I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Mix Your Own Cereals have become a very popular trend. I first became aware of this via Springwise (a fascinating site, which posts new ideas on a variety of businesses – here’s the link for food and beverages), but I’ve seen a few other sites in passing too. And I didn’t think much more about it.
But then I was contacted by Custom Choice Cereal, who provide only gluten free cereals to mix and match. They kindly offered to let my daughter mix up a cereal so she could try it. (We’re all for full disclosure, following the new US rules).
She enjoyed choosing her ingredients. First you choose the base mix, and then add in fruit, nuts and seeds. She chose corn flakes, raisins, apricots and walnuts. One of the nice features about the site is that you can see how adding an ingredient changes the nutritional makeup of your mix; perhaps a little disconcerting, when you realise the fat/sugar content of your favourite additions.
Then the really difficult choice: what to call it. This is a rather clever idea, giving, I suppose, a sense of ownership. It would be fab if your mix became publicly listed (without your name, perhaps, for privacy) and then you could see how many other people had selected your mix… I suggest that they could think about awarding a small prize for the people who invent the most popular mix – that way, people would get a sense of pride if ‘their’ mix did well, and they might even do some marketing by recommendation, too!
Then the package arrived; that in itself is exciting, because we love parcels, but the fact that the label bore the name she’d given the mix was special.
The mix? We waited until the next morning to try it… It got two thumbs up, and she had a second bowlful. A rare event!
I was concerned that it would be too sweet, because the cornflakes are fruit-juice sweetened (and I have tried some horribly sweet cereals in the past), but I was wrong: the cornflakes are excellent.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that breakfast is a meal we struggle with. It’s hard to find something interesting to eat on a regular basis. One of the good things about this mix-your-own system, it seems to me, is that it gives you the element of choice. My non-GF children regularly try different cereals for breakfast, because it is easy for them to find variety. It’s less easy for those living gluten free. So with mix-your-own, if you got bored of an apricot/walnut combo, you could try a cinnamon granola with dried banana flakes. For a change. Or throw in some cranberries or pistachios… Apparently there are 164 million gluten-free combinations available at Custom Choice, so it’s not surprising that it took her a while to choose. Choice, after all, not being something that she gets to do that much.
I asked Hajo at Custom Choice Cereal what it was about gluten free cereals that appealed to him as a business idea; he has tried living gluten free to see just how difficult it was, and has celiac friends. It turns out he’s a big fan of cereals, and he recognised that gluten free consumers had limited choice. (He’s so right!)
I wish him all the best in this new venture. One day, perhaps they’ll set up an outpost on this side of the Atlantic, and we’ll get to play this game again…