Review: New and Improved Alpha-Bits Cereal

Post New and Improved Alpha-Bits Cereal Box Review

The year is 20xx. Innovation is dead. No new cereals are ever released. Instead, every old brand keeps releasing “New and Improved” versions that buff their old selves with unnecessary flavor and cosmetic improvements.

Froot Loops now contains “100% more Froot Jooce” and comes in colors only visible to the hyper-photoreceptive mantis shrimp. Waffle Crisp is now just a box full of freeze-dried Belgian waffles—and the bag is made of intelligent, gelatinous maple syrup that can gain sentience when stored in certain climates. Cinnamon Toast Crunch just contains packets of wheat seeds, yeast, and cinnamon, with instructions for growing, harvesting, and baking your own miniature cinnamon toast.

As for Alpha-Bits? They now contain the letters of every alphabet, from English and Cyrillic to Egyptian hieroglyphics, Klingon, and whatever language the Bionicles spoke. Some also say that spiking a drop of blood into your morning bowl of Alpha-Bits will make them reveal the universe’s existential secrets.

But most agree that’s just ridiculous.

This revamped cereal revolution all started in 2017, as Cocoa Puffs, Krave, Honeycomb, and yes, Alpha-Bits, made a big hullaballoo about self-improvement. As a designated cereal emissary of the year 2017, I’m here to tell you whether Alpha-Bits actually followed through on their “new year, new me” promise, or if they’re just “new meh.”

But in order to answer this, I first have to dive into some “old” Alpha-Bits, which are still easy to find on shelves. In all honesty, I haven’t tasted Alpha-Bits in years. I may be a kid at heart, but that inner child is aged roughly 8–10, not the 4-year old serial cereal drooler who appears to be the target audience of Alpha-Bits’ young’n-friendly packaging.

Post Old Alpha-Bits Cereal

Even though I always chose totally mature, grown-up cereals like Cookie Crisp and Reese’s Puffs over Alpha-Bits, I still heard the recent public outcry about Alpha-Bits tasting terrible compared to its pre-Y2K flavor formula. Eating it now, though, I think the rumors of Alpha-Bits’ demise were greatly exaggerated: the wide-eyed Super Why! packaging may leave me wondering, well, “super why the heck would they do this?” but this stuff still tastes pretty good.

With an equally crispy and satisfyingly soft crunch, a pretty robust whole grain oat base (though not a golden-toasted one), and a faint touch of floral honey sweetness, old Alpha-Bits is halfway between a plain Cheerio and Post’s Honeycomb. “A Corn Pop that went to Harvard” might also be a fair descriptor. In milk it’s even better, as the savory oats shine a little butterier, throwing Lucky Charms into this strange oat cereal family tree. I wouldn’t eat this stuff regularly, but call me crazy, if I had a wee lad or lassie of my own, I’d probably feed them this stuff instead of those blasé Cheerios.

At least that way my kiddo could spell real words with their cereal instead of spooky ghost noises. Though it would probably end up looking like an “infinite monkeys eating breakfast at infinite typewriters” situation.

This means the new stuff has higher standards to live up to—hey Mark Twain: can you revive what isn’t dead?

The packaging starts me off on a high note, though. It feels like a nostalgic throwback to Alpha-Bits’ more adventurous days, complete with ambiguous kid mascots, nautical nonsense, and a trusty canine companion. This box looks like it belongs in a Highlights magazine in a dentist’s waiting room, and that’s a high compliment.

Post New and Improved Alpha-Bits Cereal

But unfortunately, the compliments stop there. Sorry to be blunt, but New and Improved Alpha-Bits is a downgrade in every way. The letters are jumbo, bloated versions of their former selves, which wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t also more airy and less crunchy. I’m also pretty confident a lot of letters are missing from this lax lexicon, because I found about ∞ Bs and had to perform some tooth scalpel surgery just to get a G and K for my desperately spooned plea to Post.

Any kids named Kayleigh or Kraig are going to be sorely (or obscurely) disappointed.

The flavor is stripped down to nearly nothing, too. Sure, the same base, un-toasted oat flavor is there, but the honey butter kiss has been replaced by the faintest vanilla sneeze. I had to eat halfway through the word count of Infinite Jest before I even tasted anything sweet—or non-cardboard-y for that matter. Adding milk just turns the aerated shapes into swollen, creamy milk puffs with a slightly more impactful vanilla glaze.

