As healthy eating habits continue to take the country by storm, the New York City public school system has recently made waves by replacing some of their Kellogg’s brand cereals with a healthier alternative. Back to the Roots brand cereal, which is created by a small company from California, will be taking Kellogg’s place on school breakfast trays around the city.
The New York City public school system is one of the largest school systems in the nation, and district officials report that some 254,000 children eat breakfast at an NYC school every day.
Last year, Kellogg’s discontinued several types of their Kashi brand cereal. Two of these Kashi cereals had been featured on the public school system’s menus, prompting the need for replacement.
Kashi has often been advertised as Kellogg’s “healthier” cereal option. Kashi, of course, is really anything but healthy and the brand has come under fire in the past for their misleading labeling practices and use of questionable ingredients. For example, in 2015, it was found that their cereals contained high levels of glyphosate, and previous research found that they used GMO soy ingredients in their “GoLean” line of cereals.
Rather than simply choose some other products off of Kellogg’s vast line of cereals, school officials decided to hold a taste testing featuring new brands. Ultimately, Back to the Roots was chosen as the favorite, even by students. Better still, the newly chosen cereal company boasts lower amounts of sugar and sodium, as well as fewer calories overall, than any cereal by Kellogg’s. The new brand is also free from preservatives, contains no artificially added vitamins, and all of its cereals are certified organic.
For a breakfast cereal, which are notoriously processed, that’s a pretty good rap sheet.
Eric Goldstein, the chief executive of the Office of School Support Services, told The New York Times, “Breakfast is really important to us, and we’re trying to get our menu to where we want it to be. In the world we live in, though, there are so many constraints, so being able to offer Back to the Roots cereals for us is like a breath of fresh air.”
The choice to switch away from Kellogg’s was also driven by mounting pressure from Congress, the state, and parents. The demand for schools to make better choices about their school food programs is certainly high, there are no doubts about that.
Unfortunately, only two kinds of cereal on the district’s public school menus are being replaced. The school system will still be offering conventional choices from the likes of General Mills, Post Foods and even Kellogg’s. Regardless, school administrators do feel good about themselves for offering at least a few healthier choices.
However small the transition may seem, it appears that Kellogg’s cannot really afford to take any more financial hits. The company’s stock has practically been in free-fall, and the company has all but decimated their workforce. In February of this year, Kellogg’s announced that they would be closing up 39 distribution centers and laying off approximately 1,000 employees.
Massive cutbacks had already been announced in January, along with the firing of 250 employees — making the February announcement all the more alarming.
Breitbart reports that these cutbacks were announced after the cereal company openly decided to cut advertising with Breitbart News at the end of 2016. In November, Kellogg’s had said that Breitbart’s conservative readers were not “aligned with [their] values as a company.” Apparently, the news outlet’s 45 million readers heard this message loud and clear, as many joined boycotting efforts against the cereal giant.
Smaller companies that are offering alternative, healthy products will continue to make their way into the mainstream and garner more support — especially if food giants like Kellogg’s continue to drop the ball.