By Kaylee Brewster
Cereal, while a popular breakfast item in the U.S., is all over the world.
I lived in Scotland for one year and was introduced to other cereals, some better than others and I also spent a year missing some of my favorites.
I talked to a few friends living in the U.K. to ask them about their various cereal experiences.
Kat Lawson from Yorkshire, England, said she has cereal for breakfast or even dinner, “if I can’t be bothered cooking or just want something light.”
Lawson prefers plainer cereals, such as Bran Flakes, Shreddies, Weetabix and porridge.
“I like things like Frosties and Coco Pops but don’t have them very often as they can be a bit sickly,” said Lawson.
Madeline Chandler, formerly of Pittsburgh, lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
“I eat cereal for everything, but I will definitely have a sugary cereal and splurge when I have a bad day, kind of like when people buy ice cream and stuff,” said Chandler, who likes to mix several brands together in one bowl.
Being an American living in the U.K., Chandler said finding American cereals can be difficult.
“Luckily, I am weird enough that Wheat Chex are actually my fave cereal, so those I can find.”
However, she misses the size of the cereal aisles in America. Cereals she longs for aren’t available in Glasgow, including Honey Bunches of Oats, Cap’n Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, King Vitamin and Kix, as well as “the really cheap store-brand, knock-off cereals that only come in the plastic bags,” said Chandler.
Caroline Allen of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, said she mostly has cereal with milk for breakfast or as a late-night snack. Her favorite cereals while growing up were Lucky Charms, Frosties, Ricicles, Golden Nuggets, Cookie Crunch and Coco Pops.
Lucky Charms used to be available like any other cereal when she was a kid, she said. “But now, you can only get them from fancy department stores or special American candy stores — they seem to be popping up everywhere — and they are extortionately priced as they are seen as a U.S. import. They never used to be more than other cereals,” Allen said, noting Lucky Charms can cost about £7 a box, or approximately $9.
She doesn’t see cereal as an American food.
“We had all kinds of cereals growing up. There are definitely some that I see as American – Cap’n Crunch, Froot Loops, Reeses Pieces, then others that feel very British to me – Honey Nut Crunch, Golden Nuggets, though weirdly the cartoon guy is an American Gold miner.”
“I think it isn’t necessarily a more American food group but I think the more sweet cereals, such as Lucky Charms and Froot Loops, are definitely more American.”
She doesn’t see cereal as gaining in popularity.
“I think our convenience-oriented lifestyles push us more towards grabbing something easy we can eat on the commute or in the office while reading emails,” Lawson said.
Allen thinks that cereal in the U.K. might be losing popularity because so many people are unhealthy and recommended portion sizes are so small. She sees a move toward cereals like granolas.
“We did have a bit of a cereal thing a little while back. Some people in London opened a cereal café – extremely hipster, “ said Allen. “But I don’t think it went down well with the locals who are concerned with gentrification.”
Chandler is more open to cereal cafes.
“Those people who hate on cereal restaurants and such are just full of hatred. I can make some pasta for a dollar but I still like to go out and order it sometimes. Plus, that is something that allows me to do the cereal mixing that I so love. And cereal is life.”