Refresh [1]
Custom Cereal

Custom Cereal

We’ve written plenty [3] about supermarket competitors on these virtual pages in the past, but none are as intriguing as, well, the virtual competitors. We’re talking about the online merchants who operate home-delivery businesses for just about every category. Organic produce, artisan cheese, free-range beef: You name it, it’s in your mailbox.

cereal_boxes.jpg [4]Now we can add to the mix cereal/snacks. A few companies have emerged as potential threats for those retailers with specialty cereal sets. There’s [me]&goji [5] (gimmicky brackets, huh?); as well as MixMyGranola [6]. Then there’s the specialist of the specialty cereal makers, Custom Choice Cereal [7], which focuses on gluten-free products. I’m sure I’ve missed a few (feel free to add onto the list in the comments section).

Check these sites out. Customers start with a grain base, and from there add nuts, berries, fruit… even chocolate. What I like is the interactive Nutrition Facts panel that keeps a running tally of the nutritional value of your ingredients.

Sure the finished product is a bit pricey, but have you checked out cereal prices in the stores? They were pretty high over the past year due to huge increases in commodity input costs [8]. But even without that, prices for an ever-shrinking box of cereal have been a big turn-off, at least for this consumer.

What can brick-and-mortar food stores do? The same thing I’ve been doing: I make my own customized mix using my store’s bulk bins [9]. Any retailer with a decent bulk foods selection can promote it as a cereal destination. Just keep it fresh, keep it clean and occasionally have a staffer busy themselves around the bins in case anyone needs help. In fact, get employees involved by posting their favorite mixes as suggestion to novice customers.

For now, I don’t intend on getting my cereal by mail order. But lots of other people are. [me]&goji is already shipping about 1,000 containers a month. These are consumers who used to shop your cereal aisle.

(Photo credit: Brett/bk2000)