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Wheaties revives cereal box iconography for centennial, taps Muhammad Ali

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·2 min read
In this article:
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Wheaties is ringing in its 100th anniversary by bringing back its iconic cereal box design that celebrates famous athletes, the latest brand using nostalgia to spark consumer interest.

On Tuesday, the General Mills (GIS)-owned company launched the Century Box Series — starting with one of most well-known champions of all time, boxer and civil rights icon Muhammad Ali. Wheaties first featured Ali on a box in 1999.

The brand famous for being "the breakfast of champions" cited the boxer's "unrivaled prowess in the boxing ring" as well as his status as an "an agent for social change, racial justice."

The limited-edition Muhammad Ali Centennial Series Wheaties box hits grocery stores' shelves this week, or fans can purchase one on the brands' website. This is the first installment of the series that will feature what the brand calls "instantly recognizable athletes" who have previously been featured on Wheaties box and "shaped sports culture."

In a release, Ali's wife Lonnie called her deceased husband a “a man of principle and strength [who] fought against discrimination and injustice in their many forms...he would be honored to be the first athlete featured on the Wheaties Century Box so that his enduring wisdom, optimism and hopes can continue to affect emerging athletes and humanitarians.”

Muhammed Ali mirrors the boxing stance featured on the cover of the iconic 1999 Wheaties box on stage during a press conference at Madison Square Garden (credit: General Mills archives)
Muhammed Ali mirrors the boxing stance featured on the cover of the iconic 1999 Wheaties box on stage during a press conference at Madison Square Garden (credit: General Mills archives)

General Mills is riding a wave of big brands that are reviving old menu items in a nostalgic bid to recapture the public's imagination.

Last week, Pizza Hut (YUM) brought back '90s pie 'The Edge,' which originally debuted back in 1997. McDonald's (MCD) brought back its famous McRib sandwich, then announced a limited-run of its Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce and most recently, it announced the comeback of the beverage Hi-C Orange Lavaburst at all locations nationwide. 

Separately, Taco Bell (YUM) announced the comeback of an old menu favorite, the Quesalupa. Burger King (QSR) also jumped on the bandwagon with the re-introduction of its French Toast Sandwich to menus nationwide back in March.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.