Food fads come and go, but some products just become more popular over time. Cheerios is turning 70 this year and the iconic cereal shows no sign of its age. According to General Mills, one out of every eight boxes of cereal sold today is in the Cheerios family.
What makes the product so enduring? A recent story in the Associated Press included a bit of Cheerios history as well as anecdotes from a range of people who have warm and fuzzy memories of eating the cereal as kids and now feed it to their own children.
Talk to almost any parent and they'll tell you a Cheerios story, whether its the distinct sound of the cereal crunching underfoot, finding stray O's in strange places throughout the house or tales of picky kids who ate an all-Honey Nut diet. And almost everyone has a photograph of themselves or their children as toddlers, eating Cheerios. In a photo my mother took of me as a two-year-old, I am sitting in a high chair with Cheerios scattered all over the tray. A few are stuck to the side of my face. (Doesn't everyone have a photo like that?)
The cereal, which was originally called Cheerioats when it launched in 1941, has had many incarnations over the years -- Berry Burst, Apple Cinnamon, Honey Nut, Frosted and Millenios (for the year 2000), to name a few. But the simplicity of Cheerios might be the key to its staying power.
The cereal's basic round shape, easy-to-swallow size and good-for-you fiber has made it a widely accepted first food for toddlers. And the company's claims that Cheerios are "clinically proven to help lower cholesterol" appeal to adults as well.
In a world of neon, frosted and overly commercial cereals, old-fashioned Cheerios remain a classic. It's nice to be reminded of a simpler time, even if it's just a rushed breakfast before you run out the door in the morning.