Growing up in the 80’s, Froot Loops used to be one of my go-to breakfast cereal choices. It was a cereal but felt like a party in my bowl. Froot Loops had the ability to put a smile on my face. It was the kind of food experience that engaged all my senses.
Visually, the bright red box could easily be spotted in the sea of cereals boxes on the supermarket shelf. Bright red was the perfect backdrop for a bowl of multi-colored loops and a beaming Toucan Sam; proudly inviting me to a serving of joy. The loops were distinct in color, vivid, and oh so joyful.
I can almost still smell that intoxicating, perfume-like fruit scent. I am referring here to the artificial fruit scent that is irresistible to kids (and some adults). The kind of scent found in really bad-for-you candy or Bath & Body Works hand creams. The aroma used to be so strong I remember being able to smell it through a sealed box. Even Toucan Sam would tell us to “Follow your nose! It always knows!”
The sound of the cereal flowing out of the box and hitting the bowl was distinctive. Not the same sound Rice Krispies made or even flake cereal such as Corn Flakes or Frosted Flakes. The loops where hardier, sturdier, more vocal as they dropped from a height.
The feel of the crunch was soothing. Because of their hardier and studier shape, loops seemed to stay crunchier longer than other cereals. On my little kid mouth, the little Os were easier to chew than the ragged edges of flake cereals.
The sweet taste of fake fruit felt like a treat every time; like a milk drenched dessert. It was candy disguised in a cereal costume. The taste got stronger with every bite, even flavoring the milk that I would dutifully slurp up after every singly loop was ingested.
The sixth sense was not a supernatural one but rather a sense of familiarity. As I stared at the Froot Loops box I kept close-by as I ate, in case I needed to top-up, Toucan Sam seemed to be joining me for breakfast. I felt as though I knew Sam personally. His positivity, joy, and colorful plumage made me happy.
What Happened to Froot Loops?
Froot Loops does not taste good anymore; there I said it. It was hard for me to admit this to myself. The box is still as flamboyant, the loops are even more colorful, and the cereal is still crunchy, but sadly these are the superficial traits of the cereal. Its spirit has been crushed. Froot Loops is now a soulless breakfast item; Toucan Sam an imposter.
The intoxicating smell is gone. I now have to stick my nose deep inside my cereal bowl to even get the slightest whiff of … anything really. The “fruity” scent was the spirit of the cereal, the main reason I loved it so much, even more important than the actual taste. I would, as Sam instructed me to, follow my nose to breakfast.
Gone too is the unapologetic sweetness; replaced with a boring cardboardy taste. A cereal with so many bright colors cannot be so weak in flavor – talk about false advertisement.
My sincerest apologies to Toucan Sam, I did not mean to drag your good name in the mud. You are probably an innocent bystander in all this mess. Or were you in on it from the start? Maybe you were the mastermind, pretending to be innocent and jolly, but deep down plotting against cereal lovers everywhere. Do you see what this has done to me? It has turned me into a mistrustful and paranoid person.
Goodbye Froot Loops, forever this time. Or at least until I forget how bad you have become, convince myself that it might be different now, remember the good times, and in a moment of nostalgic weakness, buy another box.
- My personal experience/memories