25 Childhood Cereals We Wish They'd Bring Back
Cereal has had a spot at the breakfast table for decades, but long-time favorites like Cheerios and Frosted Flakes are the exception, not the rule. So many cereals have come and gone from store shelves that most of the varieties we loved as kids are just a hazy memory. Ready to reminisce? Here are the 25 cereals of the '60s, '70s, and '80s that we'd most like to see get a reboot.
Children of the '80s were spoiled with a ton of sugary cereals that would never make it onto store shelves today. Case in point: Ralston's Dunkin' Donuts cereal, available in both chocolate and glazed. It was even hawked by none other than Fred the Baker, known for his catchphrase, "Time to make the donuts!"
We're pining for the days when "little marshmallows with a chocolatey, nutty coating mixed with vanilla and chocolatey puffs" really were part of a complete breakfast. Rocky Road, a General Mills cereal from the mid-'80s, also had a super-cute troupe of three mascots: the hard-rocking Choco (a chocolate puff), Van (a vanilla puff), and Marsha (a chocolate-covered marshmallow).
Boil the '80s down to a video game, and it may well be Pac-Man. Boil the '80s down to a cereal, and it may well be Pac-Man, too. General Mills' Pac-Man cereal popped up in grocery stores in 1983, featuring round, Kix-like sweetened corn pieces with Pac-Man-shaped marshmallows. A couple years after its debut, a Ms. Pac-Man marshmallow joined the party with her "shocking pink bow."
Kellogg's Concentrate proves that even the healthier, less flashy cereals of days gone by have their fans, too — it's in the top 10 of Mr. Breakfast's All-Time Greatest Cereals. Introduced in 1959, it was on store shelves into the '70s and aimed to provide a ton of vitamins and nutrients in every bite. The tiny flakes expanded so much in milk that a serving amounted to only a couple of tablespoons.
It's only natural there was a Cracker Jack cereal, introduced by Ralston in 1983. A commercial touted the "cracklin' crunchy puffs of incredibly colossal caramel taste" while adorable kiddos greeted the morning with sit-ups and a casual jog around the yard. But the biggest draw, of course, was the prize in every box.
You can still find Quaker Quisp online, but good luck hunting it down in person. It's a shame because this popular cereal of the '60s and '70s takes the top spot in Mr. Breakfast's All-Time Greatest Cereal Poll, even beating No. 2 Frosted Flakes. From its adorable pink alien mascot to the sweet, crunchy corn pieces shaped like saucers, Quisp deserves a spot on grocery shelves once again.
Quisp wasn't the only cereal with an out-of-this-world mascot. Kellogg's hopped on the "Star Wars" mania bandwagon in 1984 with C-3PO's. Billed as a "crunchy new force at breakfast," the slightly sweet, double-O pieces were made of oats, wheat, and corn and tasted similar to Alpha-Bits, according to cereal fans.
One trip down memory lane courtesy of an old Waffelos commercial will have you pining for this syrup-flavored Ralston creation, which debuted in 1979 and lingered until the mid-'80s. Waffelo Bill and his horse were pretty adorable, but fans say there was nothing quite like the maple-butter flavor of Waffelos, which also managed to stay crunchy in milk.
"Pass the Buc Wheats!" This General Mills offering was a staple on breakfast tables throughout the 1970s and early '80s. It's among the healthier cereals we're still pining for, but even though it was touted as a nutritious breakfast, the crispy, buckwheat flakes were jazzed up with a maple-flavored coating that made it crave-worthy.
It's hard not to have a soft spot for the first-ever Muppet cereal. Made by Post, Croonchy Stars debuted in 1988 and featured none other than the zany Swedish Chef. It was discontinued a year later, possibly doomed by its soggy cinnamon taste. Still, the entertaining boxes make it worth a comeback as they were designed by Jim Henson himself. Bork bork bork!
An online petition to bring back Kaboom has more than 2,100 signatures, proving this General Mills cereal still has impassioned fans. Made up of smiley-face corn pieces and marshmallows shaped like stars, it hit shelves in 1969 and remained popular through the '70s and '80s. "There was enough artificial coloring in Kaboom to make you literally poop out rainbows," one columnist remembers. Say no more, sir, and sign us up.
