'Ancient Grains' Version of Cheerios to Debut Soon

Cheerios Ancient Grains

By Krystal Steinmetz

General Mills (GIS) is going into the past to revive the soggy future of cereals with Cheerios + Ancient Grains, which will include hints of quinoa, Kamut wheat and spelt.

According to Quartz, the popularity of so-called super-grains as quinoa has skyrocketed in recent years. "This is likely to appeal to the many U.S. consumers who perceive these grains as healthier than wheat," Quartz said.

Calling the new cereal Cheerios + Ancient Grains is a bit of a misnomer. NPR explains: "No one seems to know who first came up with the term 'ancient grains.' It certainly has little basis in history or botany. Spelt or quinoa or millet aren't older than oats or regular wheat; they're just [harder] to find, and they've been relatively neglected by crop breeders."

General Mills is hoping that adding cereals like Cheerios + Ancient Grains and its Cheerios Protein varieties in 2015 will help boost its cereal sales. Quartz reported that the company's sales are down 3 percent from 2013, and General Mills recently experienced a quarterly net profit drop of 37 percent.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, overall cereal sales have slumped in the U.S. They're expected to plunge to $9.7 billion this year from $14 billion in 2000. The Monitor said the gluten-free diet trend and traces of the Atkins diet craze have helped drive consumers away from cereal.

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