The untold truth of Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a popular cereal, and you probably have memories of eating it as a child (or even last week).

The cereal debuted in 1984 with the aim of replicating the flavor of cinnamon sugar toast. It began with a mascot (of sorts) in Chef Wendell, who appeared in the commercials beginning in 1987, occasionally along with two other bakery employees. Chef Wendell sang while he baked the cereal. In 1991, the other two bakery employees disappeared from commercials and boxes. According to General Mills, the manufacturer of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, they received feedback that led them to feature Chef Wendell more prominently (via Mental Floss).

Chef Wendell himself also disappeared from the boxes in 2009. He was replaced in 2010 with squares of the actual cereal that are known as "The Crazy Squares." If you look on the box, you'll see pieces of cereal with eyes and cinnamon swirls that create facial expressions.

In 2012, Cinnamon Toast Crunch changed the recipe slightly, which affected the nutritional content to increase the whole grains and decrease the amount of sugar and sodium. Thankfully, for its fans, the change did not seem to noticeably impact the flavor (via Consumerist).

Cinnamon Toast Crunch and its spin-offs

As with many of the popular sugary cereals, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has led to additional varieties of the cereal. The first addition was French Toast Crunch in 1995, which was, unsurprisingly, meant to taste like French toast. In 2004, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch was added, though this was later discontinued. There are currently five different flavors available: French Toast Crunch, Chocolate Toast Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros, Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch, and the original Cinnamon Toast Crunch (via Cinnamon Toast Crunch). Fun fact: Cheerios has the most spin-off cereals with 20 different varieties, including the dreaded pumpkin spice.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch definitely has its fans — it is the fifth best-selling cereal in the United States, and is the most popular cereal in 54 percent of states (via 11 Points).

French Toast Crunch was the most popular of the spin-off cereals, though it was still discontinued in 2006 due to low sales, only to be resurrected again in 2015 after years of customer feedback requesting it.

However, to nobody's surprise, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not a healthy cereal. CNN ranked it No. 11 out of the 13 most sugary cereals. It has nine grams of sugar per serving, falling just below Froot Loops and Reese's Puffs with 12 grams of sugar per 39 grams of cereal, and well above Rice Krispies, a healthier choice with four grams of sugar per serving.

Preservatives in Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Basically, 28 percent of the calories in Cinnamon Toast Crunch come from sugar. The cereal also contains the preservative butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) which is categorized as GRAS by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GRAS stands for "generally recognized as safe," which means that the preservative is considered safe in small amounts for its intended use, but no pre-market review was conducted, so the chemical went into food without additional review. 

An independent review after it was approved found that, "uncertainties exist, requiring additional studies be conducted." The National Toxicology Program has found links between BHT and both increases and decreases in cancer in animals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest puts BHT under "caution" in their categorization system. Anyone concerned about the chemicals they put in their body may want to wait for more research on BHT (Berkeley Wellness).

Speaking of unhealthy, a weird fact that can be filed under "kind of gross" is that you can vape Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Not only that, but multiple flavors are available for vaping. One is left to wonder why anyone would want to vape their breakfast cereal.

To further expand outside of cereal, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has released a set of bowls with #SquadGoals written on the side of the bowls (via Delish).

Cinnamon Toast Crunch around the world

For big Cinnamon Toast Crunch fans that are traveling, there is a possibility that you can get the cereal on your trip. It is sold in Canada, where French Toast Crunch was never discontinued. In Quebec, a French-speaking province of Canada, the cereal is called Croque-Cannelle. It is also sold in the U.K. and Ireland, where it is called Curiously Cinnamon. Curiously Cinnamon has its own spin-off cereal, Curiously Strawberry. You can even buy it in Poland, where it's called Cini Minis.

With the current issue of climate change in mind, the production of Cinnamon Toast Crunch does not have much of a negative impact on the environment. The box and plastic bag are both made of recycled materials, and these materials are often recycled by the consumer as well (via Prezi).

And, perhaps the most important fact about Cinnamon Toast Crunch is that it's Taylor Swift's favorite cereal (via Delish). She eats it as a comfort food (along with pop tarts, obviously).