Kellogg's CEO slammed for suggesting Americans eat 'cereal for dinner' to save money

"Anything Kellogg's can do to make more money off people during times of crisis," an X user wrote. "I wonder what their CEO is having for dinner?"

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

During a recent interview with CNBC, Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick suggested Americans could save money by eating cereal for dinner.

His advice was not well-received by consumers, many of whom took to social media to voice their thoughts on the matter.

"The cereal category has always been quite affordable, and it tends to be a great destination when consumers are under pressure," Pilnick said. "We gotta reach the consumer where we are, so we're advertising about cereal for dinner."

"When you think about the cost of cereal for a family versus what they would otherwise do," he added, "that's gonna be much more affordable."

When pressed by the CNBC anchor on whether such a proposal might "land the wrong way" with consumers, Pilnick said he didn't think so, even going so far as to claim that it was "landing really well."

"When we look at all of our data," he explained, "of course we would know that breakfast cereal is the number one choice for in-home consumption. We understand that for breakfast; it turns out that over 25 percent of our consumption is outside the breakfast occasion, a lot of it's at dinner, and that occasion continues to grow."

Pilnick concluded by predicting that so long as consumers are "under pressure," cereal for breakfast would continue to "trend."

While the data might show one thing, public opinion on social media showed another.

"I'm sorry but Kellogg's new campaign ads 'cereal for dinner' sounds like we have a serious poverty problem in America, and this is the solution to capitalize on it," one X user wrote."

"Facts," another replied. "Anything Kellogg's can do to make more money off people during times of crisis. I wonder what their CEO is having for dinner? ... Price hiking all day without a care. Shame shame."

"Kelloggs is worth $19B & made $1.6B in profit in 2023," another X user pointed out. "So as 1 in 4 military families, 1 in 6 Americans, & 1 in 9 children are food insecure—Kellogg's boasts about celebrating that insecurity & advertises 'cereal for dinner'. Shameful. Greedy. Cruel."

This is not the first time Kellogg's has pushed the idea of having cereal for dinner. In 2022 the company ran an ad suggesting that it was a perfectly normal and healthy alternative to actual food with the tagline, "Give chicken the night off."

The backlash comes amidst soaring food prices around the country and consumers have not had to spend as large of share of their disposable income on food in 30 years.

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