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Kellogg’s boss under fire for pushing cereal for dinner to cash-strapped shoppers

CEO Gary Pilnick is facing backlash for the advice that critics branded ‘dystopian’

Julia Reinstein
Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:14 GMT
Kellogg’s Ceo Advises To Eat Cereal For Dinner To Cash-strapped Shoppers

Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick has a tip for customers who can’t afford to feed their families: just eat cereal for dinner.

In a CNBC interview, Mr Pilnick spoke about the impact of the severe uptick in nationwide grocery prices and what the cereal company can do about it.

Since the pandemic, inflation has sent grocery prices soaring. According to US Department of Agriculture data, Americans spent 11.3 per cent of their disposable income on food in 2022, the highest rate in over 30 years.

Kellogg’s is mounting a legal challenge against new Government rules which would stop some of the company’s cereals being prominently displayed in food stores (JKellogg’s/PA) (PA Media)

To combat this, Kellogg’s is now promoting cereal as a dinner option for customers struggling to put food on the table, Mr Pilnick said.

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

Asked if this strategy had the potential to “land the wrong way,” Mr Pilnick disagreed.

“We don’t think so — in fact, it’s landing really well right now,” he said.

But it might not be landing as well as expected. Mr Pilnick is facing widespread backlash for the interview, with many calling it out for being out-of-touch and tone-deaf.

“This is so f—- dystopian,” one person said. “America is falling SOOOOO fast.”

“Let them eat cornflakes,” another wrote.

Many pointed out that, according to SEC filings, Mr Pilnick makes a salary of $1 million a year, plus an additional bonus of up to $4.4 million.

“I wonder if he thinks cereal is a nutritious enough dinner for his own family?” one person tweeted.

Kellogg’s “cereal for dinner” campaign isn’t completely new. They aired an advertisement promoting the idea in 2022, which featured Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger leading a family in a chant of, “When I say cereal, you say dinner!”

“Give chicken the night off,” a slogan at the end of the commercial stated.

Comments on the video posted to the company’s YouTube account have been turned off.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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