Cheerios, Now with Quinoa

By Mike Pomranz |
FWX ANCIENT GRAINS CHEERIOS

© General Mills

Ancient grains are going mainstream in your morning cereal bowl. Starting in 2015, Cheerios will have some new, but very old ingredients, getting in on a trend that saw 50 percent growth just last year.

Cheerios + Ancient Grains, as the product will be called, contains not only the oats that Cheerios has been known for since it debuted as CheeriOats in 1941, but will also include quinoa clusters, Kamut khorasan and spelt. Alan Cunningham, marketing manager for innovation in General Mills’ cereal division, which owns Cheerios, claims the move means “Cheerios will be the first large cereal brand to bring [ancient grains] to the mainstream.”

For decades, Cheerios was about as simple as it gets in the cereal aisle, with Honey Nut Cheerios finally spicing things up a bit in 1979. But recently, General Mills has been willing to push its O’s in all sorts of directions, whether it meant elaborate new flavors—like Banana Nut or Cinnamon Burst—or following health trends, including debuting Cheerios Protein earlier this year.

Interestingly, even as Cheerios adds these ostensibly healthy ingredients to its cereal—quinoa, for example, is incredibly high in protein, Kamut is associated with lower cholesterol and blood sugar—the resulting O’s will have some drawbacks. Cheerios + Ancient Grains actually contains a gram less fiber and four grams more sugar than regular Cheerios. Apparently, General Mills thinks we left ancient grains behind millennia ago because they didn’t taste so palatable without an extra sugar kick.

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