|Product type||Breakfast cereal|
|Owner||Quaker Oats Company|
Cap'n Crunch is a corn and oat breakfast cereal manufactured by Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo since 2001. After introducing the original cereal in 1963, marketed simply as Cap'n Crunch, Quaker Oats has since introduced numerous flavors and seasonal variations, some for a limited time—and currently offers a Cap'n Crunch product line.
The original Cap'n Crunch cereal was developed to recall a recipe of brown sugar and butter over rice. It was one of the first cereals to use an oil coating to deliver its flavoring, which required an innovative baking process. The taste has been described as similar to the UK and Ireland cereal Golden Nuggets.
Grandma would like to make this concoction with rice and the sauce that she had; it was a combination of brown sugar and butter. It tasted good, obviously. They'd put it over the rice and eat it as a kind of a treat on Sundays ...
—William Low, Pamela Low's brother
Pamela Low, a flavorist at Arthur D. Little, developed the original Cap'n Crunch flavor in 1963—recalling a recipe of brown sugar and butter her grandmother Luella Low served over rice at her home in Derry, New Hampshire.
Low created the flavor coating for Cap'n Crunch, describing it as giving the cereal a quality she called "want-more-ishness". After her death in 2007, The Boston Globe called Low "the mother of Cap'n Crunch". At Arthur D. Little, Low had also worked on the flavors for Heath, Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars.
In 1965, the Quaker Oats Company awarded the Fredus N. Peters Award to Robert Rountree Reinhart, Sr. for his leadership in directing the development team of Cap'n Crunch. Reinhart developed a technique in the manufacture of Cap'n Crunch, using oil in its recipe as a flavor delivery mechanism—which initially made the cereal difficult to bake properly.
Quaker Oats had a marketing plan for Cap'n Crunch, before it had developed the cereal. The product line is heralded by a cartoon mascot named Cap'n Crunch. Cap'n Crunch is depicted as a late 18th-century naval captain, an elderly gentleman with white eyebrows and a white moustache, who wears a Revolutionary-style naval uniform: a bicorne hat emblazoned with a "C" and a gold-epauletted blue coat with gold bars on the sleeves. While typically an American naval captain wears four bars on his sleeves, the mascot has been variously depicted over the years wearing only one bar (ensign), two bars (lieutenant), or three bars (commander).
Animated television commercials featured the adventures of Cap'n Crunch commanding the "good ship" Guppy on its sea voyages accompanied by his canine first mate Seadog and loyal crew of sailor children named Alfie, Dave, Brunhilde, and Carlyle. Jean LaFoote, "The Barefoot Pirate", often attacked the Guppy in order to steal its cargo of Cap'n Crunch cereal.
According to The Wall Street Journal (2013), the character, Horatio Magellan Crunch, captains a ship called the Guppy, and was born on Crunch Island, a magical island off the coast of Ohio and in the Sea of Milk—with talking trees, crazy creatures and a mountain (Mt. Crunchmore) made out of Cap'n Crunch cereal." The article refers to the Captain's bicorne as a "Napoleon-style" hat, and claims that this has led to speculation that he may be French.
Cap'n Crunch's original animated television commercials used the slogan, "It's got corn for crunch, oats for punch, and it stays crunchy, even in milk."
In 2013, sources including The Wall Street Journal and Washington Times noted that the three stripes on the mascot's uniform indicate a rank of Commander rather than the four that denote the rank of Captain. In jest, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Navy had no record of Crunch and that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) was investigating him for impersonating a naval officer.
Daws Butler provided the original voice of the Cap'n until his death in 1988. From 1991 to 2007, George J. Adams voiced him. Author Philip Wylie wrote a series of short stories, Crunch and Des, beginning in the 1940s, which featured a similarly named character, Captain Crunch Adams. The character was created by Allan Burns who later became known for co-creating The Munsters and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The commercials themselves were originally produced by Jay Ward Productions. Vinton Studios produced a claymation ad during the 1980s.
