The untold truth of Sugar Crisp

Not all breakfast cereals can be as healthy as Grape-Nuts or muesli but sometimes a sugary bowl of goodness can be exactly what you need, whether it's good for you or not. Enter Sugar Crisp. This devilishly sweet cereal was introduced to the North American market in 1949 (via Post Consumer Brands). 

As strange as it may sound to modern ears, this cereal was actually initially marketed as a health food (via True or Better), which is a little odd given that there was an ad campaign that went, "For breakfast it's dandy, for snacks it's like candy!" The cereal has been more or less the same recipe since its inception in the 1940s. The one exception was a spinoff called Super Orange Crisp, which included orange-flavored O's among the rest of the rest of the cereal. It was marketed as having more vitamin C in an ounce than in a glass of orange juice (via Mr. Breakfast).

Sugar Crisp: A dentist's enemy

In 1975, dentist Ira Shannon, presumably tired of seeing his patients' mouths full of cavities, decided that he was going to take a look at the sugar content in this beloved cereal. His lab work showed that Super Orange Sugar Crisp, a spinoff on the original, was comprised of 71 percent pure sugar (via Jonathan Kieran). 

If you'd like to compare, just to give an idea of how sweet this actually is, a Hershey's chocolate bar is "only" 51 percent sugar (via International Sugar Stabilization Act). This reputation held up over time, as well. More than 30 years later, in 2008, a comparison of 27 breakfast cereals found that Golden Crisp was one of two brands with the highest amount of sugar at more than 50 percent by weight (via Consumer Reports). The report, which was designed to demonstrate how much sugar is in food commonly eaten by children, noted that this is about the same amount of sugar in a glazed Dunkin' doughnut.

A whirlwind of name changes for Sugar Crisp

You would assume that marketing experts would tell you that name brand recognition only works if you keep the name. This concept was difficult for Sugar Crisp, which became later known by a variety of names including Super Sugar Crisp and Super Golden Crisp. Though many adults remember this sweet puffed rice cereal from their childhood as Sugar Crisp, these days it's actually being marketed as Golden Crisp in the United States, though it's still called Sugar Crisp in Canada. 

The name change from Sugar Crisp to Golden Crisp was part of a larger health-conscious shift away from using the word "sugar" in breakfast cereals. Frosted Flakes, for example, wasn't always known as Frosted Flakes — at its beginning, the official name was Sugar Frosted Flakes. But apparently Canadian focus groups weren't put off by the saccharine name of the cereal, so Sugar Crisp got to keep its sugary name.

Cool Sugar Bear

Every cereal needs a good mascot. From Tony the Tiger representing Frosted Flakes to Lucky the Leprechaun who will forever be associated with Lucky Charms, the two go hand in hand like cereal and milk. Sugar Crisp is not alone in this regard, and the cereal was has been represented since the beginning by Sugar Bear, voiced by Gerry Matthews for more than four decades. 

He's got a number of catchphrases, such as "Can't get enough of that Sugar Crisp," and "It's got the crunch with the punch." In the 1980s, Sugar Bear developed a superhero persona and when he ate Sugar Crisp, much in the same way that Popeye gains superhuman strength by eating spinach, and the mascot went from Sugar Bear to Super Bear. Sugar Bear used to sport a blue sweater, but when he went through his Super Bear transformation, he began sporting a red hoodie instead (via Pop Price Guide).