Thursday, July 31, 2008

THE END OF AN ERA?


Could be.
I have been a devoted consumer of General Mills' Honey Nut Clusters for many years - almost from the moment they first hit the market. For the uninitiated Honey Nut Clusters is what are actually fairly bland multi-grain flakes, infused with small "clusters" of sweetened nut fragments. Sounds great, huh? It matters not. I've come to love the damn things, or at least to depend on them.
Well, above is an image of what is likely my last box of Honey Nut Clusters. Fittingly, the small pewter statue before it is of Thomas Jefferson. Honey Nut Clusters have always represented for me "truth, justice and the American way." ( I know, that's a Superman thing, but I don't have a statue of Superman - pewter or otherwise. So Jefferson will have to do. Anyhow, I think old Tom would pretty much buy into the "truth, justice and the American way thingy, don't you?)
This all started about a year ago when I noticed to my horror that our neighborhood Kroger store no longer carried "Clusters." They were instead, opting for more of the varieties of GMs "Total" line up. (To me, the Total cereals taste more like so many variations of cardboard, but that's another story.)
Anyhow, I made a bee line to a nearby Marsh store, a large, local chain here in Indy, and to my delight, there on the shelf were several boxes of my beloved Honey Nut Clusters. So Marsh became my adopted source to satisfy my "Clusters" jones. But then, a couple of months ago they disappeared from the Marsh shelves as well. In desparation I scampered to a Meijer store. Finding them there, I stocked up with 4 or 5 boxes, but, soon after Meijer also stopped carrying them. My last local source, Wal-Mart just recently discontinued them as well. I did find a few boxes of "Clusters" at a Publix store in Gainesville, Florida a couple of weeks ago, but that's not particularly handy for me here in Indy.
At any rate, I have had conflicting responses from General Mills. An earlier email communication stated that Honey Nut Clusters were being discontinued. A more recent message stated that GM was still producing them, but that each store had to make choices regarding what products they do or do not carry, usually owing to strength of sales and/or how much display room they can dedicate to various products. But, hell, I've single handedly devoured enough of that stuff to keep the entire corporation and their retail outlets afloat!
I remain hopeful that I may yet stroll down a cereal aisle, look up and at least once more, find boxes of Honey Nut Clusters proudly gleaming in the ghastly flourescent light. Perhaps others, equally disturbed by the apparent demise of this great cereal will wage a campaign to "Save our Clusters!!!" Even so, it would likely be to no avail. For General Mill's part, I imagine they will say that it all amounts to just a business decision. As usual, "business" trumps love.
I have been desparately experimenting with other cereals - a new one hits the shelves about every week - but so far nothing has tickled my obligatto. Some are okay, some are god-awful. Sadly, none are Honey Nut Clusters.
Life is hell!
TLS

22 comments:

Sue said...

I have seen this happen in my town with other foods - and found what I was looking for at Amazon.com. What I found out is that shelf management in retail stores has become big business - no longer do stores buy and sell products, but producers pay the stores to put thier product in (and sometimes actually are responsible for re-stocking). The winning bidder can dictate who they share space with.

Terry S said...

Sue,

Yeah, there is a great (left? right? wing) conspiracy ongoing in our groceries.

If you noticed above, I did in fact find the cereal at one of the smaller (in Indy, at any rate) chain stores. Hope abounds!

TLS

CoCo said...

Amen Brother! Sadly, I did not have the last chance to stock up on Clusters, so I too scan every grocer's shelf in the hopes that a box of clusters will appear.

Terry S said...

CoCo,

I wrote a later post regarding our beloved "Clusters." In it I suggested that we all should contact both General Mills and our local retailers.

Actually, GM won't answer me any longer. I guess they've decided I'm a crank. I suppose they're right, but what the heck?

But, who knows? As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?

TLS

Anonymous said...

I love clusters ! Same thing happened in NYC. Most stores don's carry it except a few small places. When they get it in I buy the shelf. I did find a BOX of HONEY NUT CLUSTERS on the shelf but it did not have the beloved squirrel on it but it was made by general mills and it tasted the same - so i think they might be testing the demand and packaging.

I hope they still keep on making it I love the stuff!

Terry S said...

Hey anon,

If you check back, note that I have written 3 or 4 more recent articles about our beloved breakfast cereal.

I note that most recently I found Clusters at Meijer. If you have a Meijer in your community, check it out.

Yes, if you find some of my more recent articles, I have photos of both the traditional and newer box. Meijer has had both of these boxes on their shelf.

Clusters forever!

T

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