Do Americans ever grow up? The ‘magical’ cereal joins Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, unicorn toast and Cow Candy’s colorful cheese snacks and more
This isn’t exactly what health experts meant when they said we should “eat the rainbow.”
Kellogg’s is the launching its limited-edition Unicorn cereal in the U.S. — the latest technicolor product joining everything from bagels and lattes to churros.
The bright box features a unicorn that looks straight out of a Lisa Frank coloring book boasting the “Magic Cupcake” flavor. The actual cereal appears to be a pastel version of Fruit Loops featuring round yellow, purple and red bits. The box, which will be available for a limited time beginning in March 2018, also uses some magical marketing with joking claims like “000” calories and “00” grams of sugar.
The unicorn-flavored-everything trend appears to be boosting sales. When Starbucks came out with its limited time Unicorn Frappuccino — a whimsical blend of creme, pink powder, mango syrup and swirled with sour blue drizzle — the company reported a 4% increase in same-store sales growth in the spring, according to CNBC.
And crowds of people waited in line for rainbow bagels at The Bagel Store in Brooklyn, which nearly broke the internet when it created a colorful carb-filled follow up, the unicorn bagel, filled with pink and purple cream cheese and covered in rainbow sprinkles. The food hype even spawned the social media account Unicorn Foods attracting thousands of followers devoted to colorful treats like a pink protein powder donuts, and a bright purple sweet potato latte topped with matcha sprinkles.
Set out to make a Japanese purple sweet potato latte, but @mikebagale convinced me to go milkshake. Or rather a @pearlbutter coconut, @sunpotion tocos, @vitalproteins collagen, ginger, pineapple, maca, and cinnamon frozen shake thing (with homemade pomegranate, purple corn, @e3liveaustralia blue majik, and @ippodoteausa matcha sprinkles and @animamundiherbals blue lotus petals). #eatcolor #unicornfood
The “mystical” treats are created for pure spectacle rather than taste, and have an Instagram-worthy aesthetic that attracts millennials to buy them. https://twitter.com/SuzetteLT/status/853447363368767489
Other brands followed the rainbow-inspired trend. Children’s treats, like Cow Candy’s fruity new Monterey Jack cheese snacks that come in fruit punch (red), grape (purple) and orange-strawberry (orange) flavored-sticks with characters like the Transformers and My Little Pony printed on the packaging.
After all, science shows young children are drawn to bright primary colors like red, yellow and blue, and secondary colors like orange, green and purple – essentially, rainbow hues. A 2012 study even found kids prefer plates with six different colors of food on them, and infants recognize colors before they can speak. Hence the marketing genius behind Crayola-colored cereals like Froot Loops, Trix and Fruity Pebbles, not to mention Skittles (which literally invites you to “taste the rainbow”) and those McDonald’s golden arches.
But apparently tastes haven’t changed much for nostalgic adult babies missing their 80s and 90s-era Lisa Frank school supplies crawling with pink, purple and turquoise unicorns. Lisa Frankenfoods have flooded blogs and social media feeds with celestial blue galaxy doughnuts, sea green mermaid toast and indigo unicorn noodles.
