Kellogg’s facing backlash, boycott this month following controversial comment from CEO

The company could face a national boycott after its CEO suggested that families should “eat cereal for dinner” in response to rising food prices.

Kellogg’s Company could face a national boycott beginning this week after comments made by its CEO caused a huge backlash on the social media app TikTok.

The controversy began after Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick told CNBC that the Michigan-based company planned to target families struggling to afford groceries, saying they should eat cereal for dinner. CNBC host Carl Quintilla questioned Pilnick about the plan.

“I’m all for innovation and marketing but the idea of cereal for dinner…is there the potential for that to land the wrong way?” Quintilla asked Pilnick.

“We don’t think so,” he replied. “In fact, it’s landing really well right now.”

But for many people, the statement did not land well — especially with users on TikTok, where videos calling for the boycott have reached millions of views. The campaign, called ‘Let Them Eat Cereal,’ has highlighted the broader issue of food affordability in the United States.

“The insinuation that if families just ate cheaper meals, like cereal, they’d be in better shape, it calls upon a really common stereotype of people experiencing food insecurity that not having enough food or struggling to buy food is an individual choice,” said Kate Bauer, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan. “And that’s absolutely not the case. Families are food insecure across Michigan, across the country, because our economic and social support systems have failed many families in this country.”

The U.S. Department of Labor reports the average price of cereal in the U.S. has risen nearly 30% since the pandemic.

Bauer says that everyone, regardless of their food security status, deserves choice and variety in the food they’re eating.

“You know, nutritionally I have no issue with a bowl of cereal every once in a while,” she said. “But it’s not a good idea to have to think of anything as like your go to frequent multiple night a week dinner, because it’s just not giving you the variety in your diet that you would ideally want.”

The boycott, which began April 1, calls for consumers to avoid purchasing Kellogg’s products for three months. It also aims to pressure the company to lower its prices by 25%.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Amanda LeClaire
    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.