C is for cereal, as General Mills launches Sesame Street products
Sesame Street cereals with letter and number shapes are the latest “what took them so long?” products set to hit shelves.
The line from General Mills comes as cereal sales have risen sharply during the pandemic.
The “C is for Cinnamon” cereal includes letter-shaped pieces and has a box featuring Cookie Monster and Elmo. The “1 2 3 Berry” number-shaped cereal showcases Elmo and Abby Cadabby on the box. No word on where the Count is, but Elmo and Abby Cadabby are newer characters more likely to resonate with the target audience of young kids.
There are not currently plans for "Sesame Street" characters to interact with the cereal on the show. And, for now, there are also no plans for TV spots. The brand will largely be promoted with shopper marketing managed by ShopperWorks.
The back of the box opens up like a book, with English and Spanish short stories that feature Elmo doing things such as visiting a farm and going to school.
Both versions are due to hit stores in January. General Mills is promoting the debut of the line as being a low-cost option for families, as a serving of cereal made with low-fat milk costs 50 cents, on average.
Cookie Crisp is also made by General Mills, so perhaps there’s hope for a Cookie Monster crossover. However, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street,” keeps nutrition in mind when promoting products—and Cookie Crisp has more sugar than the new Sesame Street cereal line.
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, and that means nourishing the mind and body,” Gabriela Arenas, VP of licensing, North America, Sesame Workshop, said in a statement, calling Sesame Street cereal “a nutritious meal choice.”
Cookie Monster is featured in another food and beverage industry ad that includes cookies, though. The character promotes Lactaid milk with Sutton Foster in videos that launched in September.
“C is for Cinnamon” looks a bit like Alpha-Bits, which was introduced by Post in 1957, a dozen years before “Sesame Street” made its TV debut.
Strength in cereal
The debut of Sesame Street cereals comes as many cereal lines have been strong sellers during the pandemic. The pace of cereal sales growth has moderated somewhat since the spring, when people rushed to stock up on packaged food, but the overall U.S. cereal industry is still up year over year.
In October, GlobalData raised its U.S. cereal sales forecast for 2020 because of consumers eating more meals at home, calling for sales of $12 billion, up $1.2 billion from 2019 and $1.1 billion higher than prior projections for this year.
In the four weeks ended Nov. 15, U.S. cereal sales were up 5.1%, Stifel analyst Christopher Growe said in a research note, citing data from IRI. “Coming into this period of increased consumption due to the pandemic, cereal sales had been running down 1% or so,” Growe wrote.
At General Mills, U.S. cereal sales jumped 10% in the quarter that ended in late August. Rival Kellogg Co. reported U.S. retail sales that rose nearly 6% in the quarter that ended in late September—but its overall North American cereal sales rose just 0.6%, with declines in foodservice. Post Holdings’ North America cereal sales fell 3.2% in the latest quarter, as growth in its branded products was offset by declines in businesses including private label.