In the 1960s Cap'n Crunch cereal boxes came with whistles which coincidentally had the specific frequency required to exploit a vulnerability of in-band signaling enabling a phone to make free calls by entering an 'operator mode'. This was discovered by John Draper.
Jean LaFoote is a fictional pirate character from the Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal's character set. The character's name is wordplay on that of the historical pirate, Jean Lafitte. In the mid-1970s, he was the primary mascot for Jean LaFoote's Cinnamon Crunch cereal. LaFoote was originally voiced by Bill Scott.
In the 1980s, the Captain's main adversaries were the Soggies, strange alien creatures resembling blobs of milk, whose goal was to make everything on Earth soggy. The only thing that was immune was Cap'n Crunch cereal, and many ads revolved around their attempts to "soggify" the cereal and everything else, to no avail. Their leader, the Sogmaster (voiced by Dick Gautier), was a large mechanical creature (with a pair of eyes peeking out from an opening in the head, implying it was a suit of armor for a smaller figure) who was mostly seen ordering the Soggies to carry out his plans to "ruin breakfast"; several commercials that tied in with contests had story arcs involving the Sogmaster attempting to capture Cap'n Crunch.
- Cap'n Crunch: The original Cap'n Crunch cereal is made of sweetened, yellow, square-shaped cereal pieces made by combining corn and oats. The cereal was launched in 1963, bolstered by a successful advertising campaign created by noted animator Jay Ward and introducing the cereal's longtime naval mascot, Cap'n Crunch.
- Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries: Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries cereal was introduced in 1967 and contained, in addition to the yellow pieces found in the original Cap'n Crunch, spherical red Crunch Berry pieces. There was a version of Crunch Berries available briefly in which the berries, instead of being spherical, were three small berries in a cluster. The Crunch Berry Beast mascot was introduced alongside the cereal. There are currently four Crunch Berry colors: red, green (introduced in 2002), blue, and purple (both introduced in the '90s). All the berry pieces are flavored the same, regardless of color.
- Peanut Butter Cereal: First released in 1969, with a large elephant named Smedley as its mascot; according to sales charts, this version was the most successful at the time. It consists of peanut butter-flavored corn puffs.
- Punch Crunch, Vanilly Crunch, Jean LaFoote's Cinnamon Crunch: Three more editions issued in the early 1970s but later discontinued. Punch Crunch was fruit-flavored cereal rings (similar to the General Mills cereal Cheerios) introduced in 1973 and the mascot was a sailor suit-clad hippopotamus named Harry S. Hippo. Jean LaFoote's Cinnamon Crunch featured cinnamon-flavored cereal and was also introduced in 1973. Vanilly Crunch was a vanilla-flavored cereal introduced in 1970 with Seadog as its former mascot, who was later replaced with Wilma the White Whale.
- Choco Crunch: In 1982, a variant called Choco Crunch, featuring the mascot Chockle the Blob, was introduced. This version contained the yellow corn squares, plus chocolate-flavored Crunch Berries.
- Chocolatey Crunch: Introduced in 2011 and consisting of chocolate-flavored corn squares, Chocolately Crunch was discontinued in July 2016 due to poor sales.
- Christmas Crunch: A special edition first released for the 1987 Christmas holiday season. It contains the signature Cap'n Crunch yellow corn squares with red and green Crunch Berries. Currently, the Crunch Berries are shaped as Christmas-themed items (shapes vary yearly) and the cereal is packaged in a holiday-themed box with the Cap'n wearing a Santa Claus or winter-themed hat (box color and hat type vary yearly). When the cereal was first introduced, the Crunch Berries were spherical-shaped and the cereal contained a toy or Christmas tree ornament inside the box. On a few occasions, the cereal has been packaged with a packed-in food gimmick to add to the cereal, like Jingle Bell Rock pieces that changed the milk's color to red (used in the 1998 version) or sprinkled icing (used in the 1995 version).
