Pharos-Tribune

Columns

October 15, 2013

MARCUS: Breakfast competition mirrors capitalism

It was after 4 o’clock and Myrtle my muse was late. “What kept you so long?” I asked peevishly.

“I was busy,” she responded curtly. “You know, I do have a life, and I also have other writers who need me. So if I took a little extra time with breakfast, don’t get tough with me, buster.”

From experience, I knew to keep my displeasure to myself from here on. “I’m glad to see you,” I said meekly.

“What are you going to write about?” Myrtle asked. Before I could answer: “I don’t know, and if I did know, why would I need a muse?” She gave me a look that froze my vocal cords.

“Breakfast,” she said. “Write about breakfast. One industry executive estimates it’s a $100 billion market, but no one really knows. Plus breakfast is capitalism with its most potent impact on American culture.”

“Breakfast is eggs or cereal,” I said. “What’ the big deal there?

“Competition, knuckle-head,” she said. “Did you ever walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery?

Look at all those choices. Feel the battle for shelf space. Is General Mills beating out Kellogg’s?

“You have to sense the power of liquid breakfast foods taking a bigger share in the market. Meanwhile the pancake and waffle packages are on the shelves in both the regular aisles and the frozen food cases. Eggs are teaming up with bacon and other meats to get your attention.

“Don’t forget the doughnuts,” she called as she made her exit. And I could just hear her say “milk versus coffee” as she faded away.

I was left thunder-struck. Quickly I fired up the computer and found bakingbusiness.com where I learned that “in the first half of fiscal 2014 General Mills will launch Vanilla Chex and Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream, which will join the recently introduced Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch.”

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