From a time period ranging from the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I called the (available) monster cereals the “Holy Trinity of Cereals”. Count Chocula was basically Coco Puffs with marshmallows and the berries, Frank and Boo, were unique (name me another fake strawberry or blueberry flavored cereal) with a fairly intense, if unnatural, fruity flavor.
At some point, I strayed away from cereal for breakfast (have you had Nutella and peanut butter toast? You won’t eat cereal anymore, either) occasionally going back to the Holy Trinity around Halloween, when they were easy to find. At some point I noted a decrease in quality or maybe a poor memory of what I used to eat. The oat pieces became way too light and airy and the marshmallow to cereal ratio went from a perfect 60/40 (in favor of cereal) to what now feels like a 75/25 ratio. Regardless of what my memory told me was a downgrade from what I knew and loved, continuing to eat a box of each a year was a nice treat and helped to make the Halloween time of year much more Halloweeny.
October 2013 has come and gone and this year General Mills didn’t just release the Holy Trinity, but they brought back two blasts from the past in Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute (now spelled Frute Brute for one reason or another). Yummy Mummy was on store shelves from 1987 to 1993 and Fruit Brute went from 1975 to 1984. You are forgiven if you don’t remember either of these because I sure didn’t, either. I was 2 when they stopped making Fruit Brute and I can honestly say I don’t remember 1987 to 1993, I’m sure I blocked those years out as I went through the pain and misery that was grade school.
I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to try both of the old-new Monsters as well as get my yearly fix of the Count, Frank and Boo. All five cereals share similar characteristics. The oat pieces are still way too light and airy when comparing to my memory of the cereals. Despite the light and airy feel, they rip up the roof of your mouth bad enough that it feels like you just ate a box of tacks. All the cereals also continue to have that poor marshmallow to cereal ratio and all the marshmallows have a consistency you’d expect if you’ve ever eaten Luck Charms or any other cereals with marshmallows.
The flavors for the Count, Frank and Boo have already been explained. They taste the same as they do every year, so if you’ve eaten them in the past 5 years, there’s nothing new to experience. The count is probably my favorite of the bunch because it still has a real good chocolate flavor and turns your milk into the best chocolate milk you’ve ever hard.
The flavors are less obvious for the ambiguously named Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute. The Mummy goes from an orange cream flavor and it’s fairly successful in achieving that with the flavored cereal pieces and then…. marshmallows. That’s right, there isn’t any flavor beyond plain old marshmallow here. Fruit Brute is a cherry flavored cereal with, again, plain marshmallows. It’s very similar to Frankenberry and Boo Berry in that it has the same overly sweet, fake fruit flavor. I don’t say that as a negative, because that’s what these cereals are going for, super duper sweet.
It’s somewhat disappointing to me that Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute are really much more so cereals inspired by their ancestors and not true remakes. Yummy Mummy was “Frosted-fruit flavored cereal” with vanilla flavored marshmallows and Fruit Brute was also the generic fruit favored cereal with lime flavored marshmallows. So the 2013 versions have changed the generic cereal bits to some sort of fruit-like flavor while making the marshmallows the generic portion, the opposite of their fore-fathers. I’d love to have tried the original formula, but General Mills probably felt it was a safer bet to cater to today’s tastes while playing on the nostalgia of the characters. It’s pretty unlikely anyone really remembers what they taste like, anyhow, so life moves on.
All 5 cereals are pretty good, as long as you like the flavors they are going for. If you like sugary, crunchy cereals, get them and love them If that’s never been your thing, these cereals aren’t going to give you some sort of epiphany and make you crave kids cereals. I wish the cereal bits were more dense and I wish there was a better marshmallow ratio, but all in all these cereals serve their purpose. They make you feel like a kid again, bringing back memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons in your PJ’s while eating an entire box. Outside of nostalgia, they taste like you’d expect a super-sweet cereal to. Grab a few boxes while you can, next Halloween is far away.
- Jessie: Unleashed On Halloween, Monster Cereals Haunt Hoarders : The Salt : NPR (npr.org)
- Halloween cereal review (frequentrarity.wordpress.com)
- Battle of the General Mills monster cereals (bizjournals.com)