The Cereal Report: French Toast Crunch Returns At Last Pt. 2
I’m gonna tell you all a secret. Well, not actually a secret, but a fun fact. In my possession I have an original box of French Toast Crunch from circa 2005, before the cereal was discontinued. It is (was) one of my most prized possessions. That’s how much I love this stuff. The idea was to hang onto it and someday, for some momentous occasion like getting married or getting a house finally, we’d crack it open and chow down. And hopefully not develop some sort of foodborne illness.
Welp, no need for that anymore now that FTC is back! Hopefully by now, everyone who wants to has gotten their hands on a box of French Toast Crunch. If you’ve never tried it before, I absolutely, strongly recommend you do. Riding on the tail of Part 1, in which I simply reviewed it, I’m going to take this opportunity to expound on the history of French Toast Crunch itself here in Part 2.
French Toast Crunch was created by General Mills in 1995 as a companion to the ever popular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Rather than simply reproduce the cereal but with a different flavor, they gave it the nifty little toast shape. Personally I didn’t think the cereal was that popular until General Mills announced it was coming back last month due to popular demand. It doesn’t really matter to me, I’m just so, so hyped it’s back. Nonetheless, I question how popular it was back then since the cereal was discontinued at the time. It’s a tough call since General Mills themselves sorta screwed over the cereal when about a year or two before it was taken off shelves, they introduced a new version of the cereal, which was essentially the same as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but with some maple flavor on it.
Needless to say, the redesign was not received very well and shortly after, French Toast Crunch was discontinued altogether, probably due to lack of sales. Interestingly enough, the discontinuation took place right around the beginning of the whole-grain cereal boom. If you look at my original 2005 box, you can see it plastered all over the box:
See what I mean? They really friggin’ wanted you to know their cereal was made with whole grains. I guess you can’t blame them considering the rise in ultra-health-savvy dieters over the past decade has really been bad for the cold cereal industry. Nonetheless, that redesign was most likely what did FTC in, considering from my own experiences it tasted almost nothing like its original incarnation, instead tasting mostly like a sweeter Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But it’s a classic example of a big company predicting the consumer wrong, pulling out, and everyone losing out as a result.
Not that whole grains were always on the back, but can we just compare it to the new boxes they’re putting out?
Ughhhhhh… Can we all just shut the frig up about the ’90s already? The were less than two decades ago. The obsession our culture has with nostalgia is so over the top now that it’s embarrassing. Not only the zombie-like nature of it in that it’s pretty much hivemind guarantee that you not only do remember everything from the 1990s, but that you must remember it as well.
“WHAT? YOU DON’T MISS HEY ARNOLD? STICK A GUN IN YOUR MOUTH!”
The droves of woman and man-children in their late 20s revere everything they did as kids like nostalgia is some sort of recent invention, as opposed to, you know, something that every human being on the planet has felt at one time or another. Let’s not ignore the fact that culturally, the 1990s and the things people are getting nostalgic over aren’t even that great. I say this as someone who DID grow up in that time. And my personal stance is if you love things from your childhood, keep doing them. In the age of Netflix and digital media, every video game and tv show you could hope for is out there somewhere for you to obtain. Go play Super Nintendo, you’ll enjoy it more than just reminiscing about it.
To get things back on track, I figured it’d also be neat to do some comparisons of the original French Toast Crunch with the new boxes on shelves. One big thing I want to point out again, which I pointed out in the last video, is that the new formula for French Toast Crunch is all but gluten-free. That’s fantastic news for all the people who grew up eating cereal and then was got slammed in the giant wave of Celiac diagnoses as of recent. Note, the original packaging above states it is a “crispy, sweetened cereal” whereas new boxes call it a “crispy, sweetened, corn cereal”. Additionally, while looking at the two nutritional panels side by side, you see that the original states it contains wheat ingredients while the new boxes do not.
Now, again, do not quote me on this. PCFG is not liable if you have gluten intolerance and get sick from eating the cereal. That said, I have family with Celiac and know my way around a nutrition panel. In my experience and as per my sister whom does have Celiac’s disease, foods like this which contain no wheat are usually safe unless you have an extreme sensitivity. They just can’t legally certify it as ‘gluten-free’ since it’s made in a factory that also processes wheat. Go figure.
