Kellogg CEO faces criticism for suggesting consumers eat cereal for dinner

WK Kellogg owns brands such as Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Mini-Wheats

WK Kellogg CEO Gary Pilnick is suggesting that consumers dealing with the high cost of food eat cereal for dinner. His message is landing him in hot water. 

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

He said the message is "landing really well" with consumers, who are spending more of their income on food than they have in the last three decades. 

In 2022, 11.3% of disposable income was used on food, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from the Agriculture Department. That is the highest figure since 1991, when 11.4% of disposable income was used, according to the data.

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

FOX Business has reached out to Kellogg's for comment. 

But consumers aren't taking his comments so well. 

"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, formerly known as Twitter. 

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cereal

Limited-edition holiday breakfast cereal at a Target store, in Queens, New York. (Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via / Getty Images)

Another user on X said: "[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..." 

Another user lambasted the CEO for making such comments despite his million-dollar compensation. Pilnick takes home an annual base salary of $1 million and more than $4 million in incentive compensation, according to a September 2023 regulatory filing. 

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The company has been pushing this message for years. It claimed in a 2022 press release that a serving of Kellogg's cereal, milk and fruit was less than $1. Pilnick reiterated that message during the interview last week.

Some of WK Kellogg's brands include Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Kashi, Froot Loops and Mini-Wheats.