Cheerios Adds ‘Ancient Grains’ to its Cereal Mix

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Soggy cereal sales have prompted General Mills to think outside the box. The company is introducing a new variety of its flagship cereal next month. Cheerios + Ancient Grains will include hints of quinoa, Kamut wheat and spelt.

According to Quartz, the popularity of such supergrains as quinoa has skyrocketed in recent years and Cheerios is hoping to capitalize on that.

“This is likely to appeal to the many U.S. consumers who perceive these grains as healthier than wheat,” Quartz said.

Calling the new cereal Cheerios + Ancient Grains is a bit of a misnomer. NPR explains:

No one seems to know who first came up with the term “ancient grains.” It certainly has little basis in history or botany. Spelt or quinoa or millet aren’t older than oats or regular wheat; they’re just more hard to find, and they’ve been relatively neglected by crop breeders.

General Mills is hoping that adding cereals like Cheerios + Ancient Grains and its Cheerios Protein varieties will help boost its cereal sales. Quarts reported that GM’s sales are down 3 percent from 2013, and the company recently experienced a quarterly net profit drop of 37 percent.

“Our first priority for U.S. retail this year is investing in cereal for growth,” General Mills chief operating officer Jeff Harmening said on the company’s Dec. 17 earnings call.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, overall cereal sales have slumped in the U.S. They’re expected to plunge to $9.7 billion this year from $14 billion in 2000. The CSM said the gluten-free diet trend and traces of the Atkins diet craze have helped drive consumers away from cereal.

In another effort to appeal to more consumers, GM also brought back the popular French Toast Crunch, which was discontinued in 2006, the CSM said.

I grew up eating cereal for breakfast nearly every day. My husband did, too, and he’s still a cereal fanatic. My kids eat cereal dry as a snack, but rarely eat a bowl of cereal with milk in the morning. I’m looking forward to trying Cheerios + Ancient Grains.

Do you think the new Cheerios and other added varieties will help boost General Mills’ sales? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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