Another few interesting points include that the newer cereal actually seems a little bit more, ‘natural’ shall we say? Obviously kiddie cereals aren’t a health food, but at the same time some can be pretty benign as far as dieting goes. The ingredients list in the new formula is smaller, with what appears to be little to no preservatives. It also ditches the high-fructose corn syrup that the original had, probably because HFCS is terrible and everyone hates it now. While you can’t see it pictured, the new formula also has somewhat fewer calories, less sugar, less fat, and fewer carbs. So yeah! Good on them, they spiffed it up and made it a little better for you. Thanks, GM.
At this point, I digress here. You don’t know how big of a deal this is for me. And it’s not your typical trendy nostalgia bullshit either. I’m not gonna write on about how this cereal “was my childhood” (I hate that phrase so much) or how it brings great memories to mind of watching Pokemon on Saturday mornings or something. Yes, I ate the crap out of this cereal as a kid, but more importantly, I legitimately believe it is the greatest cereal ever made. I eat a lot of cereal. At all times of the day. I go out of my way to try new ones. And nothing has wowed me in the past decade the way French Toast Crunch did, and continues to do so. I consider myself a near-connoisseur in cereals, and my opinion is that French Toast Crunch is perfect.
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General Mills Cereals French Toast Crunch, 19 Ounce
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Posted on January 23, 2015, in The Snack Report and tagged awesome, breakfast, cereal, cinnamon, forbidden fruit, gluten-free, review. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
I for a free box of this cereal and read the ingredients and it seemed like my daughter, who also has celiac, can eat it. Did you sister try it? I know my daughter can handle kix and this seems based on the same sort of ingredients. Thanks!
Well, as mentioned, for a food to get legally certified as “Gluten-free” and have that stamp on the packaging, it needs to contain no gluten obviously, but the bigger thing is that it needs to be produced in an atmosphere where cross-contamination cannot occur from other foods in the area.I imagine in the case of French Toast Crunch, it’s produced alongside many wheat cereals which means it can’t officially be called gluten-free. Most people with Celiac can still have foods like that, unless they’re suuuuper sensitive. Hence why the strictness of the GF stamp.
But, based on the ingredients, like you said it DOES seem like it’s pretty much gluten-free from an ingredient perspective. I guess it all varies on the severity of your daughter’s gluten allergy. If it’s a major allergy, I’d definitely check with a doctor or dietician first. My sister has not tried it, however she has eaten foods in similar situations as this one with no problems.
Hopefully your daughter is able to eat some in the end! This cereal kicks ass!
As a Celiac sufferer, I know GF products can be reliably produced in facilities that make other, non-GF, things, so long as the equipment is cleaned thoroughly between products. However, if the company can’t tell you this outright, I avoid it. Did you ever contact General Mills to ask?
Fun fact: Consuming a food that is not actually GF is still harmful to people with Celiac disease, even if they aren’t “sensitive” enough to have a reaction. The contaminant is still in your body, your immune system is still tearing it up in response, whether or not you experience the outward side effects because the quantity was too small or whatever, and your risk of inflammation-based cancers still goes up.
Other fun fact: The GF enzyme test currently approved by the FDA consistently returns false-negative results for things containing fermented or hydrolyzed gluten. This happens because the enzyme has to attach to the gluten protein chain in two locations, but fermentation and hydrolysis breaks the protein chains into their component amino acids, which are too short for the enzyme. So even though they test GF, scotch, beer, lots of vodkas, and soy sauce are never really GF. (Also distillation does not “remove the gluten”.)
Wow, I love this page. I love French Toast Crunch and heard that it had been discontinued after years of cursing my local supermarket for not carrying it. I am too, glad that its back and I hope it is for good. Good cereal seems to be hard to find nowadays, and between you and me, I hate Cinnamon Toast Crunch! I can’t wait for the thing to be pulled off the shelf! There are two huge boxes in my kitchen unopened. My elderly dad bought both on sale around December, and its March! This is madness! My dad will get any junk as long as is on sale! Well, blowing off steam a little here… but honestly, this is crazy. If only they put FTC on sale, but nope… the stuff is too precious.
Thanks for the kind words Liliana! Between you and me, Cinnamon Toast Crunch might not be the best, but it is awesome for making a breading for deep fried ice cream!
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