Today we are exploring the Best 80’s Cereal.
The 1980s were an incredible decade for all things American culture including some great freaking cereal. The movies, music, fashion, and more from the 80s still permeates today’s global cultural consciousness.
But how hazy is your memory when it comes to the varieties of breakfast cereal from this decade? Throughout the decades beginning with 60 and 70, cereal marketing was more or less stagnant. But the years from 80 to 89 marked a cultural reset in so many different areas, the cereals from this decade would champion new varieties, mascots, and advertising.
In this article, we’ve collected some of the best 80s cereals to take you down memory lane.
Smurf Berry Crunch
Smurf Berry Crunch, a Post cereal, was a great example of a cereal carried by its colorful mascot. Made from corn, oats, and wheat, Smurf Berry Crunch boasted a multi-berry flavor, a delightful crunch, and 10 essential vitamins and minerals. It also came with prizes inside such as Smurf rub-on tattoos for any excited kid.
This cereal from General Mills was a corn-based crunch, featuring chocolate-coated marshmallows and nuts. Reminiscent of the common ice cream flavor of the same name, this cereal was the delight of any kid for whom it graced the breakfast table.
Powdered Donutz Cereal
This cereal, another from General Mills, was a three-grain cereal that reimagined Cheerios with a powdered sugar coating. Released in 1980, Powdered Donutz was also shelved alongside a Chocolate Flavor Donutz variant. Any kid lucky enough to collect three proofs of purchase could send the proof for a Duncan yo-yo!
Pac-Man cereal, reminiscent of today’s Lucky Charms, was a General Mills cereal featuring marshmallows in the shape of the game’s iconic protagonist to offset the cereal’s crunch. Colorful corn cereal matched the colors of each of Pac-Man’s ghost nemeses. Released in 1983, Pac-Man cereal also came with a potential neon camera as a reward for eating enough boxes.
This cereal, from Quaker, paired a crispy oat- and corn-based cereal with the handsome face of Mr. T himself on the box. Although the shape and crunch of this cereal resembled a simpler version of Cap’n Crunch, the promise of enclosed stickers of the champion himself was more than enough of a selling point.
Nerds cereal, from Ralston, had the novelty of a split box with a different flavor combination on each side, just like the candy! First released in 1985, hungry kids could choose their favorite between an orange and cherry variant, and a grape and strawberry version. Collecting enough proofs of purchase could earn a kid either a set of collectible Nerds pins or an exciting Nerds foam flyer.
Ice Cream Cones
Boasting 4 wholesome grains and 8 vitamins, this General Mills cereal was first released in 1987. This cereal was shaped like miniature ice cream cones with a crunch and came in vanilla or chocolate chip varieties. The Ice Cream Jones mascot, as well as the inclusion of gumballs in every box, made this cereal a hot commodity amongst any kid with a sweet tooth.
First released in 1988, this cereal imitated the popular doughnut chain by adding a crunch to glazed and chocolate varieties of its iconic three doughnut shapes: twists, holes, and rings. An avid kid could save up for a one of a kind Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal duffle bag.
This cereal was released in 1984, a year after the release of Star Wars Episode VI and long before any modern reboot. Providing 10 essential vitamins and minerals, this Kellogg’s creation contained wheat, oats, and corn-based cereal in 8 shapes guaranteed to provide a crunch. Curiously, these shapes don’t resemble the golden droid himself, but they were popular nonetheless!
Donkey Kong Junior
The 1983 sequel to the popular Donkey Kong cereal, this Ralston creation promised “WILD fruit flavor!” Crunchy banana-shaped cereal pieces mingled with red berry shaped ones, and a kid could add four free baseball cards to their collection by taking a box of this cereal off the grocery store shelf.
Advertised as containing E.T.’s favorite flavors (chocolate and peanut butter), this General Mills creation was an immense hit. The plucky alien himself graced the covers of these boxes, and accumulating enough proofs of purchase would put a lucky kid a long way towards an exclusive E.T. storybook album.
