CEREAL WARS: Post sues General Mills over shelving

- In what some consider an on-going war between cereal brands, two Minnesota giants are preparing for legal battle.

Post Tuesday filed a lawsuit against General Mills for allegedly copying its in-store shelving, which led the Fox 9 producers to wonder: Who do shoppers think wins the war at the grocery store?

During a stroll down the cereal aisle at Jerry’s Foods in Edina, Minn., shoppers served us a mixed bag of favorites.

“Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” Helen Schilling says. 

“Probably Special K,” her mother, Annie Schilling, added.

So is it a wonder there’s confusion when we asked, who would win cereal wars between Post or General Mills?

“In all honestly I don’t know what cereals are Post and what cereals are General Mills,” Annie said.

But, stocked side-by-side, chances are you can easily tell the difference. Which do you prefer, Post’s Cocoa Roos or General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs?

“A lot of people say there's a difference," Chiquita Thomas said. "To me, there isn't, so if I can grab the one in the bag I’ll take the one in the bag.”

The lawsuit Post filed against General Mills claims, in essence, that General Mills stole Post’s five-shelf display style by copying its plastic dividers.

The dividers are used to organize bagged cereal on grocer’s shelves. An image included in the lawsuit calls General Mills’ display an “infringing merchandising system.”

The suit comes the same day Post secured a patent for the cereal dividers.

Post’s bagged cereal display had previously been marked “patent pending,” while General Mills introduced bagged cereal packaging for several of its brands this year.

Overall, cereal sales have been getting soggy over the last decade.

But the ordeal over the displays comes as boxed cereal sales fall and bagged cereal sales are on an upswing.

“It does seem like you get more," Thomas said. "It lasts a lot longer. One or two ounces goes a lot farther when you’re on a budget."

Thomas’ 11-year-old daughter, D’Shauna Patterson, however, sticks to a Post fan favorite.

“[I like] Raisin Bran,” she said. “Because I like the raisins and the taste of it.”

On the other hand, there are people like Annie Schmidt. She's a proud mother of triplets, all juniors in high school, as well as a 13-year-old--all boys.

“We just do not eat cereal.” she confessed. “They train a lot for basketball and baseball, and so they want protein, a lot of eggs… and I’m a stay at home mom. I will say this, I wish they did eat cereal!”

For that reason, Schmidt simply doesn’t have any oats in the milk.

Post does seek an unspecified amount of damages, and for General Mills to remove its current bagged displays from store shelves.

Fox 9 reached out to Post without success Tuesday.

In a statement, a General Mills spokesman told FOX 9, “The lawsuit has just been filed. We’re looking into it.”

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