Saturday, October 24, 2009

Whence "Froot"?

Q: How did Kellogg's come to call their fruit-flavored cereal Froot Loops, rather than, say, Fruit Loops or Früt Lüps?

A: Well, one popular explanation is that the Kellogg Company was forced to change the name from "Fruit Loops" because the cereal contained no fruit. But that's wrong. Search any news archive, and you'll find references to the name Froot Loops in the same year it was introduced: 1963. The Chicago Tribune said "An intriguing new fruit-flavored ready-to-eat oat cereal, called Froot Loops, has just been introduced by the Kellogg company" (the Tribune was easily impressed). In March of 1964, Froot Loops caught the eye of Time magazine, which also commented on Kellogg's (er, Kellog's . . . 's) ad campaigns of the day, featuring Cornfucius. Does Mad Men feature vaguely racist kids' jokes re-branded to sell cereal? It should. Anyway, a more likely explanation for the Froot name is that putting two o's in "Froot" makes it match better with "Loops," while adding even more cereal-shaped (and somewhat fruit-shaped) o's to the product's name.

Fun facts:

  • Some guy sued Kellogg's, claiming he thought Froot Loops contained actual fruit. He also claimed that the name "Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries" was misleading for the same reason - it is shockingly deficient in actual crunchberries.
  • Froot Loops were among the products endorsed by the Smart Choices food-labeling program, which is now, in what must be a huge coincidence, temporarily defunct.
  • "Froot Loops" is such a generic-sounding name that Froot Loops ripoffs are legally entitled to use incredibly similar names. Fruit Dots, anyone?
  • That Time article about Kellogg's is one of only two places I've heard cereal mentioned in association with the esophagus, the other being Schenectady Crispies.

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