The return of Frute Brute
By Mark Voger, author
‘Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze in America 1957-1972’
Happy Halloween! It’s always fun to walk into a supermarket and buy a box of Franken Berry. This only happens around Halloween time. For the other 10 months of the year, we just have to suffer. Each year, General Mills tries to do something new, something exciting, with its monster cereal line. But after the Monster Mash cereal of 2021 — which combined Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy in one box — I’m not really psyched about what General Mills has cooked up for this year.
Basically, we’re all supposed to go gaga over the box art (plus related novelty prizes of some sort) by the artist known as KAWS. I don’t really get it. Is he the Andy Warhol of the 2020s? The Peter Max? Do people think KAWS is cool because Kanye — a person known for making impeccable choices — collects his artwork? Not to sound all “Emperor’s New Clothes,” but it looks to me like KAWS just traced the original art with a scratchy inking style, and then added X’s for eyes.
There is one cool development this season, though. For 2022, General Mills has brought back Frute Brute, which debuted in 1974 but hadn’t been seen on shelves since 2013. (BTW, the cereal was originally spelled Fruit Brute. Hmmmm.)
Here’s a closeup of the product. According to the box copy, Frute Bruit is an “artificially cherry flavored sweetened cereal.” This was my first-ever box of Frute Brute. To be honest, I thought it tasted a bit cough syrupy, and I have a high tolerance for sugary stuff. I much prefer Franken Berry.
Here’s my box of Frute Brute. Boy, will I be sorry when unopened boxes go for thousands of dollars!
Monster Mash cereal is not returning in 2022, but the brand is back with Monster Mash Fruit Flavored Snacks. The candy likenesses are all spot-on except for that of Frute Brute, the yellow one, which I can’t quite make out.
I’d love to try these, but there’s only so much tempting-of-fate one can do using the Halloween excuse. At least at this age.
Here are some of the other monster cereals on offer for the 2022 Halloween season. (Some are returnees with tweaked box art.) Run, don’t walk, to the nearest supermarket, where remaining boxes of these cereals will be discounted. Garsh, this is a fun time of year.
UPDATE: Based on my personal observations, the Frute Brute relaunch was a fail. At my local Lidl on Nov. 2, boxes of Franken Berry and Frute Brute sold for $1.19 per (listed as “Spooky Cereals” on the receipt). Within a week, Franky was gone, but many boxes of Frute Brute were being sold by the cash register … for 50 cents.
Here’s a “Pixie’s Playhouse” report on 2022 monster cereals. Pixie eats some Frute Brute and gives it her endorsement. Agree to disagree.
Here’s the original TV ad for Frute Brute from 1974. Franken Berry sounded like Boris Karloff, Count Chocula sounded like Bela Lugosi, and Frute Brute sounded like … Jimmy Durante?