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Nov 24, 2010 06:53 AM

Why aren't there "cereal bars" in supermarkets?

You know ... rows and rows of bins filled with cereal where you can mix and match any combo that you want and then pay by the pound? The way you might do with with things like bulk rice, beans, grains, etc.?

How nice would it be to indulge once in a while in a nice mix of Honey Bunches of Oats, with some Cocoa Puffs, topped with some Cap'n Crunch, and then sprinkled with a bit of Cinnamon Life? All shaken, not stirred, of course.

If I wanted that combo I'd have to buy, like, four boxes of cereal.

And, yes, I know there are cereal restaurants where they can mix and match for you, but why not at a supermarket -- where they could have bins and bins of cereals and you could mix and match to create your own "cereation" (cereal+creation) while picking up some kale, a bottle of Stag Leap's Chardonnay (2008), and some Fuji Apples?

Is there such a setup in a grocery store where you live?

I have yet to find one where I am ... sadly, enough.

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  1. Hmmm, my guess is sanitation. How many kids do you think would just about dive into one of those huge bins filled with cocoa puffs?

    Might get a nice surprise in your next 'custom' bowl of cereal. I can see it now:

    "Blue moons, green clovers, red ballons...and a band-aid?!?!?!?"

    6 Replies
    1. re: Novelli

      There could also be an issue with the cereal going stale quickly.

      1. re: Novelli

        There are bins with granola, mixed nuts, yogurt pretzels in the markets in my neighborhood. The problems you point out would apply to those items as well.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          It could...but probably less likely as those bins aren't real big 'child' attracters.

          Granola, mixed nuts, and yogurt covered pretzels just don't have the same appeal as say marshmellow bits, chocolate chip cookies, or other brightly colored, sugar coated cartoon characters...which 9 times out of 10 come with toys!

          and as stated above by Fromageball...I'm sure there would be a 'freshness' issue as well.

          1. re: Novelli

            The bins that contain those items are air-tight where you open a latch to release the contents and it automatically closes when you release the latch. I'm not sure that granola or trailix or mueslix is any more stale-proof than regular cereal.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              "The bins that contain those items are air-tight where you open a latch to release the contents and it automatically closes when you release the latch."
              not all of them, nor even a majority, for that matter. most stores don't have the wall space to accommodate only gravity-assisted dispensers, so they use the lidded bins with scoops, which are highly unsanitary and also offer little protection against staling/spoilage as customers leave them open half the time.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I hardly see the lidded containers anymore, except for things like rice and beans.

                Whole Foods, for example, have those auto shut containers that dispense via Newtonian laws of physics.

      2. One of my local health food stores does have several varieties of cereal in bulk bins. Though it's the heartier stuff; mostly granola. And of course no Cocoa Puffs. I can't imagine corn flakes doing too well in a bin.

        What's wrong with buying four boxes of cereal?

        Oh, and have you seen this?:

        1. I don't think it would be a big draw. Salad bars are popular because it's a healthy alternative, cold cereal isn't. If I'm going to eat cold cereal I'll eat it at home.
          Whole Foods has a breakfast bar and the traffic seems a bit spotty.

          Maybe a bit off topic, but a couple Asian girls opened a cereal and grilled cheese place in S. Pasadena called Mix N' Match. I see their problem being they don't open until 9:00am five days a week, 10:00 on Mondays and 11:00 on Thursday, Half the breakfast business is gone by 9am. ....what they don't want to get up early?

          4 Replies
          1. re: monku

            I would be buying the cereal to eat at home, not in the store.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Maybe major brand cereal companies don't want to sell their cereal in bulk?

              1. re: monku

                Ok, I'll take the bait.

                Why wouldn't the major cereal companies want to sell their cereal via the bulk containers?

                Is it because the cereal box is inherently part and parcel of what the actual cereal is about? Maybe even more so?

                In other words, we identify as much with Tony the Tiger as we do with Frost Flakes? So, that if we started selling Frost Flakes without also selling the smiling pearly whites of Tony the Tiger, consumers might then realize that generic store brand sugar flakes are as good as Frosted Flakes.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  They probably make the most profit selling it the way they do in boxes...why do something that's going to jeopardize that profit margin.

                  The only "bulk" cereal I've seen outside a box are larger bags of "off brand" (clones of major brands) cereals at Walmart.
                  Why not sell cereal in a bag?

                  Speaking of Tony the Tiger...
                  I noticed my wife has a package of Frosted Flakes in a cup.
                  6/ 2.1 ounce cups of Frosted Flakes in a plastic cups(you remove the paper top, pour milk into it and eat it). I'm sure she got it at Costco for about $5. Compare that to a box of Frosted Flakes and Kellogg figured out how to maximize their profit on the cereal, not by going bulk, but individual servings.

          2. I think there would be a conflict with the "cereal bar" in the supermarket idea and the manufacturers that pay for shelf space to sell their cereal in the store.

            1. I saw a similar concept in the groceries here several months ago, done a little differently. I'm sorry I don't remember the brand, but they were selling sleeves of cereal in different flavors, and maybe even in different shapes. (I didn't look that closely.) There were mix "recipes" on the plastic bag packaging. Each variety was priced less than a dollar, so you could mix and match, was the idea, I'm sure, for the same price as a regular sized box of cereal.