Franken Berry

Monsters Cereal Returns!.  (PRNewsFoto/General Mills)
In a rather shocking announcement, General Mills has revealed that this holiday season (and that holiday is Halloween) not only will Franken Berry and Boo Berry return to the shelves in what has become a bit of an annual tradition, but for the first time in decades, Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy will also return. It seems clear to me that bringing the cereals back as part of Halloween has been a great success for General Mills. My favorite remains to be Franken Berry, but I will definitely buy both of these when they hit the shelves later this fall.

Frute Brute 2
Frute Brute (sometimes spelled Fruit Brute) was a main cast member for a while, appearing mostly in the 70’s. He hasn’t been seen since 1983 and only children of that era really remember him. Fruity Yummy Mummy came around in the 80’s and I recall him immediately being a bit of a bastard child of the General Mills monsters. Of course, Boo Berry faded away for a long time as well. Perhaps these two monsters will get new life this season.

Interestingly, this will mark the first time that all five monster cereals have been available for purchase at once. Talk about a sugar high! If you’re a fan of the lime or vanilla flavored marshmallows, now is the time to stock up. I suspect if they do good, we might even see spin-off products like last year’s Monster Cereal Fruit Roll-Ups. There will apparently even be special retro boxes shipped to Target stores. The countdown to Halloween is on and General Mills is clearly in the spirit!

Earlier this month during our Halloween celebration I reviewed the breakfast cereal of champions zombies, Franken Berry. As I mentioned in my Review of Franken Berry, it was one of my favorite cereals growing up. So when I saw that Fruit Roll-Ups had a special Franken Berry flavor, I just had to try it!

The box sports a big ol’ picture of Frankie on the front. The picture looks like some of the older artwork they used to use for Franken Berry, as opposed to the computer generated Frank on the current General Mills boxes. It’s worth noting that there is also a Boo Berry flavor, but no Count Chocula flavor. I guess they can’t make artificial chocolate roll-ups. Fatties everywhere are bound to be upset by this news.

Inside is your metallic pink baggy with the Fruit Roll-Up inside. Actual fruit roll-ups are healthy when made with real fruit. These ones from Betty Crocker, not so much. They only have 50 calories which is way less than a can of pop, but they claim to be a “Great source of Vitamin C” when in all actuality they only provide a paltry 10%. Don’t skip your vitamins for Fruit Roll-Ups, kids.

The Roll-Up is then wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic. This prevents the fruity goodness from sticking together. Don’t be the poor sap who eats the plastic.

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What better way to really get into Halloween than with a sugary breakfast cereal made in homage to Mary Shelley’s novel about resurrection and playing god? How many people died in the original Frankenstein novel? That’s okay, he’s worthy of a children’s cereal and Franken Berry is proof of that. He’s also proof that a well balanced breakfast can start a dialogue with your children about man creating life.

General Mills’ Franken Berry cereal debuted in 1971 alongside Count Chocula. They were the first two “monster cereals” and according to Wikipedia the first batches used a different dye that didn’t quite digest, resulting in “Frankenberry Stool”. I’ve never had Franken Berry stool, but I have had the cereal. Nowadays, Franken Berry is harder to find in stores. He is available in some markets, all year round, but your best bet is at Halloween.

The monster cereals are out in full force this Halloween season and sadly they don’t come with any cool prizes. Any child of the 80’s and before can tell you that the TOYS that used to come in boxes of cereal were the biggest selling point. I had a ton of that crap as a kid and would always force my parents to buy whatever kind I wanted, based purely on the prize inside. Kids today have to settle for a comic on the back in which the General Mills monsters scare each other by dressing up as children.

Franken Berry was always my favorite as a child, while everyone else in my family really liked Count Chocula. Franken Berry and Chocula had the distinct advantage of not always having to have a cool toy inside. The cereal was just cool by nature, and thus we often had it even if it didn’t have a cool prize.

Interestingly, the side of the box mentions “scaring up memories” of the cereal. That leads me to believe that they are marketing this just as much to adults with nostalgia, as they are kids. Of course I also know that a lot of adults love this stuff and I’ve seen posts on forums about it, so clearly General Mills hunch is right.

Inside you get a variety of red Pacman ghosts with strawberry flavor. These ghosts make me wonder if there was ever Pacman cereal? It could have looked the exact same, but had the marshmallows be Pacmen. Anyway, if you put them in milk it’ll turn the milk pink. I suppose if you ate a ton of this and only this, you might be able to get the infamous Franken Berry Stool as well. How’d that be for a Halloween trick! I’m not going to experiment and find out.

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