magic Spoon co-founders Greg Sewitz and Gabi Lewis, who launched their cereals in April, wanted to take advantage of the intimacy that almost existed. Every American has the category. "While we looked at the world of food, there really are not many people who have a real emotional connection to and history with what they do with grains," says Sewitz. "One talks to someone about his favorite cereal and his eyes light up instantly and he thinks back to the pantry he had as a child."
Even with the recent slump in sales – in addition to health concerns – Millennials have been accused too lazy to clean themselves up – grain is still a giant industry. According to Euromonitor, Americans spent $ 9 billion on this in 2018, compared to $ 13.9 billion in 2000, and nearly 90 percent of the country at least sometimes eat it for breakfast.
"Ten years ago, cereal was the most popular breakfast in this country," says Lewis. "That will be the case in 10 years, in 20 years it will be the case." The only reason why it eases off easily is that although people love cereals, none of these products today speak to modern consumers. "
Magic Spoon's debut taste hit all the classics – frosted, cinnamon, fruity and cocoa – and it's also sweetened with allulose (in some cases also vigorous), a sugar substitute that naturally occurs in jackfruit and figs. Since allergy has been found to have "negligible effects on blood sugar and insulin," the Food and Drug Administration decided this spring (in a first decision of the agency) that food manufacturers do not have to take into account the total sugar of a product because the sweetener is on the market so new, its long-term effects on humans have not been studied.
Catalina Crunch, a year-old startup, uses monks – a natural sweetener from Luo Han Guo, a small one Melon native to parts of southern China and Thailand for a more subtle, sugar-free taste. The brand was founded by Krishna Kaliannan, who originally developed his signature dark chocolate cereal as a keto-friendly breakfast food for himself. Kaliannan has been on the diet for about a decade since he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and epilepsy shortly after diagnosis. (Apart from the fact that keto is the most frequently googled diet of 2018, it has been shown to reduce seizures in epilepsy patients who do not respond to medication.)
While the brand's target audience is much broader than the keto Community, Kaliannan has experience with The diet – and the absence of crackers, fries, toast and pretzels – has underlined its top priority in the production of cereal: crispness. After thinking about the science that makes food crunchy, he optimized and optimized the recipe, and when it was time to introduce the business to investors, he took MRI scans of the grain he had made in a cancer lab New York City to demonstrate his technique.
This process also helps explain where the name "Catalina Crunch" comes from. "After trying for a year to figure out how to make it crispy, I'm not letting the crispness out of the name," he says. So far it works: since then, the company has added three more flavors – cinnamon toast, maple waffle and honey graham – and now sells more than 2,000 bags of cereal a day.
A third brand, Cereal School, relies on nostalgic branding and snack-size packaging to bring the category to the present. Each 24-bag order of fruit and cinnamon rolls comes in a colorful box with slogans like "Growing up is overrated" and the company slogan "Old School Cereal made the new way", a philosophy co-founded by Dylan Kaplan co-founder Relapse into the time when we were children and could enjoy cereals without hesitation ": Is that healthy? Is that unhealthy? "
He and his partner, Helen Guo, are lifelong grain friends who founded the brand after they discovered how little opportunity they had in the supermarket when they tried to remove sugar from their diet." To differentiate, they said with friends and potential customers about what they wanted from their cereals and noted that portability and portion control were high on the list.
"When we thought about how we could do things differently, we not only wanted Think of the grain itself, but also the packaging, "Kaplan says," Why must it be in a cereal box? It has been like that for decades, but does it really have to stay that way? "These were some of the questions we asked ourselves at the beginning
Direct selling opens up a possibility that has not yet existed for cereal brands in grocery stores in the past, says All n Adamson, co-founder of the consulting firm Metaforce and co-author of Shift Ahead: How to Keep the Best Companies Relevant in a Fast-Changing World .
"If you stand on this shelf today, the reason why most brands are the same is that they were tested, and in a sea of 500 boxes shouting at you, everyone has to scream louder, "he says," so if you do not have the big cereal bowl with the strawberry on top of which the milk splashes and big letters and big red colors and graphics You can not break a bumper sticker. "
Brands can reach potential customers online through various channels and talk about how they actually eat cereal, which is increasingly not just a breakfast dish, a Mintel survey from the year In 2017, 56 percent of millennials eat muesli as a snack at home, while more than one in five 18- to 22-year-olds eats it on the way.
Kaliannan came to similar conclusions when His marketing team surveyed more than 250 Catalina Crunch customers. Only about 45 percent said they had eaten the morning cereal with milk, a bowl and a spoon. Others treated it as an afternoon snack, as a crunchy topping for bowls or smoothies, or even as a quick dinner. On Instagram, the brand has also published recipes from food bloggers who have used it as an ingredient in cereal bars and Oreo mugs.
Catalina Crunch will not be online for long – it's launched in more than 1,000 stores in the US January, says Kaliannan, direct sales in the first year, has allowed him to build a customer base without compromising packaging. The brand uses resealable 9-ounce pouches (four each) instead of bags in cartons because the ingredients require it, he says, but also because talking to friends often made the complaint, "How damn hard it is about that closing the damn box after you open the bag.
For Magic Spoon, Sewitz said that they chose the branding – including the boxes – to remember the muesli everyone remembered when they grew up. "All about this fine line is that we're trying to walk between nodding into the nostalgia and fun and muesli in the cartoon-style of yesterday's Saturday morning, but also bringing a new product that feels very modern and with everyone Modern consumers speak about the things that are important to them and that interest them. "In addition, boxes can be packaged and shipped easier. The founders are still considering whether to use pouches and single-serving bags, but also want to look for packaging waste.
(For what it's worth, the boxes I order are shelf-stable for approximately seven months, depending on the sell-by date, however, because the grain is not freed of fats like processed food stamps.) Oily stains tend to come on leave the box when – or rather when – it comes out of the inner bag.]
Apart from the eating habits of the millennials, this new wave of cereals can not be marketed the same way Kellogg's power: their products are far more expensive as a box of frosted flakes.
Magic Spoon sells four boxes for $ 39 (or $ 1.39 per bowl), Catalina Crunch for $ 49 (or $ 2.45 per bowl) and cereal. The school's 24-bag bundles cost $ 49.99 US dollars (or $ 2.08). While all those subscribing to a monthly subscription offer discounts ranging from 5 to 20 percent, they are not in the same frame as the $ 3.64 family boxes that many Americans buy today at their local grocery stores or Wal-Mart stores to buy.