Amidst great fanfare this summer, Kellogg’s finally released its Green Onion flavored Chex breakfast cereal. I ignored it. Didn’t care. We had masks and social distancing to worry about. I was trying to set up a backyard pool with a friend to create a makeshift summer getaway.
Then another friend insisted we try it. She may be part of the fanatics who lobbied for 16 years to manifest this flavor after an election was stolen by Kellogg’s. In 2004, the packaged food company created a mock presidential campaign that asked consumers to vote for a new flavor. The two ‘candidates’ were chocolate and green onion. It was supposed to be rigged! It was supposed to be a democratic sham! It was obvious who would win!
But Korean consumers exercised their right to vote their true desires. And in large numbers they actually voted for Green Onion! However, Kellogg’s saw how the votes were going and halted the polls and threw out votes – claiming they were fraudulent. And they declared chocolate the winner!
Well, you know how people can hold grudges. Especially when they feel wronged. And I’ve been surprised to see that some people easily hold resentment for over a decade. Whether this was sheer anger or super fandom, who knows? But people have been lobbying each time Chex had a new flavor. They would ask, ‘But what about Green Onion?’
Now they did it. I tried it. I leave the video review for you below to make your own decisions. Nonetheless, it is inspiring that breakfast cereal fans did not forget a stolen election.
And why did they vote Green Onion? My theory is based on my ‘when snack food starts resembling real food economic indicator’ index. If you have to have banana flavored milk because you can’t afford bananas (Korea), and if you have philly cheesesteak chips because you can’t afford the sandwich (U.S.), then you know your economy is hurting. Like who would eat philly cheesesteak chips with a philly cheesesteak? It’s only cuz you can’t have the real thing that you have the chips.
On the flip side, when you have flavors that are increasingly disconnected from real food concepts, the economy is in good shape. The more abstract the flavors, the more booming the economy. Remember we were eating rainbows in Lucky Charms? No starving people eat rainbows! And drinks came as corporate poetry… remember Capri Sun? That’s not even food. It’s the concept of sunshine. At an expensive sea side resort! Squeeze It drinks? Those weren’t just juice, but toys too because the economy was so good. And the flavor Strawberry Cooler? Who cares about the strawberry… it’s the hope of refreshment that’s more important. That’s leisure food. Rich nation food.
Anyhow, decades ago people were hungry. They were still recovering from the IMF crisis. That’s probably why they wanted to eat a cereal that resembled a real meal for breakfast. Besides, green onion is one of the strong base flavors for soups we usually had for a Korean breakfast that was ‘part of a complete meal’. A real complete meal.