WK Kellogg CEO Causes Outrage Over 'Cereal for Dinner' Comments

Some consumers calling for 3-month boycott on products
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Kellogg cereal
WK Kellogg Co CEO Gary Pilnick’s suggestion that consumers eat cereal for dinner in a bid to save money on groceries has not gone over well with consumers.

After his interview with CNBC last week, WK Kellogg Co CEO Gary Pilnick has come under fire for suggesting inflation-weary families should eat cereal for dinner.

Pilnick said that the cereal-making company was advertising cereal for dinner to consumers looking for more affordable options. “Give chicken the night off,” the ad’s tagline reads. 

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

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

Although breakfast foods are transcending the morning hours, Pilnick's comments didn’t go over well with consumers, as many are struggling to pay the high food prices at grocery stores. 

[RELATED: Grocers Under Fire For High Food Prices]

On Reddit, some people complained about the cost of cereal, corporate profits and "shrinkflation" — where the amount of food in a package is reduced, but the price stays the same — while others noted that the sugary breakfast food isn’t actually a good substitute for a nutritious meal,” according to The Washington Post.

In response, some shoppers are taking action. According to MarketWatch, outraged consumers pointed out that the cereal and snack company had raised its own prices in recent years and called for a three-month boycott of Kellogg’s products.

The boycott, proposed on TikTok, would run from April 1 to June 30 and calls for customers to purchase products from other companies to send Kellogg’s a message during the second quarter of its fiscal year. They’re also demanding that Kellogg’s lower its prices. 

WK Kellogg released its latest financial results last month. The company reported full-year 2023 net sales of $2,763 million, an increase of 2.5% year over year. Full-year 2023 stand-alone adjusted net sales were $2,739 million, a 2.8% increase year over year. WK Kellogg also reported a substantial increase in its full-year net income. It was $110 million, which led to stand-alone adjusted EBITDA margin of 9.4%, exceeding guidance. The company’s adjusted EBITDA growth is projected to be between 3.0% to 5.0% for 2024.  

After its planned split from its snacking businesses, WK Kellogg's portfolio consists of Kellogg's, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Mini-Wheats, Special K, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Kashi and Bear Naked. Meanwhile, the global snacking, international cereal and noodles, plant-based foods, and North American frozen breakfast business is now known as Kellanova

Earlier this month, WK Kellogg shared details with Progressive Grocer of its new sustainable business strategy, Feeding HappinessThe strategy is a three-pronged approach centered on the intent to “Make Eating Well Easy,” “Help Kids Be Their Best” and “Better Our Communities.” Among other goals, the framework is designed to increase the number of people reached through feeding initiatives, provide children with learning and play opportunities, and advance the company's science-based sustainability targets. 

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