- General Mills is diving further into the indulgent cereal space with the debut of Dippin' Dots cereal, a product inspired by the flash-frozen ice cream of the same name, according to Elite Daily.
- The dry cereal, which comes in banana split and cookies and cream flavors, is available at Walmart stores in 18-ounce family size boxes for $3.64. The product also can be purchased online via Amazon for $14.99 per box.
- Dippin' Dots cereal is the latest in a string of sugary morning food innovations from General Mills, including Lucky Charms Frosted Flakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch shredded wheat.
As millennials continue to reject dry cereal in favor of more nutritious and convenient morning foods such as yogurt, protein bars and smoothies, cereal titans are shifting their strategy. At first, companies including General Mills, Kellogg and Post worked to clean up their cereal brands and offer protein-rich, high fiber varieties aimed at health-conscious consumers. This didn't seem to pique enough consumer interest, so manufacturers doubled down on a different playbook — nostalgia and indulgence.
This strategy likely stems from the fact that many young consumers no longer eat cold cereal at breakfast. Instead, it's often consumed as a midday or late-night snack or dessert. By rolling out increasingly sweet varieties, cereal giants are able to play on the fondness of consumers for the sugar cereals of their childhood — or give them the chance to indulge in products they weren't allowed to eat when they were younger.
When examining the larger food landscape, this strategy seems counterproductive. Consumers are turning away from sugar in droves as fears about the ingredient's impact on health and hyperactivity in children permeate the United States' mainstream shopper base. This sentiment has crippled the soda industry and pushed other categories such as snacks, candy and even ice cream to invest in R&D that can slash their sugar levels while maintaining the sweet flavor and tastes customers crave.
But when it comes to cereal, shoppers don't seem to feel guilty about eating a bowl of Oreo O's cereal or Lucky Charm's Frosted Flakes even if they strive to keep the rest of their meals fresh, nutritious and low on sugar. It's an important lesson for the category, and one that other segments should take note of: just because shoppers embrace a dominant eating behavior, doesn't mean there aren't exceptions. And as the cereal industry has found, those exceptions can give companies a lucrative path to growth.
Time will tell if this tactic is able to contribute to long-term growth. Manufacturers would be wise to play up nostalgia and novelty factors to lure adult consumers, rather than children, which has been the traditional approach. Today's parents consider nutritional value to be the most important attribute in their kids' food, and six in 10 adults limit their children's sugar intake.