Avisit to several supermar- ketslastmonth, not to men- tion the Kellogg’s website, has brought to my attention that Product 19, a cereal introduced
by the company nearly 50 years ago, is no
longer in distribution. Company officials say
that sales were simply not strong enough to
I am absolutely heartbroken.
While many consumers have moved
away from cereal as a
staple of their breakfast
regimens, I have not. I
view myself as a connoisseur of finer cereal
brands; Cheerios, Corn
Flakes, Frosted Flakes and
Rice Krispies are a big part
of my morning routine.
But Product 19 was a step
beyond. It was a breakfast,
lunch and even dinner
component for me and
my go-to solution for a meal on-the-run.
Not in the mood to whip up a meal? A bowl
of Product 19 was the solution. In a rush
to get out the door for an evening tennis
match? Product 19 was a quick snack.
I have four unopened boxes in my cupboard and will ration these for as long as I
can. Then what?
It should be noted that I went online to
find the cereal. With product in short supply, sellers are asking as much as three times
the price than when it was on store shelves.
I like Product 19 a lot, but not that much.
So let this column serve as my plea to
Kellogg’s officials to bring Product 19
back. It is simply a great product. I have
done other things as well, including visiting and commenting on a Facebook page
(more than 1,000 people have joined up)
devoted to bringing back the cereal. By the
way, I am now Facebook friends with Dana
from Las Vegas and Suzy from Iowa thanks
to this page.
But while my taste buds and my heart
beg for the return of this cereal, I understand why the brand has been discontinued. Today’s consumers are looking for
other alternatives when it comes to cereal,
either the indulgent sugary products or the
health-conscious varieties that seem to be
gaining steam with all cereal manufacturers.
Product 19 fell somewhere in the middle
in the battle for cereal market share. It does
not have as much sugar as some brands,
but it was also not viewed as healthy
enough to catch the attention of those
consumers who are looking for more fit
products. Plus, so I am told, the cereal’s
demographics were too old for today’s
marketers, who are focusing on products
for kids and Millennials.
CPG suppliers are in a never-ending battle to stay ahead of consumers’ changing
tastes and shopping habits. The cereal category is at the forefront of this battle and
suppliers are constantly churning out new
items and line extensions in the hopes that
they will bring more shoppers back to the
cereal aisle. Special K and Cheerios seem to
each have a new item added every season,
while other new products, especially items
targeted at kids, come out on a regular
It seems that Product 19 got caught up in
the middle of this battle, a victim of changing consumer shopping habits and the
battle for space on crowded store shelves.
When I pour that last flake into a bowl in a
few weeks, it will be an end of an era and a
sign of the times.
A PRODUCT OF THE TIMES
Kellogg’s Product 19 got lost between the sugary products and the health-conscious varieties that consumers seem
to be looking for from their RTE cereal.
By Seth Mendelson
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Seth Mendelson is publisher
and editorial director of Grocery