EDITORIAL: Timbit cereal seems like a mistake

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

This week Tim Hortons announced that it would be partnering with Post Foods to create Timbits cereal.

The announcement of the Timbits cereal comes not long after it was announced that Tim Hortons president Alex Macedo would be leaving in March, third-quarter earning were not what the company wanted them to be and scrapped the Beyond Meat burgers from most Canadian locations, which contrasted harshly against other fast-food chains, such as A&W for whom the alternative meat burger was the most successful new product launch ever. Some portfolio managers aren’t exactly positive about Tim Hortons itself either (as opposed to the holding company).

For those wondering, the chocolate glazed Timbit cereal version has 17 grams of sugar for every 36 grams of cereal and sugar is the first item listed on the ingredients, according to the Post Consumer Brands website. To compare that to another well-known sugary cereal, Froot Loops has 12 grams of sugar for every 39 grams of cereal. Once you even out portion sizes that means there’s 16.4 per cent more sugar content than in (regular) Froot Loops. Now, the new cereal isn’t the most sugary option available but it’s certainly up there. The birthday cake variety does slightly better at 13 grams of sugar per 34 grams of cereal. It seems like a big part of the reason many comments have been far from positive.

The move is even odder when you start to think about it a little bit more. The people getting Timbits, presumably are those who did not want to chow down a whole donut. When choosing between a Timbit and a full donut, the Timbit is undoubtedly going to be the healthier option nearly every time. A “bowl of Timbits” kind of seems contrary to that.

Furthermore, it’s an interesting choice to bring out such a sugary product when even companies such as McDonalds slowly working their way towards healthier choices, such as offering apple slices with Happy Meals.

The whole situation actually has a very familiar ring to it. Krispy Kreme’s stock price reached a high in 2003. The company faced a number of problems at the time (including an accounting scandal) and stock prices plummeted. One thing they did at the time to have gas stations and supermarkets sell their donuts, creating competition with their franchise locations, arguably hurting franchise owners. The same could happen here: who’s going to stop for Timbits after already having a bowl for breakfast? Krispy Kreme’s decision may have further hurt the brand as the new sellers weren’t selling them freshly baked either (something which may sound familiar as Tim Hortons switched to frozen donuts years ago, something co-founder Ron Joyce was reported to be quite critical of).

Knowing all of that, it’s hard to see the new announcement as anything but a misstep in a series of recent missteps.

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