Product Labeling: Put a Rabbit on Wheat Chex


I love to read product labels. They are even more entertaining than tabloids. Companies work hard to emphasize their strengths using shiny labels and exciting fonts.  Recently I started paying attention to General Mills breakfast cereal.

Let’s consider Trix and Wheat Chex. They both advertise the presence of whole grains. They both contain whole grain as the first ingredient. Then it gets interesting.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The Trix front panel offers parents a whopping four Box Tops for Education. It also offers the kids “3 new swirls.” But Wheat Chex is clearly marketed to a boring group of health nuts. The front panel only pushes the presence of whole grains.

In a mere ¾ cup of Wheat Chex you will consume 41 grams of the daily recommended 48 grams of whole grains. Cool. However, in a larger serving size of 1 cup, Trix will deliver only 12 grams. It’s all on the box, but you need to look at a few different panels to put it together. Is this on purpose? Of course.

Trix is nutritionally inferior to Wheat Chex, but it is the one marketed to kids. The parents oogle over the Box Tops and the kids love the rabbit and swirls.

So why is General Mills working so hard to get parents to buy Trix over Wheat Chex? It is simple business math. Trix contains cheaper ingredients and they can charge more. Who doesn’t like a higher profit margin?

I am completely happy that General Mills uses whole grains at all. But why not put a silly rabbit on Wheat Chex?

Have you read any funny food labels lately? Tell us all about it on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook Page!

Want to know my Cereal Rules? Read this post, Make the Bowl Count! 3 Easy Rules to Improve Your Kid’s Breakfast Cereal.