'Cereal for dinner'? How can you really save money on groceries?

A lot of "snap, crackle, pop" is aimed at Kellogg's after the company's CEO talked about the company's "cereal for dinner" campaign.

Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick said in a live interview with CNBC the company's campaign is "landing really well" with American consumers.

Consumers are now spending more than 11 percent of their disposable income on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As food price increase, how can Americans save on grocery bills?

What is Kellogg's 'cereal for dinner' campaign?

The "cereal category has always been quite affordable," Pilnik said. "If you think about the cost of cereal for a family vs what they might otherwise do, that's going to be much more affordable."

"Cereal is a place a lot of folks might come to because the price of a bowl of cereal is less than a dollar."

"Over 25% of our consumption is outside of breakfast. A lot of its at dinner and that continues to grow. Cereal for dinner is something that is more on the trend now and we would expect to continue as that consumer is under pressure."

How much is a serving of cereal?

According to Statista, Kellogg's Corn Flakes is its most popular cereal.

An 18-ounce box was $4.98 at Walmart Feb. 29. A serving size is 1.5 cups and there are 12 servings in a box. So cost per bowl is 41 cents if you limit yourself to the recommended serving size.

Want to satisfy that sweet tooth? A 23.7-ounce box of Fruit Loops with marshmallows costs $6.28 at Walmart. Serving size is 1.3 cups and there are 17 servings in a container. Cost per bowl is 37 cents.

Americans spending more on food

Consumers are now spending 11.3% of their disposable income on food, the highest in more than 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2023, food prices grew by 5.8 percent. Motor fuel prices actually declined by 10.6 percent in 2023, but the drop followed relatively large increases in 2022, teh USDA said.

"In 2022, food spending by U.S. consumers, businesses, and government entities totaled $2.39 trillion, after a sharp decline in 2020 in which the food market was disrupted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the recession. U.S. food spending in 2020 totaled $1.81 trillion," according to the USDA.

The average American household spends more than $1,000 per month on groceries, according to Census Bureau's Household pulse survey. But that number varies depending on where you live and how many are in your family.

Families with kids spend an average of $331 a week on groceries or 41% more than families without kids.

Americans are eating out more

In 2022, U.S. food-away-from-home spending 16 percent higher than 2021 levels.
In 2022, U.S. food-away-from-home spending 16 percent higher than 2021 levels.

Food-at-home spending increased from $954.7 billion in 2021 to $1.05 trillion in 2022, the USDA said.

Food-away-from-home spending increased from $1.16 trillion in 2021 to $1.34 trillion in 2022.

Food-away-from-home spending accounted for 56 percent of total food expenditures in 2022.

How can you save money on groceries?

  • Make a list and check what you already have. Stick to the list and resist impulse buys.

  • Limit shopping trips. It helps avoid those impulse buys.

  • Pay attention to prices at multiple stores to find the best buy.

  • Buy the newspaper for coupons and use them. Save even more by using a coupon on a sales item.

  • Use grocery store app to save money and time.

  • Choose staples like pasta and canned goods with a long shelf life so you aren't throwing food away.

  • Online shopping? Pay attention to shipping costs, and any other additional fees.

  • You're not saving if you buy something at a good price and having it spoil before you can use it.

  • Follow your favorite brands on social media and sign up for their mailing lists for deals and special offers.

  • The same is true at grocery stores. If they have loyalty or rewards programs, sign up.

  • Be willing to try generic brands.

  • Do you have a credit card that offers rewards for food costs? Be sure to pay the card off each month so interest doesn't negate your savings.

  • Be willing to shop at several local stores to find the best deals at each.

  • Consider your spending habits to see if a membership at a wholesale store is worth the price.

  • Read those labels and see the price per unit.

  • Learn "sale cycles." Shop clearance sections, especially after holidays or seasons.

More ideas to save money on groceries

The following suggestions come from ramseysolutions:

  • Redefine dinner: It doesn't have to be cereal or the meat, two veggies, roll and dessert from decades ago. Scrambled eggs and fruit, or soup and grilled cheese can be fine.

  • As you're shopping, round up the numbers and keep track of what you're spending.

  • Find out what day of the week your favorite stores offer special deals.

  • Want to stick to a budget? Pay with cash.

  • Make a meal plan.

  • Order curbside pickup to avoid those impulse buys.

  • Look up and down on shelves. The most expensive items are on eye level.

  • Don't shop when you're hungry.

  • Consider planting a small garden, or even a few vegetables or herbs in pots.

  • Use coupon apps, like Ibotta and Receipt Hog.

  • Buy meat only when it's on sale and go meatless once or twice a week.

  • Eat leftovers for lunch — or even breakfast — instead of going out.

Reaction to 'cereal for dinner' on social media mixed

While most reaction to the "cereal for dinner" campaign was negative, several took to social media to admit having a bowl for dinner.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Cereal for dinner, Kelloggs backlash: How to save on groceries