Cinnamon Toast Crunch is doing ridiculously well during the pandemic

Illustration for article titled Cinnamon Toast Crunch is doing ridiculously well during the pandemic
Photo: effrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

We’ve received word of a website you just might want to visit. It’s FreeCTC.com. Though this URL might sound like some sort of shady credit score reporting service, “CTC” in fact stands for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, everyone’s favorite breakfast cereal whether they’re willing to admit it or not. And “Free CTC” refers to the fact that, throughout the month of September, the brand is giving away 1 million boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch—a promotion made possible by the fact that just about everyone is buying tons of breakfast cereal during the pandemic, and General Mills is cleaning up.

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Technically, this “free” Cinnamon Toast Crunch giveaway is a rebate program. You buy a box of the cereal, upload your receipt, and receive a reward code good for the amount you paid, redeemable as either a Venmo or snail mail payment. The fine print says the rebate will refund up to $6.50 excluding tax, and I sincerely hope none of you are paying more than that for a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch—though if you are, I can’t say I don’t understand you. There’s nothing quite like it.

What’s interesting is that this giveaway is the result of a crazy good Q4 for Cinnamon Toast Crunch parent company General Mills. From March to May of this year, the company’s cereal sales grew 26% in the U.S. “Families are eating cereal now more than ever,” reads a press release on the giveaway, and while there’s no actual mention of a global crisis that’s keeping us inside and seeking the most comforting foods imaginable, that’s definitely the subtext. Can you think of any other reason for marketing emails to include the phrase “now more than ever” in the year 2020?

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As for the growth of Cinnamon Toast Crunch specifically, the press release notes that “the brand is on fire.” A dessert classified as breakfast is certainly a perfect fit for the national moment, and it’s hard to say no to free food. (Seriously, though, does anyone actually call it CTC?)

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Xanthus179

I’m going to play the “old man” card here, but it just isn’t the same as it used to be. There used to be a pile of cinnamon sugar at the bottom of the box, and I remember eating the stuff with my hand and getting absolutely sticky.  There hardly seems to be a wisp of flavor to the cereal now, and barely any of the good stuff left in the box.