- Deep Sea Crunch: A version of the cereal introduced in 1993, which featured Crunch Berries shaped like sea creatures. This version was discontinued, but returned in 2009.
- Oops! All Berries: First released in 1997, "Oops! All Berries" contained nothing but the berry-flavored Crunch Berries and none of the corn squares.
- Halloween Crunch: A limited edition version of the cereal introduced in 2007. This includes green Crunch Berries in the form of ghosts.
- Galactic Crunch: A discontinued version which featured space-related shaped marshmallows.
- Oops! Choco Donuts: A discontinued version which featured chocolate-flavored doughnut-shaped cereal rings with candy sprinkles.
- Home Run Crunch: A limited edition version of the cereal first released in 1995, which featured baseball-related shaped marshmallows, like home plates, caps and mitts. It has the flavor of Crunch Berries, but the pieces of cereal are shaped like bats and balls. It is occasionally reintroduced during the summer season.
- Neutron Berries Featured spherical Crunch Berry pieces shaped like Jimmy Neutron, Goddard, Cindy and the Rocket. Released in 2001 to coincide with the film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
- Rugrats Go Wild Berries Featured spherical Crunch Berry pieces shaped like Eliza, Spike and Chuckie, which also turns milk blue. Released in 2003 to coincide with the film Rugrats Go Wild.
- Cap'n Crunch's Mystery Volcano Crunch: Red and yellow fruit-flavored Crunch Berries with "'free' packet of lava rocks that pop in milk!".
- Cap'n Crunch's Oops! Smashed Berries: "Oops! All Berries" cereal with flat Crunch Berries.
- Cap'n Crunch's CoZmic Crunch: Star-shaped Crunch Berries with "orange space dust that turns milk green".
- Polar Crunch: A version of the cereal in which the Crunch Berries change color to blue when milk is poured on them.
- Superman Crunch: Featured peanut butter pieces shaped like Superman's insignia's shield, which also turns milk blue. Released in 2006 to coincide with the film Superman Returns.
- Cinnamon Roll Crunch: Released in 2013.
- Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Treasures: Star-shaped crunchy yellow corn and oat rings. Contains half the sugar of regular Cap'n Crunch.
- Cap'n Crunch Bars: Later called Cap'n Crunch Treats, these were marshmallow treats similar to Rice Krispies Treats and came in Cap'n Crunch, Crunch Berries and Peanut Butter Crunch varieties.
- Airhead Berries: Released in 2003. A crossover between Airheads candy and Cap'n Crunch cereal.
- Cap'n Crunch's Sprinkled Donut Crunch: Released in 2014. Donut-flavored cereal rings with candy sprinkles.
- Cap'n Crunch's Orange Creampop Crunch: Modeled after nostalgic orange/vanilla icepops.
- Cap'n Crunch's Blueberry Pancake Crunch: Released in 2016. Features blue, light blue and white corn and oat puffs with natural and artificial blueberry and maple syrup flavoring.
- Cap'n Crunch's Chocolately Berry Crunch: Released in 2019. A Crunch Berries cereal with chocolate-flavored corn squares and red Crunch Berries.
- Cap'n Crunch's Strawberry Shortcake Crunch: Released in 2019. A Crunch Berries cereal with shortcake-flavored doughnut-shaped cereal pieces and red Crunch Berries.
- Cap'n Crunch's Red, White & Blue Crunch/Hero Crunch/Freedom Crunch: Released in 2019. A variant of Oops! All Berries cereal with red, white and blue Crunch Berries (the colors of the US flag.)
- Cotton Candy Crunch: Released in 2019. A variant of Oops! All Berries cereal with blue and pink Crunch Berries.
- Canuck Crunch: Released in 2021 in Canada only. A variant of Oops! All Berries cereal with red and white Crunch Berries (The colours of the Canadian Flag.)
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