I guess mermaid toast is officially a thing if @foodandwine did a feature on it… what!? 😳 🌊 Beyond flattered…the name sticks for this aquatic creation. I feel like I'm about to go on a mild rant: So, this happened when I put unicorn toast out there too… there will be so many wonderful comments and articles covering it- but then there are also so many people and articles hating on it; saying it's "silly" and asking, "why?" Or "who has time for that?!" Let me just put this out there: I am just having fun! I am a food stylist and I like to create beautiful things using food- I've never claimed to be starting a trend or a putting out a new recipe that is super practical- it's 100% impractical, I just like to play around in the kitchen and attempt to create something aesthetically pleasing and unique from time to time. Also, I don't know about you, but with everything going on in the world today, sometimes I just want to look at some colorful food. Okay- rant over, phew 🙌🏻 I shouldn't even pay attention to the negativity when there's so much positivity from everyone out there, and for that- I'm extremely appreciative! ❤️ Link in bio to check out the F&W article on #mermaidtoast #vibrantandpure #vibranttoast
@ktweber2: "I eat glitter for breakfast!!! And unicorns. And rainbows." 🦄s & 🌈s. CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL RAINBOW BAGEL THAT BROKE THE INTERNET ONLY @ 754 METROPOLITAN AVENUE, BROOKLYN OR RAINBOWBAGEL.COM⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ FOR NATIONWIDE SHIPPING⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ••⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ FOR CUSTOM EVENT BAGEL ART ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ TheBagelArtist.com ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ••⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Enjoy the world's most beautiful bagel!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ TheBagelStore.com⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @thebagelstore #rainbowbagel #unicorn #unicornbagel #eatglitterforbreakfast #sprinkles #stars #wishonastar #teal #pattern #delicious #deliciousness #livethelifeyouwant #vegan #vegancreamcheese #food #TheBagelStore #Williamsburg #NYCBagels #foodies #foodpic #brooklyneats #Brooklyn #family #friends #followme #NYC #photooftheday #picoftheday #weekend #bagel
And a 2010 Berkeley study found that people asked to rank 32 colors tended to prefer brightly saturated hues, with bright reds, blues and green being the overwhelming favorites.
“These colors make [unicorn foods] look bold and exciting,” NPD Group food consumption analyst Darren Seifer explained to Moneyish. “We also in general like to see different colors. It helps us distinguish our food from dog food. It looks so much more appetizing than just a plain brown.”
He noted that even as adults are increasingly concerned about eating artificial colors, with some 37% saying they’re trying to cut back on food dyes this year, they tend to ease up on the dietary restrictions when it comes to treating themselves to a whimsical dessert. [Plus, unicorn noodles are colored with all-natural red cabbage water, so they’re guilt-free.]
Today's lunch took a strange turn! Haha I was inspired to make some unicorn noodles after seeing a little how-to by @theindigokitchen (seriously, so easy!) so, I weirded my dad out and served these up! Hahaha . I should really be packing rather than food experimenting…as I move next week! Oops 🙊🙊🙊. . Hope you're all having a magical weekend 😊💗💜🦄💕🌈✨. . #unicornfood #unicornnoodles #magic
“These days, we’re seeing more and more people looking for having an experience with their food,” Seifer said. “It’s not just about food for sustenance, but it’s also about food that excites the senses. Is it visually appealing? Does it smell fantastic? Does it bring back fond memories upon consuming it?”
Which feeds into the fact that these Manic Panic dyes look incredible on Instagram, no filter needed.
Even restaurants have hopped on the Technicolor train. The Fat Monk gastropub in Manhattan mixes a $13 hot pink “My Lisa Frank Notebook” cocktail garnished with a rainbow-haired unicorn. But don’t judge this cocktail completely by its color: the vodka and mezcal-based drink infused with serrano pepper comes with a kick.
This unicorn #cocktail at The Fat Monk is the brainchild of beverage director, Cody Goldstein of Muddling Memories….
“It’s one of our best sellers,” Fat Monk’s Jonathan Chang told Moneyish, noting that they pour 20 to 30 of them most nights. “When we present things that would get a young 4-year-olds attention, it frankly gets the same kind of attention out of a 45-year-old. People love that bright pink drink with a unicorn that harks back to your Trapper Keeper days.”
And the End cafe in Williamsburg serves a $9 unicorn latte of steamed coconut milk, cold press lemon juice and Maqui berry mixed with E3 Live, a blue green algae, which creates the enchanting blue color.
“Well, we are definitely all kids at heart so why wouldn’t we want to eat food that is colorful, bright and whimsical?” End co-founder Madeleine Murphy told Moneyish.
She added that, “with so much going on in the world, sometimes you want to look at beautiful and brightly colored food because it makes you feel happy.”
Unicorn bottoms up.
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