Fruit Brute

This is one of the cereals that many people have forgotten that General Mills made during its Monster Cereal marketing and creation process. While Count Chocula and Franken Berry have remained familiar to most people, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy have largely been forgotten by cereal lovers everywhere. This is partly because of the success of other parts of the Monster Cereal lineup and partially because these two variants were not marketed heavily or in production for as long as the more popular parts of the cereal lineup.

For many people, telling them that there was a cereal called Fruit Brute elicits a response of, “really?” or “when?”. This is not the standard mode of operation of General Mills, which has been the major driving force behind many of the most innovative and fun cereals ever to have been made in the United States, but the on and off again nature of Fruit Brute production has led to this outcome.

Fruit Brute

History of Fruit Brute

This cereal was introduced to join Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry in 1974. It was then discontinued again in 1982 and was replaced by Fruity Mummy Yummy. This version was discontinued in 1992. The other central figures of the Monster Cereal lineup continued to be made all year round until 2021 when they were sold seasonally for the first time to cover the autumn/ Halloween season.

Fruit Brute was a frosted and fruit-flavored version of the original Monster Cereals and the mascot was a werewolf. There were lime-flavored marshmallows in the cereal and when it was relaunched it included cherry-flavored cereal with marshmallows. When the cereal was discontinued in 2014, it had barely made an impression over the years, possibly because werewolves were not as culturally popular as Dracula and some of the other mascots had been.

The tagline for the cereal was “The Howling Good Taste of Fruit” and the original mascot was cartoony just like the other mascots had always been. The flavor profile might have been part of the trouble with the original cereal since the other cereals promised you chocolate milk or strawberry milk when you were done eating your cereal. Lime-flavored milk is a harder concept to sell and it appears that the mascot just didn’t really connect in the same way that the others did, even after relaunching.

In 2013, when the cereals were all given a facelift by General Mills with the help of DC comics, Fruit Brute reappeared, but this time as Frute Brute. All of the boxes got a new cartoon look that was modern and aligned more with the current animation styles that consumers expect. Frute Brute will likely be included in the coming 2021 release of a cereal that combines all of the flavors and characters which will be called Monster Mash.

Fruit Brute in Popular Culture

While not necessarily a well-known cereal among cereal lovers, this cereal has made a few film appearances that were memorable. One of these appearances was in the 1992 Quentin Tarantino film, Reservoir Dogs where it showed up in Tim Roth’s apartment. It was used again by Tarantino in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. This might have been the first that some people even knew about this unique part of the monster cereal lineup.

Fruit Brute Campaigns

When Fruit Brute was first introduced to the cereal lineup, Franken Berry and Count Chocula had been verbally sparring for years in commercials where they argued about who was scarier and then got scared by children in return. When Fruit Brute joined them, the commercials were changed to offer up commercials that showed Count Chocula angrily asking who the interloper was.

Fruit Brute would say he was part of the lineup of cereals that made for a nutritious breakfast. Fruit Brute would then howl and a chandelier would fall on the two more familiar mascots. When they ran off the screen in a fluster, Fruit Brute would say his tag line, “with the howling good taste of fruit” and the commercial would end.

Fruit Brute was also included in all of the many toys and game advertising efforts that went into delivering fun toys to the cereal boxes on shelves. This was a very common way of helping sell more cereal in the days of the first kid-focused cereals and Fruit Brute’s toys and games were included in boxes of the cereals that were sold in grocery stores.

Light plate switches, spinner boxes, games, action figures, cars, and more were all made for each mascot and then were included in the boxes of cereals as a prize or were sold or awarded through the presentation of a box top from the cereal or a coupon that was inside the box instead of the toy itself. Because this was not the most popular of the cereals, you will not see many people talking about their Fruit Brute toys and games, but these are worth more money than the other more familiar mascot’s items when sold on eBay and through other vendors.

Fruit Brute boxes that are vintage era are the most sought-after boxes of the lineup and this is largely due to the fact that this cereal box was featured in the Tarantino movies. The recreated boxes might also end up being collector’s items as it is not clear how long Fruit Brute will be on the market this time around. This appears to be one of those cereal varieties that will not have staying power, but maybe with the new box and the recent affection in popular culture for werewolves, Frute Brute will be more successful than Fruit Brute was.

Fruit Brute Ingredients

From the Walmart online sales entry:

  • Whole grain corn
  • Corn meal
  • Sugar
  • Marshmallows (Sugar, modified corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, calcium carbonate, red 40, yellow 5 & 6, Blue 1, artificial flavor)
  • Corn syrup
  • Canola and/Or Rice bran oil
  • Salt
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Red 40
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • BHT added to preserve freshness

This is a large box and the values of the box will be more nutritionally than the average or standard size boxes.

Fruit Brute and Franken Berry Stools

Fruit Brute and all of the other cereals found themselves at the center of a medical crisis not long after the release of the cereals. Franken Berry and all of the cereals were made with a red dye that did not break down when it was consumed. This led to children that were displaying pink stools and there was fear that there was some kind of new disease that was causing intestinal bleeding in children.

Eventually, a doctor realized that this was the result of the dye that was included in the cereal lineup, and the cereals were forced to be recreated without the offending dye that caused the now-famous medical crisis. There were many children who loved Monster Cereals who were treated incorrectly for intestinal concerns during the early years of this General Mills product.

While the other cereals were not blamed for the crisis like Franken Berry, they could just have easily been causing the same outcome when eaten by children. Franken Berry just happened to be the cereal of choice for the child that was first diagnosed with the condition and so the attribution became Franken Berry’s alone.

Fruit Brute Flavor

At the center of the probable demise of Fruit Brute and Fruity Mummy Yummy was the flavor profile that they offered. These cereals were made with many different fruit flavors, and the original Fruit Brute included lime, which is not often popular with small children.

The new cereal’s flavor will likely appeal to many more people than the original flavor profile did, but there were already many fruity kinds of cereal that were taking up a lot of space in the fruit cereal arena. This continues to be the case as classics like Trix and Fruit Loops have continued to dominate this space with ease ever since their inception. It is probable that Fruit Brute did poorly what Trix did well, and in the early days, this was too much for the cereal to be successful.

The flavor profile is a big part of why people are suspicious that the cereal will again not make a huge wave in the fruity cereal world. It will be less obvious since the cereal will only be sold during part of the year just like all the other Monster Cereals, but it will be interesting to see if Fruit Brute can carve out a place for itself in a world full of fruity and sugary cereals that already fulfill this need. The new box and the improved sales planning for the monster cereals will also probably help push forward Fruit Brute so that those who have missed it since their childhood can enjoy it again.

Fruit Brute Commercials

Monsters Go Disco ad:

Classic Count Chocula ad:

Fruit Brute first ad:

A compilation of Monster Cereal ads:

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