6 ’80s Breakfast Cereals That We Hated As Kids

6 ’80s Breakfast Cereals That We Hated As Kids | Society Of Rock Videos

via Decades TV Network / YouTube

A wave of sweet, marshmallow-filled, and frequently movie-licensed morning cereals ushered in the 1980s breakfast cereal golden age. Everything could be considered a suitable breakfast food at that time, including doughnuts, s’mores, and even ice cream. Not all of the cereals from this era were favored, even though nostalgia may cloud our recollections. These six 1980s cereals may not have been as tasty as we once believed, looking back.



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C-3PO’s aimed for the stars when it debuted in 1984, leveraging the enduring popularity of the Star Wars saga. The connection to the beloved franchise was the driving force behind the cereal’s market presence. The cereal itself featured two distinct shapes—akin to letters from our alphabet, not so much galactic symbols—promising to bring a piece of the Star Wars universe to breakfast tables. While BB-8 didn’t exist at the time, the shapes were perhaps a nod to droid design, but with the movie excitement fading, the tie-in wasn’t enough. The taste and nutritional substance of C-3PO’s, lost in the shadow of the marketing gimmick, left many bowls uneaten and memories of the cereal as a collectible over a breakfast staple.

Donkey Kong Junior

Donkey Kong Junior, the 1983 follow-up to the original Donkey Kong Cereal, tried to build on the pixelated success of its predecessor. Recreating the fruity flavor of bananas—a natural choice given the game’s primary character’s love for the fruit—this cereal transformed the iconic arcade game into a breakfast experience. However, what worked for the game didn’t translate as well to the cereal bowl. Despite its playful shapes and promise of a fruity feast, it lacked the pizzazz and taste needed to climb to the top of the cereal ladder, leading to it fading from shelves without the acclaim or fanfare of its digital influencer.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal

When Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal hit the shelves in 1988, it brought the charm of everyone’s favorite doughnut shop into the cereal bowl. Presented in two dessert-like varieties, Glazed and Chocolate, it seemed the perfect fusion of breakfast and sweet treat. The cereal replicated iconic doughnut shapes, resonating with fans of the famous chain. However, taste testers soon realized that the doughy delight of a real Dunkin’ Donut was lost in the translation to a crunchy cereal. It became clear that some things are better left un-cereal-ized, leading many to stick with a box of actual doughnuts for their sugary fix.

E.T. Cereal


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With Steven Spielberg’s E.T. still capturing hearts, the 1982 release of E.T. Cereal claimed to bring the character’s favorite flavors of chocolate and peanut butter to your spoon. The prospects seemed out-of-this-world for a Reese’s Krispies-esque success. Yet, despite this promising combination and the cinematic tie-in, E.T. Cereal didn’t manage to phone home the same level of success. It seemed that the magical connection between a young boy and his alien friend was a harder sell in cereal form, leaving E.T. Cereal as a brief visitor on the breakfast circuit.

Ice Cream Cones Cereal


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Entering the scene in 1987 with Ice Cream Jones at the helm, Ice Cream Cones Cereal took morning indulgence to a new level. It boldly embraced the dessert-for-breakfast concept, featuring chocolate chip flavors and even daring to include gumballs in the box. The cereal pieces, resembling tiny ice cream cones, were a dream come true for those with a sweet tooth. But this sugary dream was a bit too intense for the first meal of the day. It was the sort of treat that was fun to try once or twice before the realization hit that ice cream might be better savored as an afternoon delight rather than the day’s first fuel.

Nerds Cereal


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Lastly, Nerds Cereal in 1985 did what the candy was famous for—it presented a colorful and dual-flavor adventure. The packaging was instantly recognizable, inviting buyers to choose between Orange/Cherry or Grape/Strawberry. It was an exciting shift from mundane single-flavor cereals, catering to those who wanted variety with their morning munch. However, as dazzling as the concept was, the burst of sweetness was more akin to eating straight from the candy box rather than fueling up for the day. The intense sugar hit was a joy for the taste buds but ultimately was a bit too eclectic to become a mainstay in our morning routines.

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