While the longtime favorite Rice Krispies can still be found on your local grocery store shelf today, this 1982 Kellogg’s classic was a crunch assuring mainstay of many pantries in the 80s. Colorful marshmallow bits brightened up each bowl of toasted rice cereal, making a delightful breakfast.
Nintendo Cereal System
Another Ralston creation, this cereal hit grocery stores around 1988. These split boxes might offer a fruity Super Mario Bros inspired blend on one side, and a berry-flavored Zelda blend on the other. This was the breakfast of choice for any true Nintendo junkie in the late 80s.
A Kellog’s creation, OJ’s were a rare example of citrus-flavored cereal. Although people caution against drinking milk and eating oranges today, this cereal was a beloved breakfast for many families during the 80s. This bright orange blend of crunchy O’s and puffs boasted the same amount of Vitamin C per serving as four ounces of orange juice!
This cereal is one of the more niches on this list, as this 1982 release never saw widespread sales in most grocery stores. Backed by the familiar faces of the intrepid PB and his loyal hound J, this cereal offered a seemingly delicious flavor combination.
A perplexing combination of fig newtons and mini wheat, these Kellogg’s products were targeted towards a perhaps more sensible demographic that wanted to reduce their morning sugar intake while preserving their morning cereal crunch. With no-nonsense claims of “no salt added” and “no artificial colors or flavors,” these wheat biscuits with raisin fillings were a popular choice upon their release in 1982.
This cereal from General Mills combined graham cereal, cocoa powder, and mini marshmallows for a delicious breakfast treat. While the box for S’mores Crunch made no claims of vitamins and minerals, this blend was sure to bring the fun of camping to the breakfast table.
Released at the start of the 80s, Waffelos were a delicious maple syrup flavored cereal. With their cowboy mascot and his guitar-slinging horse companion, this O-shaped cereal brought 8 essential vitamins (and iron!) to the palates of countless kids across the country. Each box also offered a decal of the friendly Waffelo Bill and his horse!
This General Mills creation brought together all-natural fruit flavors and a delicious crunch. Animal-shaped marshmallows tied together each bite of this family favorite, and each box included a pack of Rain-Blo bubble gum.
Breakfast with Barbie
This Ralston creation leveraged the iconic doll on the cover of a hot pink box to encourage young kids everywhere to eat four wholesome grains in every spoon-fed crunch. Natural fruit flavors and a yummy crunch brought this circular cereal to the top of many kids’ charts.
This uncharacteristically plain cereal was a Kellogg’s creation targeted more towards adults. Each flake offered iron, zinc, and various other vitamins (all with no cholesterol!) with every crunch. A blend of corn, oats, rice, and wheat brought this healthy staple together, perhaps popular amongst those ages 80 and up, or 80 and below.
Cap’n Crunch is still a favorite to this day. This Quaker cereal brought its signature crunch to a variety of flavors, including Cap’n Crunch Berry and Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch. With the slogan “Love that Crunch!”, Cap’n Crunch remains one of America’s most popular cereals to this day.
This General Mills cereal is the favorite of many a kid to this day. The signature crunch of this cereal, paired with real fruit juice, accompanied the classic rabbit mascot on each box. Each box of this cereal contained a pack of free M&M’s inside for added crunch!
Cocoa Pebbles cereal, from Post, is still a mainstay today. Any kid able to get their hands on this sitcom based cereal must have felt like a champion. Dipping your spoon into a bowl of this delicious cereal would be at minimum 80 percent delicious.
The crunch of this Kellogg’s cereal was hard to beat. The unique shape of this wheat puff cereal, alongside a signature honey flavor, resulted in a tasty crunch in every bite. Sales of this cereal were bolstered by its cheerful baseball cap toting frog mascot.
We hope that this overview of popular cereals from the 80s has brought you on a trip down memory lane. May every crunch of today’s iterations of classic cereals bring a smile to your face!