Consumers disheartened by the demise of the Choco Taco will soon have a new outlet for their culinary nostalgia ― this time, at breakfast.
General Mills announced plans last week to bring four of its classic “Monster Cereals” ― Frute Brute, Franken Berry, Count Chocula and Boo-Berry ― back to supermarket shelves for a limited time. The boxes themselves have been given contemporary makeovers by New York-based artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS.
In an email, KAWS said he was “thrilled” at being asked to collaborate with General Mills on the cereal revival. Fans of all ages can enter to win a series of vintage-style toys based on his designs.
“I’ve been a big fan of the cereals since I was a kid,” he said. “Even now, I love the original box designs and the creativity and imagination they invoke.”
Mindy Murray, General Mills’ senior marketing communications manager, said the company hoped to “offer something new and different” this year with the redesigned boxes and toys.
“KAWS’s love for these characters made him the perfect partner to bring them to life and offer multiple ways to celebrate this season,” she said. “We can’t wait for fans to find each box and experience the latest versions for themselves.”
Fans can expect to spot the cereals at supermarkets and other retailers later this month and throughout the fall.
The Monster Cereals were first introduced in 1971, taking inspiration from classic horror icons like Dracula and Frankenstein. The first images of Count Chocula and his spooky cohorts were drawn by George Karn, a cartoonist and commercial artist who also sketched the original Trix Rabbit in 1959.
The brands continued to endear themselves to generations of youngsters until 2010, when they became available only seasonally.
Of the four, however, Fruit Brute has had the most unusual trajectory. Touted for its “howlin’-good taste of fruit” and featuring a lovable werewolf character, the brand was first discontinued in 1982 and replaced by Fruity Yummy Mummy in 1988.
Though production of Fruity Yummy Mummy ceased in 1992, the original Fruit Brute brand reportedly made brief appearances in two Quentin Tarantino movies, 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs” and 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.”
Since then, Fruit Brute has enjoyed the distinction of being one of the most sought-after vintage cereals by collectors, thanks to its relatively brief shelf life and noteworthy references in pop culture. The brand was last available for a limited time in 2013.