Did dry cereal packaging use to be better, say 40 years ago?

A thing I’ve noticed with cereal boxes is that the wax paper bag is loose inside the box, so the only way you can really pour the cereal is to open the bag all the way across the top, so you can hold it to the upper edge of the box with a finger so the bag doesn’t fall out. But then once the bag is opened, the product tends to form a globular mass. This tends to push the front and back of the box away from each other so the box becomes misshapen, and then you can’t close the top flap anymore.

Has this always been the case? I went through a long, long period of never eating dry cereal, so I don’t know when or whether that have changed. Did the boxes use to be sturdier, or did the bags use to be glued to the inside of the boxes?

As someone who ate a lot of dry ceral in the fifties, I don’t recall either sturdier boxes or glued bags. In fact, IIRC the packaging is practically unchanged. The bags are now plastic instead of waxed paper, and many cereal boxes had a perforated pull tab across the top then, but other than that, everything seems the same.

An odd ponderance, but I’ll try to respond. I just happen to have opened a new box of Special K just yesterday, and aside from the hermetically sealed inner bag, everything’s exactly the same as it was all those years ago.

I can remember some cereal boxes having glued bags. (Just two small stripes of light adhesive.) I caught hell for being in the habit of pulling them out to facilitate immediate prize retrieval instead of waiting a few days.

This was in Canada in the 1970s.

Growing up, the bags were almost always glued in. There was no way to take them out. Like Larry Mudd, it would have been nice to pull the bag out to facilitate locating the prize.

Quality now? There aren’t any prizes! Or I’m eating the wrong cereals.

I don’t have a cite for this, but the company I work for sells a lot of paper and paper products. I mean a lot. Over the last 10 or 15 years the basis weights of a lot of linerboard products as well as corrugated medium has decreased. Most of the 42 pound liner we used to sell is now being sold in 36 pound weight. It’s not our idea, the customers are insisting on it. It usually costs a lot of money to start making a different grade, plus we sell it by the ton.

Big retailers like Walmart have been especially aggressive in reducing the weight for both cost and shipping savings. I’m not in that end of the business, so I don’t know how much they save per unit, but times a couple of million units it all adds up.

Did you collect all those little airplanes that were the prize, at least in the early seventies


To get the walls of the box back into shape once it’s upright, give the box a quick shake up and down (once) while squeezing lightly on the sides of the box. All this does is to get the cereal moving again so that the box walls can be pushed back into place – the cereal generally won’t “slump” once it’s at rest, whether the box walls are in their proper place or bowed out.