14 Breakfast Cereals from the ’90s That Have Been Discontinued Due to Unhealthy Ingredients

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If we could eat cereal for all our meals when we were young, we would all do it. From dazzling shapes to vibrant colors promoted by our favorite cartoon characters as mascots, breakfast cereals enticed everyone’s taste buds. However, many of these brands were soon discontinued due to the excess sugar and artificial coloring. These cereals were loaded with sugar and were soon reported by different groups and consumer bases for the adverse health benefits, resulting in their discontinuation. Here are 14 Breakfast Cereals from the ’90s discontinued due to unhealthy ingredients.  

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Oreo O’s

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Oreo biscuit ads are already captivating enough, with the tasty cookie and cream dunking right into the milk. When Post Cereals launched Oreo Os in 1998, it was a huge hit. However, despite offering the same chocolate cookie-like taste, this cereal was discontinued for its high sugar content. It was reported that these cereals were a significant cause of dental and obesity issues in children, eventually leading to the end of production.

Kellog’s Corn Pops

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Kellogg’s has a history of producing some of the most vibrant ads with cartoon characters to attract children. By using catchy lines such as “Gotta have my Pops!”  and “You can’t stop a corn popper popping more corn,” they promoted their corn pops as a healthy breakfast option. Famous for its honey flavor, this was soon discontinued because of its immense sugar content (36g per serving), facing criticism from health advocates.

French Toast Crunch

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French Toast Crunch by General Mills shaped their cereals in the form of mini-French toast pieces and aimed to deliver French Toast’s taste. Unfortunately, their recipe involved excess sugar syrup, which was not very good quality. Moreover, the artificial additives and flavors contributed to poor dietary habits. It was banned in the United States in 2006 and brought back in 2014, but it was again banned from many markets in 2023.

Ricicles

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Like Kellog’s Rice Krispies, the cereal Ricicles were puffed rice cereals but served with extra sugar. This sugary glaze made this cereal attractive to children, becoming one of the best-selling cereals in the 1990s. The coating transformed the cereal, but for the worse, as it eventually faced backlash, leading to its downfall in 2017. Repetitive protests by health advocates and various health campaigns pressured Kellogg’s to reduce the sugar content in these cereals. Rather than complying, Kellogg’s chose to discontinue this variant.

Fruity Pebbles Treat

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Another cereal from Post Consumer Brands, Fruity Pebbles Treat, was introduced to mimic the classic fruity pebbles cereal. Their strategy revolved around targeting children and busy individuals who could grab this go-to cereal for breakfast. The shape was rectangular and bar-shaped, coated with a marshmallow-like substance, giving it a vibrant and fruity twist. It was discontinued in 2018 after protests and complaints from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Action On Sugar. Facing difficulties in managing its marketing viability, Fruity Pebbles Treat decided to shut down for good.

Force Flakes

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Having a very close resemblance to Corn Flakes, the cereal Force Flakes dates back to 1901, introduced by C.W. Post. It was later taken up by Kellogg’s, who sold this as one of the first wheat cereals, promoting its health benefits that boosted energy. It used the character “Sunny Jim” as its mascot, targeting athletes and health-conscious customers. Unfortunately, complaints from the Center for Science in the Public Interest(CSPI)  stated that several complaints did not align with the minimum sugar content levels. Lowering this sugar level did not work for the product, and it was eventually discontinued in 2013.

Franken Berry Crunch

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Franken Berry Crunch was launched in 1998 by General Miller as a Halloween-themed cereal and was soon discontinued in 2001 due to its excessive sugar content. This was under the Monster Cereals lineup, which promoted its cereal using fun themes and popular monsters like Frankenstein. Monster Flakes was discontinued in 2014, and its relaunch was in 2103. The berry-flavoured cereals could not stand the test of time, receiving complaints for their lack of nutritional value. 

Trix Yogurt Blast

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Trix Yogurt Blast was discontinued in 2013 due to a vast change in consumer preferences and a decline in sales. The combination of juicy and fruity flavors, blended with a coating of yogurt mix, highly appealed to everyone. The cereal was fun and innovative but contained high amounts of sugar, approximately 20 grams per serving.

Fruits Islands

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With an attractive and unique name such as “Fruit Islands”, this cereal by General Mills featured a tropical theme fruity cereal. There were already potential health risks concerning the sugar content, but it faced backlash for including immense artificial flavors. The amounts ranged from Red 40 and Yellow 5, which raised concerns about allergies and hyperactivity in children.

General Mills Hidden Treasures

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Hidden Treasures lived up to its name, with every piece of the cereal containing different flavors. One cereal contained grapes, while the other ones contained cherry or orange. There were even some plain cereals, which made this a perfect surprise breakfast option. Unfortunately, the product only lasted five years since its launch in 1990 and had to be shut down. The product was relaunched with reduced sugar but did not live up to the hype anymore, sealing this cereal’s legacy.

Alpha-Bits

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Alpha-Bits were discontinued in May 2021 after nearly three decades of staying in the market. As the name suggests, these were alphabet-shaped oats and corn cereals marketed by their educational value. These were labeled as the perfect breakfast cereals as they taught little kids their letters playfully while eating. Nonetheless, after staying for so many years and constantly changing their sugar content, Alpha-Bits was discontinued. Post Consumer Brands announced their new strategy involving healthier cereal options, which would contribute towards the betterment of children.

Cinna-Crunch Pebbles

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Brands often use cartoon characters as their mascot to attract and lure children into buying their cereals. These brands have come under heavy criticism as they disregard the harmful effects of their sugary ingredients on children. Post used the Flintstones to promote Cinna Crunch Pebbles, which was launched in 1998 and eventually discontinued after only three years. A similar version of this was launched in 2017, but it did not perform well, unaware of the changing consumer base who prefer healthier options.

Cinnamon Mini Buns

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Cinnamon Mini Buns were launched in 1991 by Kellogg’s but were soon replaced by another name, Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Buns. Despite its initial popularity, the cereal lost its fanbase. While the reason may not primarily be unclean ingredients, lack of promotions and the emergence of other brands dwarfed its growth. Despite the reduction of artificial ingredients during the 2000s, they were eventually pulled off the shelves by 2009 for good.

Sprinkle Spangles

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The journey of the star-shaped cereals Sprinkle Spangles was short, lasting from 1993 to 1996. Sprinkle Spangles’ mascot was a playful and friendly Sprinkle Genie, voiced by the popular comedian Dom DeLuise. The celebration of Sprinkle Spangles was eventually discontinued because of its strong focus on sweetness towards the cereals and the additional showered sprinkles. The lack of proper marketing and tough competition from other cereal giants also led to its downfall.

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