Cereal is so good! Not all cereal of course, but in general cereal is about as good a thing as any human could ever desire! Cereal makes for the ideal climbing, hiking, biking, skiing, and trekking snack. It’s packable, lightweight, tasty and has grains! GRAINS.
Cereals, before they are the types of cereals that we all know and love, are simply grasses that are grown for the edible component of their grain. A little tidbit for all those philosacrificium (lovers of cereal) out there, is that cereal grain crops are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other crop! As for the health benefits of grains, don’t even get me started! Well, maybe it’s okay to get a little started. Grains are high in fiber which can help you feel full, theoretically making it easier to maintain your goal weight. Whole grains are associated with a lower risk of many ailments including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. What’s not to love!
But we aren’t here to talk agriculture and health benefits of grain, we’re here to party!
As everybody knows, a good cereal party requires a good cereal. Not just one good cereal, it requires several good cereals, all the good cereals! Since we know that a good cereal party requires good cereal, it’s important to understand just what is meant by ‘good’. We could focus on health but if you’re going to a cereal party, the driving force ought to be fun!
So, what constitutes fun when it comes to cereal? There are several factors, but the primary factor is obviously flavor! Secondary factors include things like crunch, mascot, prizes, box design, back of box entertainment, and of course the Sog Window. The Sog Window (SW) is the average time it takes for cereal to become too soggy to enjoy. Golden Grahams are delicious, but have an incredibly short Sog Window. Heart to Heart by Kashi has an obscenely long SW, but tastes and feels like eating dried bone fragments, which ultimately lowers the fun value.
Cereals with a high fun value should make the cut for any menu at a good cereal party, but determining the belle of the ball, i.e. the best cereal of the bunch can come down to microscopic factors! So, let’s dig in and find out just which options make the Mount Rushmore of cereal royalty.
Recently we conducted an immersive scientific cereal study whereby our readers recommended their favorite cereal. We then pitted those selections against one another to determine which cereal would come out on top. Originally we whittled the top 16 cereals down to 8, then to 4, then 2, and finally through tried and true scientific research methods, our crack team of researchers has been able to go about figuring out the #1 cereal in the world.
Figure 1. shows the flow of how cereals matched up against one another moving from the round of eight to the top cereal. While all cereals listed are grrrrreat (Frosted Flakes, although part of the top sixteen cereals, was eliminated from making it to the final eight. The Frosted Flakes catchphrase is grrrrreat, and so carries on even in the absence of Tony the Tiger) there could be only one that is the grrrrreatest.
Looking at the final four cereals there are a few things that stand out. Most importantly is the variety of textures. Cereals can generally be divided among four standard varieties. Flakes, balls/dimensional, rings, and combos. Flakes constitute any flat cereals (e.g. Cinnamon Toast Crunch), balls/dimensional represent cereals shaped like a ball or other dimensional shape (e.g. Reese’s Puffs), rings are just cereals in the shape of a ring (e.g. Froot Loops), and combos include cereal add-ins like yogurt drops, raisins, clusters, or marshmallows (e.g. Lucky Charms). The commonalities among the final four include outstanding SW, box designs, back of box, and of course flavor.
Moving from the final four cereals, to the final two cereals also comes with some interesting data points. Great mascots were not represented in the final two cereals. Lucky the Leprechaun and Toucan Sam are iconic, whereas Reese’s Puffs has no mascot, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has turned to the worst mascot in their storied history1. Aside from lack of mascots in the final round, notice that the fruity flavored cereals didn’t make the cut. This is no coincidence. As we develop, from youth into adulthood, our tastes become more refined and more receptive to sophisticated flavors such as peanut butter and cinnamon2.
The winner of The Cereal Party Standoff turned out to be Cinnamon Toast Crunch!!!
Independent of which cereal is the best, any cereal in the Final Eight would be a welcome addition to the menu of a cereal party. And any combination of the Final Eight cereals would make for for an ideal climbing, hiking, biking, skiing, and trekking snack3.
- You ditch Wendell the baker for sentient Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares, that is a bold move CTC. I can’t say I approve!
- The author feels it must me mentioned that Lucky Charms is the surprise of the entire cereal field. Along the way, Lucky Charms persevered over Frosted Flakes, Honeycomb, and was within one vote of making it to the final two cereals. I’m not sure if it’s because they are magically delicious, or an inferior quality of their opponent, or if people are legitimately fond of Lucky Charms, but they made us all take notice, and there is something to be said for that. Cinnamon Toast Crunch on the other hand has dismantled every other cereal it came in contact with, to the point that no other cereal was ever within 50 percentage points of CTC.
- Cereal Party Part I can be read here.