Did you hear the big news today? General Mills is bringing French Toast Crunch back! This has caused social media to go wild toward in the carefully-crafted ways social media goes wild after a big brand makes a big announcement. In a statement, a General Mills wrote “We have been overwhelmed by the consumer conversations, requests and passion for the cereal to come back.”
Just like they were when Surge made its triumphant return to Amazon, people in their 20s — French Toast Crunch’s target demo back in the day — are EXCITED! especially the one girl who tweeted she’s #literallycrying over a sugary cereal returning to her grocery store cereal aisle. ’90s KIDS! NOSTALGIA! SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS! MARKETING! DIABETES CEREAL!
These people are real and their enthusiasm only confuses me more: Who the hell was asking for this in the first place?
I remember when French Toast Crunch hit the market in 1995. I remember watching the commercials for it while propped at the kitchen table on a Saturday Morning eating a bowl of Apple Jacks or Peanut Butter Crunch and watching Pro Stars and/or Captain Planet. I remember a trip to the grocery store with my dad — who makes a mean real french toast — and convincing him to buy it. I remember being quickly repulsed by how much of a let-down it was.
That first let-down was almost 20 years ago. I tried it again in college because, haha, my roommate was a huge stoner and we lived off cereal our sophomore year. It was just a disappointing. I haven’t bought a box of French Toast Crunch since nor will I ever again.
French Toast Crunch is one of the most gimmicky cereals of all time, which is saying something in an industry of that thrives off of children begging their parents to buy whatever is being advertised against their favorite TV shows. It pails in comparison to its big brother, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Let’s start here: Unlike cinnamon-sugar, syrup and milk are a TERRIBLE food combination. Whereas the sugary rice squares in Cinnamon Toast Crunch only get better the more milk they absorb, the syrupy french toast squares quickly become a soggy mess. French Toast Crunch’s actual crunch is short-lived compared to that of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with its squares seeming to dissolve in the milk, turning your bowl into a disgusting grey-brown. It’s quite different from the sweet, delicious cinnamon swirls leftover in your milk after a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (not to mention the sugary pile-of-gold that sunk to the bottom of the bowl, perfect for digging out with your spoon).
On top of all of this, the syrup coating French Toast Crunch makes it impossible to eat the cereal dry straight out of the box without turning your hand into a sticky mess. If you grab a handful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the sugar/cinnamon that accumulates on your hand is solved with a couple of quick, delicious licks. Call me old fashion, but eating cereal out of the box shouldn’t involve wet-naps.
Cinnamon Toast is pretty much the perfect “terrible for you” cereal. Hell, I still buy it on two-for-$5 specials at the grocery store because I’m convinced the whole grains in it cancel out all that sugar intake. That’s how a balanced diet works, right?
Just like we’ve seen for Surge and Girl Meets World, participation trophy-loving millennials can’t resist a marketing gimmick that capitalizes on nostalgia for their collective childhoods. The reality is that it’s just another irresistible ploy to keep millennials broke as fuck.
How long until our ADD generation is disappointed by French Toast Crunch being “back” just like they inevitably were disappointed by the momentarily thrill of pogs, Eiffel 65, Beanie Babies, and Tickle Me Elmos? Those who purchase a box because of social media hype are setting themselves up to find their tastebuds blue (da ba dee da ba die) and wishing they stuck to the classics.