Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a breakfast cereal produced by General Mills. When it debuted in 1984, the cereal pieces were cinnamon-flavoured squares that resembled miniature versions of popular coffee cakes such as Danish and bear claws. The cereal was designed to compete with the Cinnamon Life brand of Kellogg’s.
The product has undergone several reformulations since its introduction, including changing to a more traditional shredded wheat format in 1993, then back to squares in 2015. Several limited edition varieties have also been produced over the years for holidays and other special events.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch product and changes
In May 2018, General Mills announced that they would be bringing back both the original square format and the holiday shapes for a limited time beginning in October 2018, due to popular demand from consumers.
In 1984, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch product was introduced to United States consumers. In 1993, General Mills changed from a square shape to a more shredded wheat-like format in response to requests from mothers who found the squares too difficult for young children to eat. In 2003, General Mills added two new varieties: “French Vanilla” and “Cinnamon Burst”. Later that year, French Vanilla was discontinued and replaced with another variety called “Honey Nut” (which also included nuts). Cinnamon Toast Crunch then returned to its original square format in 2015.
The cereal has been advertised using both claymation and cartoon mascots over the years. The first mascot of the brand was an animated striped breakfast food box named CinnaMon, which was used on the cereal’s packaging from 1984 to 1989.
The First House
The first in-house mascot of Cinnamon Toast Crunch was a clay figure called the “Chairman”, who appeared as a piece of cinnamon-flavoured toast sitting on a real wooden chair, with his name written at the bottom of the box. His purpose was to persuade consumers that eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch would make them feel like part of a family breakfast, since eating it while sitting on a chair is what “normal” families do. In TV commercials he always sat at one end of the table and talked about how good it felt to eat this cereal during an ordinary breakfast – except that he himself wasn’t actually eating any – not even his own. He was shown in a kitchen setting with an unseen family and was voiced by Arthur Burghardt in the original commercials and Charlie Adler in 2006.
The Parent’s Complaints
In 2006, in response to complaints by parents about these in-house mascots being too frightening for children, General Mills introduced new “spokesthings” called the Sweetie Pies that were intended to replace them. The ladies’ names are Cyndi (a little girl who is often shown wearing roller skates), Millie (a teenage girl), and Jojo (an infant boy). They would offer their opinions on whether or not it’s appropriate to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch at different times of day: for example, Jojo would declare it okay to eat for breakfast and snacks, while Millie would insist it was only for dessert. The Trix rabbit also commented on this new advertising campaign, as he usually did whenever a cereal targeted towards kids changed its mascots.
In addition to being sold in standard-sized boxes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is available in “King”- and “Bulk”-sized packages (these are similar to how Chex cereals are packaged). In the United States, General Mills also makes single-serving sized cups of cinnamon toast crunch out of cereal pieces shaped like little slices of bread; these were formerly made using the previous square format before 2015 when they switched back to their original shredded wheat flavour shape (however, French Toast Crunch still uses this popular crisped rice shape).