Cereal For Dinner Is Not A Solution To Rising Grocery Costs

Comments made by Kellogg's CEO have ruffled some feathers.

The rising price of groceries has been an endless source of concern for many, which means that people are keeping an extra-close tab on how much they're spending at the store. Even though inflation is cooling off, American households are still spending over 10% of their income on food—which is why a recent comment by Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick has caused some users on the internet to get a little grouchy.

Kellogg’s CEO suggests “cereal for dinner” is a solution for families on a tight budget

During a recent interview with CNBC, Pilnick speaks to that age-old question of what to eat for dinner. He suggests that families strapped for cash can always reach for a relatively affordable option: a box of Corn Flakes.


"If you think about the cost of cereal for a family versus what they'd otherwise do, that's going to be much more affordable," Pilnick said.

TikTok users had plenty to say about that. One user, @5149jamesli, said in a video response to Pilnick, "This fool making four million bucks a year. You think he's feeding his kids cereal for dinner?" The user goes on to posit that large corporations like Kellogg's have been using inflation as an excuse to gouge consumers with high prices—and then use that profit to buy back shares of its own company, which drives stock prices up and delivers added value to shareholders.

Some TikTok commenters go on to point out that the rising price of cereal means you might not really be saving as much money as you think by eating this "modest" dinner. One user said, "Cereal is one of the first things I stopped buying when prices started going up. I don't think this guy knows how much his products actually cost."


Even though the price of some cereals have gone down, items like Corn Flakes remain expensive—a family size 18-oz. box costs $7 at my local grocery store, and that's not even taking the price of milk into consideration.

Even the CNBC interviewer, Carl Quintanilla, challenges Pilnick on these comments. "The idea of having cereal for dinner, is there the potential for that to land the wrong way?"

"We don't think so," Pilnick responded. "It's landing really well right now." In fact, these weren't just off-the-cuff comments from Pilnick. "Cereal for dinner" has been a marketing concept that Kellogg's has embraced since all the way back in 2022, when a press release said that parents can "give chicken the night off" and opt for cereal as an easy, stress-free family dinner solution. There was even a sweepstakes attached: Customers could win $5,000 and a year's supply of Kellogg's products by posting Instagram pics of their family enjoying cereal for dinner with the hashtag #KelloggsCerealforDinnerEntry.

Even when grocery prices are bad, there are always deals to be found, like the perennial $5 rotisserie chicken at Costco—likely a more filling meal than Corn Flakes. And of course, there are store brand options at chains like ALDI that can help consumers stretch a dollar further.


We've all been there: Cereal for dinner can be a good option whenever you don't feel like cooking a single damn thing. But as a solution for high grocery prices, well, there are some things a bowl of Apple Jacks just can't fix.