a VERY long time ago — i would guess somewhere between 1964 and 1967, or thereabouts — i participated in a “market research study” (for which my parents, hopefully, got paid), where, over the course of a week or so, i would try various different dry cereals, and “potential” dry cereals — which they had produced, but hadn’t “hit the market” yet — without knowing anything about them, and rate them according to what i thought dry cereal should look and taste like.
i’m fairly sure i screwed up ALL of their data points, because i was a combination of three things, which severely skewed my personal experience of dry cereal. the first was that, when i was very small, there was a concern that i might be allergic to cows’ milk (which had been proven false, by the time this took place), and so, when i was learning which cereals i liked, i was only given cereals that could be eaten “without milk”… which, for some reason, meant various different kinds of oatmeal and grits… i wasn’t even given “cream of wheat” because it had the word “cream” in it, and, particularly, my mother was CONVINCED that it wouldn’t be good for me. the second was that my parents were “progressive”: not full-blown “hippies” (however, my dad did have long hair and a beard, but it wasn’t until the ’70s) but definitely not the standard fare for the time and place they were from, which was central illinois “corn country” in the mid-to-late ’60s. thus, they were CONVINCED that sugar was “bad”, so, as a result, when it was determined that dry cereal was “a thing”, i was only given ‘bland’ cereals, such as cheerios, kix, chex, puffed wheat, and grape nuts. by the time i was part of the survey, i was eating cows’ milk all the time, but i never liked “sugar frosted flakes”, “sugar smacks”, “chocolate frosted sugar bombs” or anything like that… and the third thing is that, when i was very small, i was forced to eat fruit at a time when i really DID NOT want to eat fruit, and, as a result, i developed a lifelong distaste for fruit, in general, and about 75% of the cereal that i tested was fruit flavoured, in some way or another.
i spent a few days trying, and rejecting about 95% of the “chocolate frosted sugar bombs” they offered me, primarily because they were so sweet that it overpowered any “cereal-like” taste there may have been.
however, there is one thing that i remember clearly, and that was that “they” (the people conducting the survey, who were, according to my interpretation, in a position to know these things) told me that there would NEVER be “chocolate cheerios”. they told me that the makers of cheerios were totally against making their cereal “pre-sweetened”, and if i saw chocolate cheerios on sale, it would mean the end of the world. cheerios was, by definition, NOT a “pre-sweetened” cereal.
over the years, they have come close… the closest they’ve gotten that i know about was “honey-nut cheerios”, which was “pre-sweetened”, but, because of the fact that it was, alledgedly, sweetened with honey, and not sugar, it was, alledgedly, “okay”…
however, when i came across this, yesterday… 😱