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Cocoa Puffs
General Mills Cocoa Puffs – Naturally Flavored Frosted Corn Puffs, with milk
Product typeBreakfast cereal
OwnerGeneral Mills
CountryUnited States
Introduced1956; 68 years ago (1956)
MarketsUSA, Canada, Latin America, and Europe

Cocoa Puffs is an American brand of chocolate-flavored puffed grain breakfast cereal, manufactured by General Mills.[1] Introduced in 1956, the cereal consists of small orbs of corn and rice flavored with cocoa. Cocoa Puffs have the same shape as Kix and Trix cereal.

Cocoa Puffs are sold in Canada, Latin America, and Europe under the Nesquik brand, via the Cereal Partners Worldwide agreement between Nestlé and General Mills.


On several occasions, the cereal used Hershey's cocoa in its recipe, and this aspect was heavily promoted in Cocoa Puffs boxes and commercials.[2]

In December 2009, General Mills announced that it would cut the sugar in 10 kinds of cereal, including Cocoa Puffs, to less than 10 grams per serving. This could represent a 25% decline in the sugar content from the original level and 18% from the 2009 level of 11 grams per serving.[3]

In 2020, General Mills, Inc. bought back the retro recipes for four of its ready-to-eat cereals: Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Cookie Crisp, and Trix, claiming, "Cocoa Puffs now delivers more chocolatey taste."[4]

Flavors and variants

A cereal bar of Cocoa Puffs has been made. A layer of dried, sweetened condensed milk is added to the bottom, and marketed as a substitute for a bowl of milk and cereal.

A new addition was introduced in the summer of 2008, Cocoa Puffs Combos, which consists of the recognizable chocolate puffs with vanilla puffs.

Besides Cocoa Puffs Combos, there have been varieties of the popular cereal. One such example was Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch in 2011. That cereal was described on the front of the box as "naturally and artificially flavored sweetened chocolate squares."


The mascot of Cocoa Puffs, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, was introduced in 1962. In most commercials, Sonny attempts to stay away from the cereal, mostly by doing a different activity, but ends up coming across some reference to the cereal in the act (usually described by the adjectives "munchy," "crunchy," and "chocolatey"), causing him to burst in energy, exclaiming his catchphrase "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!" when he's reached his limit. [5] Sonny was voiced by Chuck McCann from 1962 to 1978, and has been voiced by Larry Kenney since 1978.[6]

The line "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" has entered the vernacular as a term for somebody who is irrational.[7]

Sonny's name comes from the original format of the commercials, in which he was paired with his grandfather (also voiced by McCann). When the grandfather was dropped from the ads, "Sonny" remained as the character's name. In 2010, Gramps returned to the Cocoa Puffs ads, with McCann reprising his role as Gramps and Kenney continuing to voice Sonny.

Sonny was designed by Gene Cleaves. Animation pioneer "Grim" Natwick (of Fleischers' Betty Boop team) also contributed to the early images of Sonny and Gramps, according to then-contemporaries who collaborated with Natwick.[8]

Sonny was originally depicted as wearing a pink-and-white striped shirt, then in 1995 was redesigned, this time wearing 1990s "extreme" clothes and being given a more Disney-esque appearance. In 2004, he was redesigned in a more simplistic fashion, this time without clothing.


  1. ^ "New Products". Travel Size & Miniature Products Superstore. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Business week". Business Week (2105–2113). McGraw-Hill: 32. 1970.
  3. ^ "General Mills Will Reduce Sugar in Kids' Also it has a version called "Cocoa Puffs Combos" Cereal". ABC News. Archived from the original on December 14, 2009. Retrieved Dec 14, 2009.
  4. ^ Schouten, Rebekah. "General Mills brings back classic cereal recipes". Food Business News. SOSLAND. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  5. ^ Berman, Margo (19 July 2012). The Copywriter's Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Strategic Advertising Copy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-4443-6081-3.
  6. ^ Olmsted, Monte (26 October 2015). "The voice behind Count Chocula and Sonny". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  7. ^ "What does cuckoo for cocoa puffs mean?".
  8. ^ " :: We are not done yet..." Retrieved 16 April 2018.