Lucky Charms — a staple cereal. Every kid has tasted this delicious breakfast at one point in their life. A pleasant mix of witty shaped grain and bursts of sugar in the form of multicolored marshmallows. Kids across the U.S, U.K, and Canada have enjoyed this cereal since its debut in 1964. The concept of lucky charms originates from Brach’s circus peanuts – a classic marshmallow “penny-candy” dating back to the 19th century. The creator of Lucky Charms, John Holahan, had the brilliant idea of mixing chopped up circus peanuts with Cheerios. And that’s how Lucky Charms was born.
There are many interesting tidbits surrounding Lucky Charms. For example, the marshmallow bits are called “marbits,” and have been altered drastically; now, only the pink heart remains from the initial release.
The Lucky Charms’ familiar mascot goes by many names. First called L.C. Leprechaun, he now goes by Lucky the Leprechaun, or by the nickname Sir Charms. Briefly, in the U.K., Lucky was replaced by Waldo the Wizard. Despite succeeding in the initial market tests, Waldo’s engineer decided Sir Charm’s charming appearance overshadowed Waldo’s concept. Therefore, it was abolished the same year.
General Mills, the owner of Lucky Charms, first advertised the cereal with a quick Irish tune. Shortly thereafter, their well-known tagline was added, “Frosted Lucky Charms, They’re Magically Delicious!” In 1938, accompanied by the addition of the purple horseshoes, the commercial’s would extend their jingle to describe their marbits, “Hearts, stars, and horseshoes. Clovers and blue moons. Pots of gold and rainbows. And m’ red balloons. That’s m’ Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.”
Interestingly, the FDA led a four month investigation into General Mills’ Lucky Charms back in April of 2022 after receiving hundreds of reports claiming to have contracted a foodborne illness after eating Lucky Charms. Illnesses acquired through dry cereals are uncommon, as the ingredients are completely cooked. Still, the Food and Drug Administration looked into the mysterious cases. In the end, the FDA reported to have found no harmful pathogen in the cereal “despite extensive testing for numerous potential microbial and chemical adulterants.”
All in all, this bright and colorful staple of the Western breakfast has a rich and interesting history. An excellent addition to the widely celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.