Plastic Free Cereal

GrapeNuts“Oh look,” I said, casually perusing the supermarket yesterday.  “Grape-Nuts has new packaging.”

Silence fell upon the cereal aisle as Grant and I realized the implications of what I had just said and turned to each other at exactly the same moment with a look of terrible comprehension on our faces.

“Oh no, ” we said simultaneously.  He grabbed the box and opened the top flap.  Sure enough, nestled inside the new box was a plastic bag of cereal.

Now, if you’re from the States or elsewhere, you might be thinking “what’s the big deal”, but if you are from Canada you will know that Grape-Nuts is one of the few breakfast cereals you can buy here without plastic packaging.  Yep, while their American counterparts have been suffocating in plastic bags, our little Canadian Grape-Nuts have been free-flowing inside their cardboard box which has made them a favorite with us here at the Clean Bin Project.  (you can only make homemade granola and musli so often you know)

Grant and I love Grape-Nuts and their plastic free packaging so much that I actually wrote a letter to Post saying thanks for staying plastic free (and why the heck don’t you make bigger boxes) a couple months ago.

And then it hit me.  Maybe it was my fault?  Maybe the upper executives had no idea about the lack of plastic, and my friendly  thank you letter alerted them to this packaging anomaly?  Maybe I was responsible for the addition of excess packaging?!

After visiting their pretty hilarious website, I called the Post Cereal company.

I talked to a nice man with a heavy Southern drawl named Mike who  informed me that they have recently switched to plastic liners because people had been complaining that individual Grape-Nuts had been escaping from the boxes.  Really people?  Are we collectively lodging mass complaints about this issue?  Because if so, I think we should also be lodging complaints about all of a sudden plastic wrapping of food that has existed plastic-free for 100 years. (Bet ya didn’t know it was that old eh?)  Call 1-800-431-POST.

And don’t get me started on how plastic preserves freshness.  Grape-Nuts is, by definition, a dried breakfast cereal.  It doesn’t need to be kept “fresh”.  It’s not baby lettuce.

Anyway, it’s a sad day, because this is the first day that I will no longer be able to purchase this hearty and wonderful breakfast cereal with a clear plastic-free conscience.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Plastic Free Cereal

  1. Oh No! The exact same happened to me as well. My favourite cereal that had been in a cardboard box and they suddenly started putting a little plastic window in it.
    So glad you followed this up with a call…

  2. It’s not an ideal solution, but… can’t you recycle the plastic packaging anywhere?

    • You’re right. We can recycle the plastic packaging here in Vancouver (as long as you’re willing to take it to the depot yourself and pay a small drop fee). I just think that plastic can be used for better things than wrapping cereal.

      That said, I have noticed that most of the ‘eco’ brands choose plastic only (over the plastic and cardboard combo) because it is light-weight and waterproof. I guess that is 50% better than the box and liner deal.

  3. You’re right, as an American I have never seen cereal not in a plastic bag. Surprisingly, I actually never thought about it! Luckily I can put the plastic and the cardboard in with my recycling, but I agree it does not need to be there in the first place. once of these days I will start trying all of the cereal choices available at the natural food store, because I can bring my own bag and fill from their self-serve area.

  4. You're right, as an American I have never seen cereal not in a plastic bag. Surprisingly, I actually never thought about it! Luckily I can put the plastic and the cardboard in with my recycling, but I agree it does not need to be there in the first place. once of these days I will start trying all of the cereal choices available at the natural food store, because I can bring my own bag and fill from their self-serve area.;. All the best!!

  5. Erika

    In Montreal, the liners are not recyclable. Thanks for the follow-up and the phone number.
    Back to the natural foods store with the self-serve bins.

  6. Nate

    Just called Post and told them how ridiculous I find it that after a century they’d start using a plastic liner. Sadly, I can’t remember a time when they didn’t use one here in the US. I told them that I’m currently in the market for a cereal without a plastic liner, and if they made one available I’d eat it exclusively.

    Just curious though, have you found a good plastic-free replacement for Grape Nuts? I’m going… nuts… trying to find a liner/bag free cereal, and it seems that the only option is granola or muesli that has around twice the calories and is shipped all the way from Oregon or New York. -_-;

    • yay! maybe if enough of us write letters and call, they’ll change?

      We usually either make granola or buy in the bulk section (we can get shreddies in our local grocery store as well as granola). Grant likes wheetabix (paper liner, made in Ontario, and also available in organic), and I just found out that Quaker Muffets (shredded wheat) has a paper liner, so I’ve been eating that. When we’re really lazy we buy a huge plastic (eek) bag of Natures Path cereal figuring at least it’s organic, locally made and skips the needless double packaging of a box.

      Let me know if you find better options!

  7. I too, bemoan the presence of plastic liners in my beloved breakfast cereals. I usually stick to making hot cereal with oats packaged in paper. The only cold cereal I’ve managed to find without plastic is Quaker Muffets. They use a wax paper envelope inside a cardboard box. Hopefully you can find these in your area! Cheers, A.L.

    • Yup, sometimes I eat muffets, but they’re not my favorite since they get so mushy. Grant likes wheatabix (even mushier). lately I’ve been making a quick muesli with rolled oats, coconut, sunflower seeds and chopped nuts – all things I can get in bulk.

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