Can Surreal shake up the world of cereal?

Healthy cereal startup Surreal is using playful design and an irreverent tone of voice to cut through in a crowded category. But the debate around its latest campaign is a stark reminder why brands need to put authenticity first

“I’m still yet to speak to anyone who says they hated cereal as a kid,” says Kit Gammell. “But then you grow up, health and responsibilities all come along and suddenly cereal becomes unbelievably boring.” Founded in 2021 by Gammell and his business partner Jac Chetland, Surreal attempts to bridge this gap with a health-conscious breakfast cereal that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The co-founders originally met working on the marketing team at coconut water brand Vita Coco, where they helped grow the business from a relative unknown to a new category in its own right. When it came to starting their own thing, the main appeal of creating a cereal brand was the emotional attachment and nostalgia that already exists in the category, harking back to the golden age of iconic cartoon mascots and in-box collectable toys.

“96% of people have eaten cereal before, so everyone knows what it is, we’re just going after the set of customers who have fallen out of love with it because it doesn’t fit their health and nutritional needs,” says Gammell. Made with plant-based protein and zero-sugar, Surreal’s range offers a healthier take on childhood favourites with familiar flavours such as cacao, cinnamon, peanut butter and frosted.

All images courtesy Surreal