Never has the adage “you don’t know how good it is till it’s gone” been more relevant when discussing bygone breakfast cereals. Naturally, they were some of the tastiest, sweetest morning vittles around, and the phantom taste of their processed sugar and artificial dyes forever haunts our taste buds. Many glorious brands have fallen over the years, but here’s our five picks for delicious discontinued cereals that put the likes of Fruity Pebbles and Capn’ Crunch to bitter shame!
5) Dino Pebbles
It was around 2010 when Post released Marshmallow Pebbles to the public, adding—as the name clearly implied—marshmallow pieces to their already sugary sweet cereal. Certainly the youth of that generation enthusiastically gobbled it up with gusto, but for those of us with childhoods post-1985, it failed to satisfy our hunger for Dino Pebbles. In theory Marshmallow Pebbles was supposed to be Dino Pebbles’ modern equivalent, except that the rice pieces lacked the incomparable vanilla graham flavor of the original. We admired Post's effort, thought it did nothing to stop our pining for the stuff. Don’t worry about us, though, we’ll just cry ourselves to sleep.
4) Spider-Man Cereal
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Ralston was the grocery store god-king of cereals based on licensed franchises—everything from Ghostbusters to characters from the Sunday funny pages greeted us on the box each morning. And with Marvel at the top of its merchandising game in the mid-‘90s, Ralston unveiled Spider-Man Cereal: A tasty medley of sweetened web-shaped pieces (they bore an uncanny resemblance to Chex) and marshmallows vaguely resembling Spidey's supporting characters. Of them, the Kingpin—one of the most powerful crime lords in Marvel comics—is by far the oddest. By that logic, nothing should prevent Lucky Charms from adding Al Capone or Clyde Barrow marshmallows.
3) Hidden Treasures
By and large, cereal pieces are typically flat, round, hollow, or frosted, never deviating from this status quo. But sometimes when you want to make your presence known on the store shelf, you have to embrace a little anarchy. Hidden Treasures was a rarity in that they were one of the few cereals to introduce pieces with an actual filling. And, by gosh, it was one of the greatest cereals of the ‘90s or any other generation! To put its taste in perspective, try to imagine the sweet taste of corn complimenting the tang of fruit filling comparable to the flavor of Flinstones vitamins. Truly a product of its time.
2) Pop-Tarts Crunch
Ever have one of those days when putting a Pop-Tart in the toaster is simply too much work? If so, that's sad, but the ‘90s had the lazy children of the world covered with Pop-Tarts Crunch. And let us be the ones to tell you that the cereal was as close as one could get to the actual flavor of Pop-Tarts—without the oral third degree burns that come with biting into a piping hot toaster pastry. Sadly, like nearly every cereal of the ‘90s, Pop-Tarts Crunch came and went without so much as a goodbye or note on our nightstand. Fortunately, we currently have Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps to fill the empty void of nostalgia. Try putting those in a bowl of milk!
1) Sprinkle Spangles
Sprinkle Spangles hit shelves around 1994 with commercials airing constantly in between after-school cartoons on—believe it!—broadcast television. Trumpeting its sugar cookie flavor and rainbow sprinkles, it’s a forgone conclusion that we victoriously spiked boxes of Sprinkle Spangles into our parents’ shopping carts as if we scored a winning touchdown. Back at home, it took one spoonful for us to realize that it was the cereal to end all cereals! It didn’t taste like sugar cookies—it practically was sugar cookies! The milk left behind in the bowl? Sweet, sweet nectar. And like Pop-Tarts Crunch, Sprinkle Spangles was pulled almost within the same year. Probably due to the immediate spike in juvenile diabetes.
What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?