Backlash as Kellogg’s CEO suggests cash-strapped consumers eat cereal for dinner

A major cereal producer is receiving backlash over insensitive advertising campaign. Source: Getty Images.

Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick is facing significant backlash as the cereal producer’s latest advertising campaign fails to be seen favorably on and offline with some even calling for a boycott of the massive US food processing giant.

Kellogg’s produces sugary cereal brands such as Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes.

The ad campaign offending shoppers around the globe is peppered with cheerful taglines such as “Give chicken the night off” and encourages families to eat cereal for dinner instead.

Speaking to CNBC last week, Pilnik defended the corporation’s advertising campaign saying it was targeting consumers who are looking for more affordable dinner options.

“The cereal category has always been quite affordable, and it tends to be a great destination when consumers are under pressure,” he said.

“If you think about the cost of cereal for a family versus what they might otherwise do, that’s going to be much more affordable.”

When asked by CNBC host Carl Quintanilla whether the campaign could “land the wrong way” with people, Pilnik thought the opposite.

“In fact, it’s landing really well right now,” he said.

“Cereal for dinner is something that is probably more on trend now, and we would expect to continue as that consumer is under pressure.”

The public did not agree with this sentiment voicing their concerns about Pilnik and Kellogg’s’ irresponsible campaign messaging.

“Yes, high carbs and high-fructose corn syrup for dinner – what could go wrong?” one said in response.

“This messaging is blasphemous considering the United States’ obesity metrics. Eating excessive amounts of sugar is determinantal to your health. Pay the grocer, not the pharmacists.”

“I know he’s not suggesting Kellogg’s cereal? That’s the most expensive thing on the aisle.”

“While y’all are struggling let’s not let it affect my profits.”

“I bet he’s eating a thousand dollar steak for dinner though.”

In Australia rising food prices continue to be a growing concern for shoppers, however, Prime Minister Albanese assured cash-strapped shoppers earlier this year that the government is committed to reducing the cost of essential goods. 

Speaking to ABC TV, Albanese said, “We know that when we’ve seen a reduction in the cost to supermarkets, that hasn’t been passed on in an appropriate way to consumers and we want to make sure that happens.”

Albanese was referring to a federal enquiry into escalating grocery prices which is gaining momentum.

“Everything is on the table because we want to make sure that customers benefit,” he said.

The review, initiated in October 2023, focuses on the effectiveness of the supermarket industry code, which governs the behaviour of retailers and wholesalers toward suppliers.

Allegations of price gouging have fuelled concerns, prompting the government to consider strengthening consumer rights as a potential outcome.

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