Gear Reviews

Smart Start

Breakfast Cereal


Those of you who watch cereal box design will know that, though the ’90s saw a great explosion of printing techniques (mostly to do with stamping of metallic and holographic foils), things have sort of settled down into the same old boring rut. Cereal aisles have become a glittering, shiny discotheque filled partly with disco explosions and the remainder with muted earthy goodness. Kelloggs is seizing this lull in design innovation to launch an all-new attack on the carbohydrate-consuming public. The first thing that draws your eyes to the box is its dignified quiet of white (white!), pale blue, and a tasteful bit of red.

However, once your retinas have adjusted to the polar qualities of Smart Start, you notice Kelloggs’ death-blow, their rope-a-dope: The box is proportioned slimmer than traditional cereal boxes, like a legal-sized sheet among letter-sized papers. The genius! First of all, it instantly (and quite effectively) conveys the superior slimming qualities of Smart Start against all other, stockier cereal boxes, who dress loudly to boot. Second, a slimmer box means less cereal. Compared to similarily-tall boxes, Smart Start had between 3 and 6 ounces less than its heftier brethren. Someone at Kelloggs is moving up the corporate ladder fast because of this one.

Beyond these qualities, Smart Start is patently the breakfast equivalent of Fruitopia. Proudly featuring a trademarked “Carpe Diem” badge (the irony is lost on Kelloggs, I believe), the box copy on the back will make you feel as comfortable with your purchase and ingestion as a hospital ad.

But how’s the cereal taste? you ask. Pretty good, actually. Structured as a flake-and-cluster variation, the all-grain (no nuts or fruit) Smart Start is sweetened close to my taste, and has a some sort of treatment that allows it to stay crunchy in milk without reducing your palate to strips. After having a couple bowls, I’m finding my old favorite, Honey Nut Shredded Wheat on the cloying side of sweet.

The cereal I got came with an introductory price, which made it a good deal despite its weight impairment. I don’t know if I like the idea of less bang for my buck once the debut pricing wears off.

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