What on earth is going on with the world? Why is everyone so insistent on changing things? I know that the old ‘if it ain’t broke’ saying doesn’t and shouldn’t always apply, but surely we should let some things stay the same. Just for comfort. Just for the sake of nostalgia. Just because they’re better that way. You’re doubtless way ahead of me here. That’s right – what on earth have they done to Coco Pops?
Besides my direct family, air and water, I’ve had a longer relationship with Coco Pops than almost anything else I can remember (though I did keep eating Rusks for far longer than is socially acceptable). Other cereals have come and gone but through it all Coco The Monkey has always been there for me; swinging from a vine, spoon in hand, an implausibly and anatomically almost impossible smile slapped across his face. Coco The Monkey wants you, yes you, to be happy. He wants you to enjoy, rather than endure, your first meal of the day. In fact Coco is so confident you’ll love his puffed rice coated in sweet, sweet, pretend chocolate that he bets you could have a bowl full in pretty much any waking hour you care to name.
Even as a child I was under no illusion that Coco Pops might be healthy or nutritionally rewarding. I would, as the advert correctly assumed, “rather have a bowl of Coco Pops” but readily accepted that they wouldn’t do me any good if I had a morning of distance running or heavy lifting ahead of me. But my sweet tooth always won out. Ricicles were possessed by a shimmer of toxic sugar that even Tony Tiger’s trailblazing Frosties couldn’t compete with; and any path that ended with options like Weetabix or Shredded Wheat always got buried under a few tablespoons of Tate & Lyle’s finest white stuff.
Now very safely into my 40’s, Coco Pops have been a cupboard staple, but now I think that love affair is about to end in a most abrupt manner. You see the good people at Kellogg’s have decided that they need to smarten up and make their breakfast cereals healthier. The new boxes proudly announce 30% less sugar along with some smug bollocks about being “just as delicious” and “loved by kids” and “approved by parents”. Which kids did they ask? I cannot be alone in dreading the announcement of a ‘new, improved recipe’ of an old favourite. The reason I still buy them is because the old recipe works just fine. This recipe might be new and different, but different does not necessarily mean improved. In fact it never does. I didn’t know what it felt like to chew through 20 spoonfuls of nothing covered in milk until last weekend. What Kellogg’s are now producing as Coco Pops barely qualify as edible matter. A single “improved” Coco Pop would only dare to dream of being as appetising and yummy as the very blandest of rabbit droppings. I suppose you can swallow them without vomiting, but that’s not even damning with faint praise.
We are now Europe’s fattest country (fact check probably required, but I can’t be far off) and what makes that more embarrassing is that we are also probably the most health obsessed. A few parents have probably moaned that their kids are getting fat as their teeth drop out (if Jamie Oliver has anything to do with this I will happily hang for the fucker) and have decided to blame Coco Pops instead of all the other awful choices they have made for their chubby little darlings. Well I say fuck off to the lot of them! Balls to you and your bid to make everyone else healthy; if you think Coco Pops are bad for your fat kids then give them something else to eat for breakfast, just don’t phone in to change something I have loved for decades. I’m not a porky little munchkin because I don’t eat half a box a day. Let us gloss over my other indulgences – this is about principle.
So Kellogg’s won’t be getting any more of my Coco Pops money (that will have to go on Krave) and I’m afraid that the next time I bump into Coco The Turncoat Monkey we may not even recognise each other. I’m amazed that Kellogg’s have the cheek to keep him smiling. He should be sitting on a branch, gently weeping, as he fills his guts with a bowl of sub-cardboard slop before tumbling to the jungle floor and being devoured by his own family in a frenzied orgy of cannibalistic horror. If I want to improve myself then ‘myself’ is the operative word. I shouldn’t have to have my oldest memories and fondest treats destroyed because someone else’s kids get out of breath doing up their fucking shoelaces. You’ve still not answered my question – what on earth is going on with the world?
G B Hewitt. 08.02.2019