As a serial cereal eater, it shames me to admit that prior to a few weeks ago I had never heard of Frute Brute. Actually, if you asked me what Frute Brute was, I’d probably have ventured a guess that it was some kind of Vegetarian Megazord from one of the many Power Rangers spinoffs. A whole “Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables or Else!” kind of thing.
It turns out Frute Brute isn’t quite so frightening. The seasonally themed and iconic Monster cereal is making its first appearance on grocery store shelves since the waning years of the Cold War. Available until roughly the end of October, it joins Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and another cereal brought back from the dead, Yummy Mummy, in the Halloween food fest. It consists of whole-grain corn pieces with cherry coloring and flavoring, as well as two different colored marshmallows.
Since I wasn’t alive in 1982, I don’t have any memories of the original Fruit Brute. Thankfully, buying the box guarantees you a user-friendly crash course in Monster cereal history. The history cartoon on the back of the box may be hokey, but I admit I’ve got a soft spot for having something to read while I indulge in a bowl of modified corn starch and red 40.
Plus, that history will give me the knowledge to stump loved ones with breakfast trivia like the fact that Bela Lugosi once appeared on the front of a Count Chocula box (but wait, who is Bela Legosi?). Of course, not included in these tidbits is that early 1970s factoid of Franken Berry turning kids’ poop pink (a byproduct of the marshmallow food coloring), but that’s understandable. Pink poop is hardly appetizing.
What is appetizing is this cereal. Cherry may seem like an odd choice for a cereal flavor, but if nothing else it’s something completely different from the hodgepodge of fruit flavored cereals that vaguely taste like berry.
In any case, you can put aside any fears of this stuff tasting like cough syrup. There’s no bitter aftertaste, and the cherry flavor genuinely tastes like cherry candy. It’s mild, to be sure, and it only covers roughly half the little ghoulish pieces*, but it’s pleasant and not cloying. As for the plain pieces, they taste like your standard lightly sweetened Kix.
There’s a great marshmallows-to-cereal ratio and those marshmallows have a fruity flavor and really nice snap to them. Because I don’t dick around with this kind of stuff and only use whole milk for cereal eating, it’s kind of hard not to like any cereal in milk. But in this case I enjoyed the cereal more as a dry snack. Maybe it was because the plain corn pieces get kinda soggy in milk or the cherry really doesn’t go with milk, but I thought the end-milk was kind of dull and not as sweet as what I would have liked.
Fortunately, it’s just sweet and crunchy enough as a snack, and the cherry flavor makes it an ideal cereal to mix with anything of the chocolate persuasion. (I highly suggest Double Chocolate Krave.)
A lesser writer might use a trite pun about Frute Brute being either scary good or frightening bad, so I’m going to say it’s a nice change of pace from other marshmallow cereals, it makes a really good snack, and it’s definitely one of the better cereals to mix with chocolate flavored anything. It’s worth buying once a year for posterity alone, but I’ll probably buy a few extra boxes to get me through the ten months it isn’t on shelves.
*who coincidently bare a strong resemblance to the bad guys from Pac-Man.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 130 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat,0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Other Frute Brute reviews:
Item: General Mills Frute Brute Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9.6 oz box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Unique cherry flavor that tastes like cherry candy and mixes great with chocolate cereal. Lots of crunchy marshmallows. Not too sweet. Factoids on the box. An excuse to drink whole milk.
Cons: Pink werewolves have little, if anything, to actually do with Halloween. Corn pieces are kind of dull and worthless in milk. Really hoping my poop doesn’t turn pink.