A History of Yummy Mummy Cereal
Fun for your tummy, it's Fruit Yummy Mummy!
In the colorful kaleidoscopic of breakfast cereals, an unlikely brand emerged in the 1970s based on monsters, The Monster Cereals. In the late 1980s, a new creation would join this brand’s pantheon of spokesmonsters – Fruity Yummy Mummy. A colorful breath of fresh air from General Mills, Yummy Mummy brought yet another novel touch of the bizarre to the breakfast table. Reimagining the iconic horror figure, Imhotep, from Universal’s The Mummy, as a goofy fruit-slinging colorfully bandaged undead monster. While Fruity Yummy Mummy's reign was short-lived, its story is a fascinating chapter in the history of breakfast cereals.
To truly grasp the significance of Fruity Yummy Mummy, we must rewind to the early 1970s when General Mills unveiled their Monster Cereals line. Count Chocula and Franken Berry, inspired by Dracula and Frankenstein, made their delicious debut in 1971. These lovable monsters, with their chocolate and strawberry cereals respectively, became instant favorites with kids, setting the stage for the introduction of new characters like Boo Berry in 1973 and Fruit Brute in 1974.
While Frank, The Count, and Boo were in it for the long-haul, Fruit Brute was not so lucky. Like the other Monster Cereals, Fruit Brute was a flavored cereal with marshmallow bits. Despite its amazing werewolf mascot, Fruit Brute failed to capture the hearts of cereal lovers and was discontinued in 1982, leaving a void in the General Mills monster-themed cereal lineup.
In 1988, Yummy Mummy emerged from the ashes of Fruit Brute's failure. This vibrant mummy, adorned in colorful bandages, was introduced alongside a new gimmick called "Monster Mallows," which featured mega-sized marshmallows in all four cereals of the Monster Cereal line.
Now, I am not sure why, but a lot of online sources will point to 1987 as the launch year for Yummy Mummy. I believe this is false because looking at old commercials and newspapers, everything I have been able to find was from 1988. Maybe it had a test-launch a year earlier, but if it did, I haven’t been able to find any evidence of it. My guess is that people are getting the date from the 1987 copyright date on original cereal boxes. They say 1987, but the cereals packing dates are all 1988.
Here is further proof from the time. A newspaper ad from September 1988.
Another story floating around is that the cereal was originally released simply as “Yummy Mummy” and that they later rebranded it as “Fruity Yummy Mummy.” I cannot find a single official advertisement or older cereal box without the word “Fruity” on it. So, for now, I am going to assume that this is another fake fact.
A final questionable fact that has been floating around is whether General Mills intended Yummy Mummy to be part of their Monster Cereal lineup. Again, I am not sure where this came from, but based on the ads that ran from the start, both on TV and in print, I would say the answer is a resounding, “YES.” Yummy Mummy was intended to be a Monster Cereal.
As depicted in a 1988 television commercial promoting the cereal, Yummy Mummy was initially found in a tomb. This discovery took place when Count Chocula and Franken Berry accidentally broke through the side of a very non-Egyptian looking pyramid they were scaling.
In addition to this commercial, they took a page from Mad Magazine and started running print ads with a fold-in that revealed the new monster. It is a little obvious what the result is going to be, but it is still a great ad. Notice that in the ad, they say, “A New Monster Cereal! What is it?”
I was all for an attempt to revive a fruit-flavored Monster Cereal, even though I would have preferred a re-release of Fruit Brute. Still, it was an admirable attempt, but relatively short-lived, as Fruity Yummy Mummy faced discontinuation in 1992, leaving a whole new generation with a colorful mummy-shaped hole in their breakfast bowls.
Fast-forward to 2013, when General Mills decided to treat cereal enthusiasts to a nostalgic Halloween surprise. Both Fruity Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute, rebranded as Frute Brute, were resurrected for a limited time. This resurrection marked the first and only instance where all five Monster Cereals were available simultaneously.
To distinguish the resurrected cereals, General Mills changed the recipe. Frute Brute became cherry-flavored, while Fruity Yummy Mummy underwent a delightful transformation into an orange cream cereal. At the time, there was a lot of debate about the flavor change. I was on team “new flavor.” I think it just worked better as a cereal than the original recipe.
Accompanying the flavor overhaul were modern redesigns of the iconic mascots, blending contemporary aesthetics with retro charm. Target exclusives featured the original boxes, evoking a sense of nostalgia for fans of the classic Monster Cereals.
I was lucky enough to get all five flavors that year. Here you can see me relaxing and enjoying what was probably my eight bowl of cereal that day.
I was also featured on the General Mills Blog as a Monster Cereal fan.
While Fruity Yummy Mummy's reign as a breakfast cereal may have been short-lived, its vibrant packaging, colorful marshmallows, and unique flavor continue to evoke fond memories among cereal enthusiasts. It re-release was well-received, and many of us keep hoping to see it return to store shelves someday soon.
The quirky mummy may be a minor footnote into breakfast cereal history, but its legacy lives on as a testament to the creative and colorful world of breakfast cereals. Where even ancient mummies can find a home in our stomachs and hearts.
Thanks for reading The Retroist! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.