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Thursday, March 2, 2023

"They're Magically Delicious!"

It's March and March is known for St. Patrick's Day, so in honor of Ireland's greatest snake wrangler we're going to look at some retro pop-culture things with an Irish slant that managed to become timeless touchstones.  First up is Lucky Charms breakfast cereal!

Lucky Charms was first introduced by the General Mills company in 1964. The cereal is known for its distinctive shape, which includes toasted oat pieces in the shape of hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, moons, and diamonds, and also for its colorful marshmallow shapes.

The idea for Lucky Charms came from John Holahan, who was the product development director at General Mills at the time. Holahan believed that adding marshmallows to cereal would be a unique and interesting idea that would appeal to children. He was inspired by a recipe for a treat made from Cheerios and bits of candy.

The original marshmallow shapes included pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. The cereal was an instant hit with kids, and General Mills continued to add new marshmallow shapes over the years, including red balloons, blue diamonds, purple horseshoes, and more. 

It was one of the first cereals to have a mascot, a leprechaun named Lucky, who was introduced in 1964. The character has evolved over the years, but he still appears on the cereal box today, although there was that time in the mid-70s when Waldo, the absent-minded wizard, gave Lucky a brief run for his money. Waldo, in fact, was more popular in his New England test market than Lucky. Thankfully, within a year Waldo was shelved and Lucky was here to stay.
Today, Lucky Charms is still a popular breakfast cereal, and it is sold in many countries around the world. Over the years, General Mills has introduced many different varieties of the cereal, including Chocolate Lucky Charms, Frosted Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Lucky Charms, among others.  However, success breeds imitation and several cereal companies have tried to copy the idea of Lucky Charms over the years, inspiring many other companies to create similar cereals with marshmallow shapes.

One example is Kellogg's, which introduced a similar cereal called "Froot Loops with Marshmallows" in 1992. This cereal featured the traditional Froot Loops cereal pieces, but with the addition of small marshmallows in various shapes and colors.  Post Cereals introduced a similar cereal called "Marshmallow Pebbles" in 2009. This cereal was a variation of their popular Fruity Pebbles cereal, but with the addition of small marshmallow shapes. In fact, many store brands and generic brands have also created similar cereals with marshmallow shapes, often using names with "marshmallow" or "magic" in their name.

However, despite the competition, Lucky Charms remains one of the most popular and iconic cereal brands of all time.

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