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80s Cereal- A Taste Of Nostalgia

by Kathy

In the 1980s, Breakfast Cerals and other sugary breakfast cereals were popular in the United States. After the rise of obesity and diabetes, they have all but disappeared from our culture. This is a discussion of the history of Breakfast Cereals in America, some of the more popular cereals, and how to make your own Breakfast Cereal.


Breakfast Cereals in 1980s

Cereal was considered a nutritious breakfast food in the 80s. It was much easier to prepare than hot breakfast foods such as oatmeal, and it had a longer shelf life so it was often eaten days after it was originally purchased. As a result, it became a popular breakfast food for those who were on the run.

Breakfast Cereals were heavily marketed to children and adults alike. They often contained artificial flavors and colors which masked their unappealing appearance, and many cereals contained large amounts of sugar and fat. These weren’t the same cereals we see today, though there were some similarities. In today’s world, you could think of these as energy bars or something similar to that. Here is a breakdown of some Breakfast Cereals from the 1980s:



Cap’n Crunch

Famous for its crunchy texture, this cereal was created by Quaker Oats in 1963 and features Cap’n Crunch as the cereal’s mascot wearing an Admiral’s uniform instead of a naval uniform because Quaker Oats didn’t want any association with the Navy at that time because they wanted to promote their cereal as being good for kids’ diets but wouldn’t want to promote that it would help them join the Navy if they ate it.


Apple Jacks

Introduced in 1987, this cereal features a red and green apple flavored cereal with the word “Jacks” written inside of an apple on the box. The mascot is named Apple Jacks and has a pirate theme to it. It is manufactured by Post Foods. The mascot was originally created for a different Post cereal but was later used for Apple Jacks. This cereal is very similar to Fruit Loops, but it has a different taste to it.


Cinnamon Toast Crunch



One of the most popular cereals from the 1980s, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was first introduced in 1984 and is manufactured by General Mills. It features bright red and orange pieces of cinnamon flavored cereal that are shaped like little squares on the box and are known as “Crunch Berries”. The mascot for this cereal is Cap’n Crunch’s nephew named Cinnamon Toast Crunch who wears an explorer’s hat instead of an Admiral’s uniform like his uncle. Like his uncle, he has a ship called the S.S. Guppy which is shaped like an anchor instead of sailing ship because his uncle’s ship was called the S.S. Sea Captain which was considered too risque at that time.


Froot Loops

Introduced in 1963, this cereal features bright green and yellow pieces of a fruit flavored cereal that look like little circles on the box. The mascot for this cereal is Toucan Sam who wears a sailor’s outfit instead of an explorer’s hat because he was originally supposed to be a character in Cap’n Crunch but was later scrapped. He has a ship called the S.S. Fruit which is shaped like a watermelon because it is supposed to be really fast like how watermelons float on the water and don’t sink, unlike apples which do sink and are not as fast. This was originally called “Fruit Triangles” until the name was changed in 1987 due to potential legal issues with the “Triangle K” convenience store chain.



This was one of the first “healthy” cereals on the market because it contained whole grain oats instead of sugary white flour, corn syrup, or rice syrup. It was first introduced in 1973 by Quaker Oats and features two cartoon characters named Mr. Peanut and Mr. Grape who are sitting on top of a giant peanut with arms and legs wearing astronaut suits with jet packs that they refer to as “Spacemen”. This is the cereal that was featured in the movie “The Road to Wellville”.



Oatmeal Crisp

Introduced in 1987 by Quaker Oats, this cereal features a honey flavored oat pieces with a swirl of cinnamon and brown sugar on the box. The mascot for this cereal is called Mr. Oatmeal who wears a biker outfit and rides on a motorcycle with an oatmeal bowl helmet. This cereal was discontinued in 2004.


Rice Krispies

This was one of the first cereals on the market and was originally made by Kellogg’s in 1927 and features colorful pieces of rice made into little squares on the box. The mascots are Snap, Crackle, and Pop who wear fireman uniforms because they were originally named after the sound that rice makes when it pops when it’s cooked (Snap), when it’s being fried (Crackle), or when it’s being burnt (Pop) because they were based off of an advertising campaign from Kellogg’s for Rice Flakes which had a similar theme to that. They have their own firehouse called “The Firehouse” which is shaped like a cupcake because they wanted something sweet but it was too hard to come up with something that is sweet and also related to fire so they went with the next best thing which was a cupcake.


Sugar Frosted Flakes

Introduced in 1963, this cereal features very sugary pieces of white flaked cereals with the word “Frosted” written inside of a frosting swirl on the box. The mascot is Tony the Tiger who wears a Red (formerly Blue) football jacket instead of a fur coat because he was originally supposed to be an NFL mascot but was later changed to promote Frosted Flakes. This cereal is very similar to Wheaties.

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