published about 3 hours ago
One of my favorite questions to ask a new friend is “What’s your favorite cereal?” With so many options on the market, it’s always fascinating to hear what people say. Will they go for a chocolatey or fruity childhood favorite? Or will they answer with an “adult” cereal that’s studded with raisins instead of marshmallows? In my opinion, their answer tells you a lot about a person.
Feeding into my quest for cereal knowledge, Pattern, a global commerce accelerator (don’t ask me what that means), has released large-scale data about America’s cereal habits. There are some surprises and some not-so-surprises about breakfast cereal spending, and all in time for National Cereal Day (March 7!).
Looking at Amazon cereal sales for 2021, the study delivers some clear winners and losers. To start, Cinnamon Toast Crunch took the top sales position (which surprised me, but apparently not my husband who eats it with abandon). In close second, however, was Rice Krispies, followed by Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms. Count Chocula and Cocoa Crisps rounded out the tail of the list (which only included major brands). As much as I love chocolate, I don’t eat it first thing in the morning, so I’d put those two at the bottom of my list, too.
Now that we know what people are buying, let’s look at when. January and February were the biggest months for cereal sales in 2021, with the biggest lag being in both November and December. I know I ate less cereal during the holidays — I was too busy cramming baked goods in my mouth. It’s fair to say you can’t take too much from this data, as it only tracks Amazon sales, and there were some fluctuations in buying habits with consumers yo-yo-ing in and out of in-person shopping last year.
When looking at month-by-month sales per cereal, though, there are a few notable spikes. Lucky Charms sales rose a whopping 96 percent the week before St. Patrick’s Day compared to its rest-of-the-year average, thanks to consumers celebrating the Irish holiday by clinking their cereal bowls together in cheers. Rice Krispies had a 59 percent jump the week of Christmas, likely due to home bakers whipping up Rice Krispie treats for the holidays.
Truthfully, I’m looking forward to using this newfound cereal data as a follow-up when quizzing new acquaintances about their breakfast habits. Who wouldn’t want to know that their favorite Honey Nut Cheerios was the 5th most popular cereal on Amazon last year? I’m going to be very popular at dinner parties.
Laurel is a food writer, recipe developer, and editor. She is the author of four cookbooks, one of which was a #2 best-seller of 2017.