Every morning, I walk into the dining hall ready for the most important meal of the day, and every morning, I am disappointed by the generically labeled cereals waiting for me around the corner. Mini Spooners? Isn’t that what you would call a freshman couple, not a delicious breakfast staple?
To find out what’s behind this cereal conspiracy, I contacted Crista Martin, Director for Strategic Initiatives & Communications at Harvard University Dining Services.
According to Martin, most cereals in Harvard’s dining halls are supplied by a company called Malt-O-Meal, the taste of which students could not distinguish from their Kellog’s counterparts during product tests. “The marshmallows might look different, you might not have the leprechaun’s rainbow in your Marshmallow Mateys, but if you weren’t looking at it you wouldn’t taste the difference,” Martin says.
When asked why HUDS still supplies some familiar cereal brands like Special K and name-brand soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Florida’s Natural, Martin is evasive. “We buy more than 5,000 different ingredients in a year, so you can imagine it’s a very complicated set of dynamics. There are lots of things behind it that are not necessarily obvious to someone who is just familiar with buying things in the grocery store.” HUDS has to keep the mystery alive, after all.