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General Mills : A cereal brew for a lost palate

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01/11/2019 | 09:04am EDT


Jan 11, 2019 • By Ashley Halladay

It's not every day you hear about someone eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal with mangos, honey, oats and milk.

Or, even more unique, drinking some of those things in a beer.


But for Jonny Coffman, 34, of Chicago, Illinois, that unique concoction was his go-to meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for nearly five months.

You see, he's been battling melanoma - a form of cancer - since 2015. And last year before a 30-day treatment of radiation, his doctors warned that'd he'd likely lose his sense of taste for a period of time.

As the doctors predicted, Coffman did lose his palate. Everything from steak to tacos had no taste to him.

'Everything tasted like cement,' Coffman told us, as he described the surprisingly devastating loss of his sense of taste. 'So, I kept doing trial and error stuff. I would make weird concoctions of different ingredients and see if I could taste anything - different textures, sweet, savory, all of that - and one morning I just looked to see what I had…'

He combined Cinnamon Toast Crunch, steal cut oats, honey, mangoes and milk. And when he took his first bite, he could taste everything.

'It was a pretty amazing morning for me. And I started eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch with mangoes three times a day, every day for months,' he explains about the taste bud-altering event.

After about five months Coffman's full sense of taste returned.

'I thought when my palate came back that I was going to hate these things. I thought I'm never going to want to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch again - I'm never going to want to eat mangoes because I'm just overloading on it every day. And it's crazy. It's still my favorite cereal,' Coffman says.

While Cinnamon Toast Crunch may be his favorite cereal, his favorite brand of beer is Goose Island. He actually works at the brewery as a brand ambassador.


Jonny Coffman (pictured right) with a Goose Island colleague while making 'Lost Palate' beer, which includes three family size boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

And one day Coffman's twin brother, Ben, jokingly said that he should make a beer that tastes like the flavor combination that brought his lost palate back to life.

A couple months later, Coffman brought the idea to some of his Goose Island colleagues, fully anticipating the idea would get shot down.

But much to his surprise they said 'Yes.'


Goose Island President Todd Ahsmann, brewmaster Jared Jankoski and brewer Quinn Fuechsl helped Coffman bring the beer to life.

He talks about the approval process and how thinking 'inside the box' turned out to be pretty tasty, in this audio clip.

Appropriately named 'Lost Palate,' the recipe for the New England-style IPA included flaked oats, honey malt, lactose sugar, mangoes, three family-size boxes of Cinnamon Toasted Crunch and hops.

'It was better than I expected, way better,' Coffman says. 'I give it a 10 out of 10.'


The pilot brew made about nine kegs worth of beer, which sold out at Goose Island in two days.

And all of the proceeds - about $1,200 - was donated to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University to support cancer research.

Coffman says it felt good to give back to the hospital in honor of his doctors and other patients battling cancer.


And he says he hopes he'll be able to make another batch of Lost Palate in the future.

'Catching a buzz off of a beer feels great. But catching a buzz from a beer that you know you gave back with is the best kind of feeling you can get.'

Photos courtesy of Jonny's twin brother Ben Coffman.

Have an idea for a story you'd like to see on 'A Taste of General Mills'? Email us at contact.blog@genmills.com.

Subscribe to 'A Taste of General Mills' by email - here - and we'll notify you about our latest posts.

Ashley Halladay is a corporate communications associate at General Mills, based in Minneapolis. She manages 'A Taste of General Mills,' helps represent the company on various social media sites, and contributes to the company intranet and website. She began her career at General Mills in 2015. More posts by this author


General Mills Inc. published this content on 11 January 2019 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 11 January 2019 14:03:03 UTC

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Financials ($)
Sales 2019 16 949 M
EBIT 2019 2 841 M
Net income 2019 1 612 M
Debt 2019 14 129 M
Yield 2019 3,79%
P/E ratio 2019 19,17
P/E ratio 2020 15,93
EV / Sales 2019 2,66x
EV / Sales 2020 2,57x
Capitalization 31 023 M
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Technical analysis trends GENERAL MILLS
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 17
Average target price 50,5 $
Spread / Average Target -2,6%
EPS Revisions
Jeffrey L. Harmening Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Donal Leo Mulligan Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Jodi J. Benson Chief Innovation, Technology & Quality Officer
Stephen A. Odland Independent Director
Heidi G. Miller Independent Director
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1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
GENERAL MILLS36.06%30 323
NESTLÉ28.12%312 792
DANONE20.47%56 325