Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gronk Flakes vs. Flutie Flakes


As a kid I always loved those sugary sweet, tooth-rotting cereals that most kids would eat while watching Saturday morning cartoons.  we didn't always have stuff like Cap'n Crunch, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, Count Chocula or Honey Combs in our house, but whenever they were present they didn't tend to last very long.  I'm all "grown up" now, but I've never outgrown my sweet tooth tendencies (yes, I still have my teeth despite eating those cereals).  Nowadays  those kinds of breakfast treats are even more rare around our household.  The Wife is a big proponent of healthy eating (see Night of the Living Bread and He Who Spelt It Dealt It for more on that).  It's tough to criticize her for wanting our family to eat--and be--more healthy.  But I still need to give myself an occasional treat.  Sometimes that treat will be tooth-rotting cereal (see Return of the Monster (Cereals) for more on that).

Earlier in the week I was doing some shopping at our local grocery store with The Insane Beast (my younger daughter).  While I sort of feel that they're a bit deprived by not having them, I have to admit that I generally avoid exposing my children to the sweet cereals I loved when I was their age.  I figure, why start them on a path that is better off being avoided?  Anyway, while we were cruising down the cereal aisle I was confronted by a large display that was difficult to miss.  It was a case full of a brand new cereal--Gronk Flakes!  Not only was this stuff tough to miss, I also found it impossible to resist purchasing a box (despite the steep $3.99 price tag).

My box of Gronk Flakes

Why stop with the cereal when you can get the T-shirt too?
It was pretty obvious that these were simply going to be yet another Frosted Flakes knock-off.  They're usually not as good as the original, but the novelty of this was simply irresistible.  I live in New England.  Because of that fact, all the local teams (New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins) are my favorites.  Tight end Rob Gronkowski (the namesake of Gronk Flakes) is one of the rising young stars of the Patriots.

Rob Gronkowski spiking the ball after another touchdown
Putting his name and image on this cereal box meant that it would almost guarantee some good sales numbers, at least in the New England area.  I can only assume that this is a regional release only available around here (though I don't know that for sure).

While I'm not really supposed to be buying this kind of stuff, and while it was a bit on the pricey side for a cheapskate like myself, I  was able to rationalize my purchase because some of the proceeds from it are going to the Gronk Nation Foundation.  Why not buy some tasty cereal if it will help a good cause?  Right?  Right?  It turns out that these things had just become available (September 25).  Here's a story on them and the foundation from WBZ TV4 in Boston.

Information about the Foundation on the side of the box

This isn't the first time a sports figure has put their name and image on a cereal (or a multitude of other products) that's meant to help a good cause.  While there must be hundreds of examples of this happening, seeing Gronk Flakes brought back a memory of something that was very similar in nature--Flutie Flakes.

The first style of Flutie Flakes box

One of my personal "Second Edition" Flutie Flakes boxes
from the late 1990s
I'm not exactly sure what was "New & Improved" about the flakes in this box--they tasted the same to me.

No T-shirts here, but you could get a Flutie Flakes hat and/or football!
And I believe that there were T-shirts available at some point

Doug Flutie was a quarterback ho was another big star in the New England area.  He was actually from Natick, Massachusetts and led Boston College to a huge win over Miami University in 1984 with a Hail Mary pass that has become legendary and which was probably the key to Flutie being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  He played in the now-defunct United States Football (USFL) and then the NFL.  He didn't have much success quarterbacking the Chicago Bears and found himself returning to home with the New England Patriots.  While very popular, he still didn't have much success with the Patriots.  He was always considered too short to be an effective NFL quarterback.  A very long and very successful career in the Canadian Football League (CFL) followed.  In the late-1990s Doug finally returned to the NFL when he was signed by the Buffalo Bills.  He finally tasted some level of NFL success and then played for the San Diego Chargers before returning "home" and finishing his football career by playing a final season with the New England Patriots.  There is a road in Natick near the big mall in town that is named after Doug.  It's called Flutie Pass (get it?).

Doug Flutie in his Boston College days

Flutie in his first stint with the Patriots

And finishing up his long career with a second stop in New England
Flutie's son Doug Jr. was diagnosed with autism as a child and Doug spent a lot of time raising money for autism research and treatment.  It was during his stint with the Buffalo Bills that Flutie Flakes first went on sale.  I don't know how wide the distribution was for Flutie Flakes, but they were certainly sold in the New York and New England areas.  Proceeds from the cereal went to The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation For Autism.  While researching this blog (yes, I actually did some research before writing this fluff!) I found out that Rob Gronkowski ate Flutie Flakes as a kid and this cereal was directly inspired by them.

Doug and his family--from the side of the Flutie Flakes box
Information about Flutie's foundation
The similarities between Flutie Flakes and Gronk Flakes goes beyond the fact that they're both fronted by New England sports figures and that they both raise money for charity.  They also both are/were Frosted Flakes knock-offs.  Which brings us to the vs. part of this story.  It is time to give Gronk Flakes a taste test.

Taking a first look

They look more-or-less like Frosted Flakes
And they taste pretty much as expected--good!

The hearty flakes--protected by a thick glaze of sugar--stay crispy in milk
They look pretty much as like would expect from a generic Frosted Flakes-type cereal.  And they taste very much the same way.  The flakes seem a little thicker or denser than "real" Frosted Flakes, and they have a rather heavy sugary crust on them.  It's been well over ten years since I've tasted Flutie Flakes, but I distinctly remember them tasting a lot like these.  It's a very sweet experience that would probably seem gross to someone more accustomed to stuff like Grape Nuts or Bran Flakes or oatmeal for breakfast, but they really hit the spot for me.  The Insane Beast tried them out and seemed to like them--though I was surprised she didn't go ape over them and demand more.  I guess that's a good thing.

Gronk Flakes--part of a nutritious breakfast
...or something like that

Since they seem to be exactly the same thing, the result of the Gronk Flakes vs. Flutie Flakes competition ended up as a tie.  If you enjoy extremely sweet breakfast cereals you'll probably like them.  If you are diabetic and/or eating a very healthy diet you probably won't like them.

Now if only we could have seen Doug Flutie throwing touchdown passes--and maybe a couple Hail Marys--to Rob Gronkowski...

One final note: I found it interesting that Gronk Flakes are distributed by a company in Pittsburg, PA.  Obviously the fact that they're geared mainly toward Patriots fans doesn't mean they have to be made in New England.  But I can only imagine the thoughts of hardcore Steelers fans working in the place that sends out these boxes--with the picture of New England's pretty-boy superstar staring at them day after day!  Oh well, you gotta earn a living, right?


  1. Oh man, I love me some frosted flakes! I'm a huge tooth rotting cereal junkie as well....though I do try to not indulge too much. Though I am by no means a sports fan, I will still have to give the Gronk Flakes a try.....can't resist the sugar frosted flake goodness!

  2. Haha poor Steeler fans! Im going to give them a try myself