Kellogg's CEO Suggests Cereal for Dinner Amid Rising Food Costs, Faces Backlash

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.28 - 2024 9:33 AM CET

Photo: MDV Edwards /
Photo: MDV Edwards /
Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick faces backlash for suggesting cereal as a dinner alternative in response to rising food prices, sparking a debate on affordability.

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In an interview with CNBC, Pilnick stated, "We gotta reach the consumer where they are, so we're advertising about cereal for dinner."

This is in response to the increasing portion of income consumers are allocating to food, the highest since 1991.

In 2022, 11.3% of disposable income went towards food purchases, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing data from the Agriculture Department.

In 1991, the figure stood at 11.4%. 

"The cereal category has always been quite affordable and it tends to be a great destination when consumers are under pressure." Pilnick further observed that having "cereal for dinner is something that is probably more on trend now, and we would expect to continue as that consumer is under pressure."

Criticism from Consumers

However, his comments have met with criticism from the public, with many accusing him of being insensitive to those struggling with inflation and food accessibility.

"Such a cruel thing.. people are suffering with lack of good food due to inflation and this guy is very happy for that," one user wrote on X.

Another X user added to the debate: "[I'm] sorry but Kellogg's new campaign ads ‘cereal for dinner’ sounds like we have a serious poverty problem in America and this is the solution to capitalize on it. Crazy..."

A user criticized the CEO sharply for his remarks, pointing out his substantial earnings. According to a regulatory filing in September 2023, Pilnick receives a yearly salary of $1 million, plus over $4 million in bonuses.

Kellogg's has long promoted the affordability of its products.

A 2022 press release stated that a meal of Kellogg's cereal with milk and fruit costs under $1.

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