Beyond Breakfast: College Students Shake Up Their Cereal Eating

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What is “cereal time”

Students love cereal and still feel incredible nostalgia for the brands of their youth—but these days many don’t have time to eat a sit-down breakfast. Instead, some reach for on-the-go, protein-rich options such as premade smoothies or packaged whole grain bars.

As the day goes on, however, cereal has become a much more appealing option for the snack-friendly generation. It’s a time when they’re getting hungry and want to start getting creative. They seek out cereals during nontraditional dayparts as a great option for snacking, a topping for frozen yogurt or ice cream, or as a dessert replacement altogether.

Many chefs and foodies are bringing cereals into their kitchens, finding ways to use the crave-able products in unique recipes. They crush the cereal and use it as a crunchy mix-in for waffles, French toast or pancakes. Cereal has been appearing in the place of breadcrumbs for protein coatings (Honey Nut Cheerios™ Chicken Nuggets? Yum!) and has even been taken up by mixologists, who crush cereal and use it as a glass rim coating for sweeter cocktails.

Get creative with Crunch Lab™

Crunch Lab

General Mills Crunch Lab™ Snacking Stations remind young diners that personalized snack mixes made with cereal are a great on-the-go option any time of day. Crunch Lab™ makes it easy to setup a station filled with popular cereals and other mix-ins such as pretzels, mini-marshmallows and dried fruit, so students can create their own snacking mix to fuel them throughout their days and nights. Crunch Lab™ can go wherever your students are. Some operators are converting unused dining hall salad bars into Crunch Lab™ Snacking Stations, and others have found success by creating pop-up locations around campus.


Success for snacking stations

snacking stattions

Reaction has been highly positive, and operators at the recent National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) show discussed a variety of possibilities for bringing Crunch Lab™ to their campuses. Some ideas included converting salad bars into snacking stations once or twice a week, creating pop-up stands for special events, or prepackaging blends with university branding for sale in their campus c-stores.

“It’s such a fun and different way to get a snack,” says one campus co-ed. “I like the idea that I can pick just the cereals and mix-ins I like best, and control my portion for myself.”

Click here to learn how to bring Crunch Lab™ to your campus!