Cinnamon Toast Crunch
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|Product type||Breakfast cereal|
|Introduced||March 5, 1984|
|Tagline||"Unlock the Cinnaverse"|
Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC), known as Croque-Cannelle in French Canada and Curiously Cinnamon in the UK (previously Cinnamon Grahams), and as a variant called Cini Minis in other European and Latin American countries, is a brand of breakfast cereal produced by General Mills and Nestlé. First produced in 1984, the cereal aims to provide the taste of cinnamon toast in a crunch cereal format. The cereal consists of small squares or rectangles of wheat and rice covered with cinnamon and sugar. Because of its rice content, when immersed in milk, one can hear "snap" sounds coming from it, similar to Rice Krispies. In most European countries and North America the product is sold in boxes but in Poland and Russia the cereal is sold in bags. The product was originally marketed outside Europe with the mascot of a jolly baker named Wendell, but was replaced as a mascot by the "Crazy Squares" which are sentient Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares that often eat each other in commercials. As of 2019, Cinnamon Toast Crunch revealed a new logo to reflect on the world of the cinnamon squares.
Originally the cereal featured plain squares but currently features artificial "cinnamon swirl" coloration in each piece. The cereal was originally invented by scientist John Mendesh and by General Mills assistant product manager Elisabeth Trach after receiving the idea from an unnamed child in a "give us your best idea for a cereal" radio contest held by General Mills. The child received a set of Hot Wheels toys as a Grand Prize. Starting in 1985 there were three animated bakers as the mascots, one of which is named Wendell. The other two bakers, known as Bob and Quello, were considerably more youthful in appearance than Wendell. Eventually the younger bakers were dropped, leaving Wendell as the sole mascot for several years.
The product was first introduced to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1998 by Cereal Partners, as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the same name as the popular North American cereal brand. The name was later[when?] changed to Cinnamon Grahams, similar to Golden Grahams, another Nestlé product. The name was once again changed to its current name of Curiously Cinnamon produced by Cereal Partners under the Nestlé brand.
Originally, the three bakers were the mascots. The cereal did not have a slogan. Starting in 1995, it was given the slogan: "The taste you can see." In 2007, Cinnamon Toast Crunch experimented with a new slogan, "It's That Intense," but switched back after poor reception. In 2009 the slogan became "Crave those crazy squares".
In 1997, appealing to adult-oriented programming, a campaign featured the slogan "The adult thing to do", mostly centering on their adult things going back to children's stuff, including cereal (which a fictional "adult" cereal named "Health Pellets" was featured before replacing it with Cinnamon Toast Crunch). This was changed in 2004 to "Breakfast on a whole other level", which was replaced with the "Crave those crazy squares" in 2009.
Current advertisements for this cereal portray adults in some form unable to "see what makes them so popular," the adult guesses something completely off the wall, and usually related to the adult's profession, whereby the children correct them and loudly say "It's the cinnamon sugar swirls in every bite!". However, the cereal is also currently advertised directly to adults, as a healthy breakfast choice with a great taste they grew up with. Either way, the portrayal has worked; it is favored in 54% of states in the United States.
Spin-offs of the cereal
There have been at least five offshoots of the cereal: Chocolate Toast Crunch, French Toast Crunch in 1995 and again in 2015, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch in 2004 and 2013, Frosted Toast Crunch in 2012, and Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch for the 2014 holiday season.
French Toast Crunch is shaped like many little French toast slices, reminiscent of the style of Cookie Crisp. It was discontinued in 2006, but made a return in 2015 due to its cult popularity among its fans. Peanut Butter Toast Crunch was a cereal consisting of flakes similar but darker to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Frosted Toast Crunch resembles Cinnamon Toast Crunch with vanilla coating. This cereal was discontinued by 2006. As another offshoot, Monopoly Cereal was a limited edition product created in April 2003 by General Mills. The cereal was like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but with the addition of marshmallows based on the pieces in the Monopoly game, such as houses and hotels. Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch was like Cinnamon Toast Crunch except with a sugar cookie taste.
In Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary, and Israel, where a variant of the cereal is known as Cini Minis, a strawberry flavoured variant named Erdbeer Minis/Strawberry Minis exists. In Germany and Austria it replaced a previously existing apple flavoured variant called Äpple Minis. This strawberry flavoured variant was later released in the UK as Curiously Strawberry.
Curiously Cinnamon consists of wholegrain wheat and rice squares about 1.37cm in size, which are then coated with a blend of cinnamon and sugar, and fortified with various vitamins and minerals.
One serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, equal to ¾ cup (177 mL) or 31 g, has 130 calories (544 kJ), or 170 calories (711 kJ) with ½ cup (118 mL) of skim milk. A single serving has 3 g of total fat, no cholesterol, 220 mg of sodium, and 45 mg of potassium. One serving has 25 g of total carbohydrates with 2 g of dietary fiber and 9 g of sugars with 14 g of other carbohydrates. A single serving also contains 1 g of protein.
Shrimp tail contamination incident
On March 22, 2021, American writer, rapper and podcaster Jensen Karp found what appeared to be discarded shrimp tails in his Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal; his tweets about the incident went viral. Additionally, Karp found a piece of string, “small black pieces” embedded into some pieces of the cereal alongside an object which looked like a pea. General Mills then issued a statement on Twitter claiming the tails were "an accumulation of the cinnamon sugar that sometimes can occur when ingredients aren’t thoroughly blended". As of 23 March, General Mills claim they are investigating the case, but that contamination "did not occur at [their] facility".
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- "8 Things You Should Know Before You Buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch". Delish. 2016-05-12. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
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- Karp, Jensen (22 March 2021). "Ummmm @CTCSquares - why are there shrimp tails in my cereal? (This is not a bit)". Twitter.
- Karp, Jensen (22 March 2021). "I was convinced to go back through the bag, since when I first noticed the shrimp tails, I freaked out and closed the box. Here's all my findings, which also now includes a weird little string?". Twitter.
- Karp, Jensen (22 March 2021). "For real - someone tell me they aren't like maggots or bugs. Is it shrimp adjacent? (also just found this weird cinnamon covered pea thing?) I wish this was a joke". Twitter.
- Marcus, Ezra (23 March 2021). "The Curious Case of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Box". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
- Official Cinnamon Toast Crunch Twitter Account (23 March 2021). "Cinnamon Toast Crunch Statement". Twitter.
- Singh, Namita (24 March 2021). "Man finds shrimp tails in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that company tries to pass off as sugar". The Independent.
- Cantor, Matthew (24 March 2021). "Man claims to find sugar-coated shrimp tails in his box of cereal". The Guardian.
- CNN (24 March 2021). "See what man says he found in his cereal". CNN Business.
- Soto, Jessica (September 21, 2015). "Cinnamon Toast Crunch presents the selfie spoon stick". KSAT-TV. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
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