It’s National Cereal Day!

Some people have been eating cereal for breakfast for decades, others have avoided it as much as possible.

And then there are people who have gone an entirely different route: they’ve taken cereal makers to court over some pretty eye-opening claims.

Maybe the best examples of these cases came in 2009 and 2010; in the records, you’ll find them as WERBEL V. KELLOGG AND WERBEL V. PEPSICO, INC.

The plaintiff went to court over the sugary spinoff of Cap’n Crunch known as Crunch Berries.

Lawyers argued that the litigant had been misled by the name of the product, which “conveys only one message: that Cap’n Crunch has some nutritional value derived from fruit.”

The judge’s ruling essentially said, take another look at the package, which shows “cereal balls with a rough, textured surface in hues of deep purple, teal, chartreuse green and bright red. These cereal balls do not even remotely resemble any naturally occurring fruit of any kind.”

The ruling also established in American jurisprudence that in the name of this cereal, the word “crunch” is a modifier of the word “berries,” meaning that we’re talking about sweet and colorful balls of cereal, not fruit.

There’s actually quite a bit more case law relating to fruity cereal names.

A few years before the Crunch Berries lawsuits, there was a series of cases involving Froot Loops.

The plaintiffs in these cases argued that Toucan Sam’s favorite breakfast was violating consumer protection law in California because the first word in the name of the cereal was fruit, yet it didn’t actually contain any fruit pieces.

The courts rejected these claims about as sharply as the ones about the Crunch Berries.

One judge pointed out that the name is spelled “Froot Loops,” which is a clue that the cereal isn’t actually fruit.

In one case, where the plaintiffs had suggested that the shape of the cereal resembled real fruit, the judge said, what part of the unnaturally colored crunchy flat rings look like fruit?

That judge was also not thrilled with the plaintiff’s claim that they only started to feel misled about the product after buying Froot Loops on and off for four years, which is a lot of time to be unsure about what the cereal is made of.

But in case there is any further confusion out there about what’s what, let’s just spell it out: Crunch Berries is made of cereal, not berries and Froot Loops is made of cereal, not fruit.

And before you ask, Peanut Butter Puffins is made of cereal, not birds, and Franken Berry does not contain any actual monsters!

By the way, did you know Cap’n Crunch had a nemesis?

In a series of ads in the late 80s, the Cap’n and his friends faced a relentless onslaught from some kind of milk-based creature called the Sogmaster.

but in the end the Cap’n’s Crunch Power won the day!


Cap’n Crunch vs. The Sogmaster (1987) (YouTube)

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Photo by Jimmy Cardosi via Flickr/Creative Commons