You can still find General Mills favorites like Count Chocula and Franken Berry on store shelves around Halloween, but one member of the monster-cereal family no longer joins the party: Yummy Mummy. Available in the late '80s and early '90s, Yummy Mummy had fruit-flavored cereal and vanilla-flavored marshmallows shaped like monsters or bats, and it made our "tummy go yummy" indeed.
If you were a '70s kid, you may have started your day with a bowl of Freakies. This Ralston cereal debuted in 1973 with simple, sweet, Cheerio-like rings. It also benefited from ingenious marketing, with a slew of monster mascots who lived in a "Freakies Tree" that supplied them with nonstop cereal. Freakies disappeared after about five years but briefly reappeared about a decade later — this time, with honey-flavored spaceships and colorful monster marshmallows.
By today's more health-conscious standards, it's hard to believe Nerds cereal ever existed. But exist it did, in its unabashedly sugary glory, with food coloring so intense that it could reportedly turn kids' poop red. Introduced by Ralston in 1985, each box actually contained two sleeves of flavored cereal — either orange and cherry, or grape and strawberry. "Which side are you gonna eat first?" the commercial asked. We'll tell you when we recover from our sugar coma.
The best part of eating Post's Pink Panther Flakes, introduced in the early '70s, was watching the food coloring from this sugar-coated, neon pink cereal turn your milk pink. Of course, it was also hard to resist its eponymous mascot, the star of a long-running Saturday morning cartoon. An old Pink Panther Flakes commercial even riffed on the show's famous theme song.
Sing it with us: "Smurf Berry Crunch is fun to eat ... a Smurfy, fruity breakfast treat!" It was only a matter of time before the Smurfs, a Saturday morning cartoon staple of the '80s, were granted their own cereal. Made of fruit-flavored corn, wheat, and oat pieces shaped like flowers, Smurf Berry Crunch eventually spawned a spin-off: Smurf Magic Berries with marshmallows.
Sold in the '50s and '60s, Post's Sugar Rice Krinkles was basically a sweeter version of Rice Krispies, but the cereal's Asian mascot, So-Hi, would never pass muster among advertising executives today. Post eventually pulled the plug, but used Sugar Rice Krinkles as a base for Fruity Pebbles, introduced in 1970.
Sure, Ice Cream Cones may not have been the most nutritious breakfast choice, but we would still love to see this proudly sugary cereal back on store shelves. Made up of Kix-like spheres and adorable cones, it came in two flavors: vanilla and chocolate chip. The mascot was "Ice Cream Jones," a soda jerk who made it his mission to sugar up kids.
Crispy Wheats 'n Raisins was one of those rare cereals that really did stay crispy in milk. A General Mills cereal that first hit store shelves in 1979, it was positioned as an alternative to "soggy raisin bran." It had a great run, lingering for at least two decades. Devastated fans still implore General Mills for its return.
Phone home if you remember this box of peanut butter and chocolate goodness. Introduced in 1984, E.T. cereal from General Mills was a given after the massive popularity of Steven Spielberg's film "E.T." Its flavors were inspired by the lovable alien's famous fondness for Reese's Pieces.
Rice Honeys only became Rice Honeys in the mid-'50s. Before then, this Nabisco cereal was known as Ranger Joe Rice Honnies. In the '70s, there were two more name changes: first to Winnie-the-Pooh Great Honey Crunchers, then to Klondike Pete's Crunchy Nuggets. Whatever you called them, we miss the sugary puffed rice pieces flavored with honey. The cereal even got its own shout-out on "Howdy Doody" and a limited-edition box promoting The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" album in 1969 fetched some serious cash at auction a few years back.
There was a lot going on in each box of Circus Fun, a General Mills cereal from the mid-'80s. There were fruit-flavored hoops and balls and several kinds of animal-shaped marshmallows. We're just jealous that the characters didn't parade into our room each morning like in the cereal's commercial — though we admit that the clown mascot was just a little bit creepy.
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