The Return of French Toast Crunch
For those who recall the sweet, syrupy taste of French Toast Crunch cereal from their childhood, listen up. In an announcement on December 8, General Mills declared that it would be bringing back French Toast Crunch, which was sold in U.S. stores from 1995 to 2006, when it was discontinued. Starting this month, French Toast Crunch will be back on the shelves of grocery stores across the nation. Cereal lovers will no longer have to pay marked up prices to ship French Toast Crunch over from Canada! This transaction was more common than one would think, given that the cereal has always remained in stock there. On eBay, for instance, French Toast Crunch was being sold for as much as $25 per box. The cereal was also being sold on reddit’s Snack Exchange, where people can advertise and exchange foods that are only available in certain countries. As reported by one considerate reddit user after General Mills’s announcement on December 8, however, “[Non-Exchange] French Toast Crunch is back!” So, what prompted General Mills to bring French Toast Crunch back after over eight years? As General Mills explained in a press release, the company was motivated by the “passionate fans [who] created a ‘Bring French Toast Crunch Back’ Facebook page, gathered thousands of online petition signatures, and contacted the General Mills customer service center in droves with calls and e-mails.” Adam Chandler, reporting for The Atlantic, pointed out that French Toast Crunch was discontinued at a time when U.S. political relations with France were tense and is now being rereleased as the U.S. and France are becoming stronger allies. The general consensus among publications such as StarTribune, Investor’s Business Daily, and Business Insider, however, is that General Mills is attempting to boost cereal sales and divert customers away from popular alternatives like Greek yogurt and breakfast sandwiches. In summation, it is likely that the resurrection of French Toast Crunch was the result of both consumers’ demands and an attempt to boost cereal sales by playing on nostalgia. In short, General Mills is calling in the big guns in a desperate attempt to stay on your breakfast table. Though the rerelease of French Toast Crunch has recently gained a lot of attention in the media, General Mills wasn’t the first company to release a throwback food product. As Time pointed out, Coca-Cola recently brought back Surge, Mars revived Crispy M&M’s, and Burger King even renewed Crispy Fries and the Yumbo hoagie. All three companies were motivated by similar reasons as General Mills—to increase sales and boost profits. But has this been a successful move for the aims of those companies? How can we predict how General Mills will compare? For Coca-Cola, the decision to sell Surge exclusively through and using only social media marketing has allowed them to test out a different method of sales and marketing. Similarly, Burger King has been playing on consumers’ nostalgia by selectively bringing favorite foods out of retirement and using 1970s-style imagery on its social media accounts—since the Yumbo hoagie was served back in the 1970s. As for General Mills, Investor’s Business Daily predicted how the reintroduction of French Toast Crunch would affect the company’s dividend stocks and annual profits. As its analysts explained, General Mills’s annual profits gains have declined to the single digits over the past four years, but profits are predicted to rise by 1% in the fiscal year 2015 and by 7% in 2016. For now, we can take solace in the fact that companies like General Mills are on our side. Sellers want to increase consumer demand and profits, and they are willing to meet the requests of their loyal consumers in the process. A long-term evaluation will be necessary to determine whether the business strategy of bringing back old favorites will be successful in the long run for companies like General Mills. But for now, we can sit back and wait with a tasty bowl of French Toast Crunch.

  • Richard

    I agree. A wise businessman in the Caribbean named Sir Kyffin Simpson always said that the key to success is progression and humility, and clearly he’s done very well for himself as a self made man!

  • John Andrews

    The Airgain IPO launches this week, and they’re a one-brand company.

    Some investors don’t think it’s a good stock though:

  • Cincinnati World Cinema

    Well said, Joe, and worth rereading on a regular basis! Another advantage of small-to-midsize city living is pace and competition. Living in NYC, LA and SF entailed a hectic pace, hallmarked by capital S striving, as one realized there were a ton of others doing what I do. Spending so much time in one’s car in SoCal meant much less time for quality pursuits and pleasures. A smaller pond with relaxed pace allows one to savor life and special moments.

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