Unless I accidentally bought a box of alphabet soup noodles—which these kind of taste like—this is inexcusable. Cocoa Puffs got about 50% more awesome, Krave got a sweet fudge injection, and Honeycomb got mixed reviews, but new Alpha-Bits are a sinking ship that’s tough to salvage. I recommend any fans to stock up on the old stuff now, or prepare to jump ship onto a Cheerio or Oatmeal Square life raft.

If you’re also upset about this Alpha-Bits change and made it this far into the review, feel free to voice your opinion below. But no matter how many comments you may see implying the contrary, please keep one thing in mind: even though I’d like to, I don’t make the cereal! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to glue some cereal bits to paper in the form of a strongly worded letter.


The Bowl: New and Improved Alpha-Bits Cereal

The Breakdown: Aside from a more whimsical box and improved readability for the visually impaired, New and “Improved” Alpha-Bits is a tasteless regression that leaves me borrowing some Cheerios to spell “Booooooo!”

The Bottom Line: 2 non-existent “Kraig” novelty license plates out of 10

(Quick Nutrition Facts: 110 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein per 3/4 cup serving)

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10 responses »

  1. Honestly, your review sums up how I’ve kind of always felt about alpha bits. I loved them as a little kid, but these days I turn to the far superior frosted cheerios when I need a vanilla-y oat fix.

    Also: mantis shrimp are awesome. One of my favorite things about your reviews are all the weird yet cool references!

  2. As soon as I saw “New and Improved” on the box, I groaned. Completely agree that they are not nearly as good as the original. They removed some flavor and replaced it with bland bland bland. No thanks.

  3. it is sad why can’t they bring back how they were and if isn’t broke don’t fix it just leave it alone they must have to much time on there hands cereal and customers are losing

  4. I 100% agree. I absolutely think this change is horrible. They taste terrible compared to what they were! Alpha-bits were one of my favorites! Extremely disappointed and won’t ever be purchasing them again.

  5. After reading the review and how you guys said/wrote, that you liked alpha-bits as kid, but they’re kind of left alone by “grown-ups” i wondered if this change into a much more “bland vanilla cereal” isn’t going to be a smart choice for Post.

    Let’s face the fact here: Grown-Upos most probably never even considered buying this cereal for themselves. There are way better options for the money and even if they managed to create a good(improved) flavor which grown-ups like, there are still too many and long-established top dogs out there to let Post even dream abaout a fair share in this cereal area. (Additional to this with shreddies and honeycomb, and maybe sugar crisp, they have cereals on their own, that fall into this hard battled cereal segment.)

    So… why not focusing on the already main targed: kids! or to be much more precisely: kids reaaaally young in age. I talk about kids here, that just get from reaaaaally bland oat and a tiny bit of banana porridge to a more firm food. I talk about those tastebuds that can’t handle a hefty cinnamon burst od CTC or a sugar overload of honey smacks. I talks about the reason, why Dora the Explorer Cereal was just LIGHTLY sweetened. ^^

    I think it*’s a good choice to try to fill this gap and try not to compete with the other “grown-up” cereals here.
    Not sure if it will work out, but to compete with plain cheerios is maybe the wiser choice.

    But that’s just me speaking. And you know i wasn’t able to try alpha-bits or dora the explorer (yes, i had my bowl of plain cheerios and it will stay like that ^^)

  6. Weird, this just popped up in my feed really late. I compared the old Alpha-bits to Honeycomb as well, but when I tried them side-by-side, I didn’t feel the connection as much. The new ones as more comparable to dog food, but I still ate the whole box.

  7. The new ones are horrible. My daughter lived them as they were before the change, and so did I! Now I’m just depressed.

  8. Why is it they have to mess with a good thing. i looked forward to having a bowl of alphabets but these new and improved ones are terrible, what a disappointment and a waste of money. Will not purchase again unless they go back to the original recipe…

  9. The new Alphabets are terrible. Its like eating a mouthful of sawdust. No taste or texture whatsoever. Post, please bring back the harder and crunchier version.

  10. New and nasty. They have always been my favorite and now my son’s who is autistic and very picky. Now he wants nothing to do with the New and Nasty. Ugh!!!!

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