How Custom Cereal Boxes Give Startups Against Big Brands

Cereal Boxes


The cereal market is dominated by large, established brands like Kellogg’s and General Mills, which hold over 60% of the market share in the US ( For small, startup cereal brands trying to break into this crowded space, creating a unique brand identity through packaging is key to standing out on shelves.

With limited marketing budgets, small brands can’t rely on expensive TV ads and widespread distribution to get noticed. Instead, their cereal box may be the first and only interaction a new customer has with the brand. As such, an eye-catching, creative cereal box design is one of the most critical elements for a new cereal brand to make its mark in a competitive market dominated by iconic big brands.

Benefits of Custom Cereal Boxes

Custom cereal boxes give small brands complete creative control over their packaging design. This allows them to fully align the cereal box with their desired brand image and style. According to research, 72% of consumers are influenced by packaging when making a purchase decision.

Well-designed custom cereal boxes also create a memorable unboxing experience for customers. The cereal box is often the first touchpoint between a new brand and potential customers. An eye-catching, creative box design helps make a strong first impression and builds brand recognition. According to one study, a product’s packaging can increase its sales by up to 30% if it has an appealing design.

On crowded store shelves, custom cereal boxes help small brands stand out. Unique shapes, bold colors, and striking graphics grab consumer attention better than generic boxes. This gives the brand a better chance of competing with bigger cereal companies. The packaging plays a key role in influencing those all-important initial purchase decisions.

Choosing Box Format

The type of cereal box you choose depends on your product and shelf space considerations. Here are some of the most common cereal box formats:

Bag-In-Box: This features an inner cereal bag inside a printed outer box. The bag ensures freshness while the box provides branding. Bag-in-box formats are commonly used for cereals from major brands like Kellogg’s.

Folding Carton: As the name suggests, this box folds up flat when not in use for easy shipping and storage. Folding cartons allow for full front and back custom printing. Many smaller cereal brands use folding boxes as a lower-cost option.

Tray and Sleeve: This has an inner paperboard tray covered by an outer printed sleeve. The sleeve slips off for easy recycling. Tray and sleeve boxes provide shelf stability but use more material.

Consider your cereal type (flakes, granola, muesli), desired shelf presence, sustainability goals, and budget when selecting the optimal box format. Also, factor in how much custom printing space you need for impactful branding.

Design Tips for Effective Cereal Boxes

When designing a cereal box, there are several key elements small businesses should focus on to make their brand stand out:

Use Bright, Bold Colors and Graphics

Cereal boxes are highly visual, so eye-catching colors and graphics are essential. Choose a bright color palette that aligns with your brand image. Incorporate large, bold graphics like your logo, mascot, or product photos on the front panel. This will grab the attention of crowded store shelves. See examples of creative graphics from brands like Magic Spoon and OffLimits Cereal: Most Creative Cereal Box Designs

Feature a Mascot or Character

A mascot is an effective way to build brand identity and connect with customers. Popular cereal mascots like Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam are instantly recognizable. Come up with a fun, memorable character to represent your brand on the box.

Use Intriguing Copywriting

The copy on your cereal box can draw readers in or make them pass it by. Use interesting copy like slogans, trivia, stories, and more to engage customers. Align the tone and style of the copy with your brand image. See examples of clever cereal box copy: Creative Cereal Box Design Tips

Make Nutrition Information Clear

Responsibly highlight nutrition facts and ingredients on the side or back panels in a clear, easy-to-read format. This builds trust with health-conscious shoppers.

Show Serving Suggestion Photos

Bring your cereal to life with appetizing photos of it being served or eaten. This gives customers product ideas and makes your brand more memorable.

Where to Get Custom Cereal Boxes Printed Online

Thanks to online printing services, getting custom cereal boxes made is easier and more affordable than ever. Online printers like BoxPrint offer significant benefits compared to using local printing shops:

  • Lower costs – Online printers have lower overhead and can offer wholesale pricing
  • Faster turnaround – Orders can be printed and shipped within days versus weeks
  • One-stop shop – Design, proofing, printing, and shipping handled in one place
  • Volume discounts – Lower per-unit costs for bulk orders
  • Material options – From cardboard to metalized substrates

When choosing an online printer, it’s important to vet them on a few key factors:

  • Print quality – Ensure they use high-resolution printing for sharp, vibrant graphics
  • Material options – Look for metalized stocks and special finishes
  • Turnaround time – Choose a printer with fast order fulfillment
  • Customer service – Find a printer that provides guidance and support

The right online printing partner can provide the quality, service and convenience needed to make your custom cereal boxes stand out on the shelf.

Case Studies

There are several examples of small cereal brands that have launched with creative custom boxes and seen great success:

Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon disrupted the cereal market in 2019 with its protein-packed, low-carb cereal aimed at health-conscious millennials. Its brightly colored boxes feature quirky illustrations and the brand’s unicorn mascot. As this article notes, Magic Spoon focused on eye-catching packaging to grab the attention of established brands.

Three Wishes Cereal

Launched in 2016, Three Wishes took a storytelling approach with its packaging, using a genie character to tie into the brand name. The colorful boxes tell the tale of Willa the genie searching for the perfect cereal. As detailed by this article, the narrative packaging creates an immersive unboxing experience.

OffLimits Cereal

OffLimits also targeted the health food space, with grain-free cereals in bold patterns and colors. The restricted symbol-shaped OffLimits logo reinforces the brand’s positioning. The packaging balances eye-catching aesthetics with clear communication about the product’s benefits and nutritional information.

Key Takeaways

When launching a new cereal brand, investing in custom cereal boxes is crucial for standing out and making a memorable first impression. By working with a professional printer, small businesses can get affordable packaging that aligns with their brand story and grabs attention on shelves.

Some key takeaways when designing your cereal boxes include:

  • Picking the right box format like bag-in-box or foldable boxes
  • Using bold, vibrant colors and graphics
  • Featuring fun characters or mascots
  • Crafting intriguing copywriting
  • Showcasing serving suggestions
  • Highlighting your brand’s personality

In the end, your cereal box is prime real estate for showcasing your brand and identity. Take time to get the design right, do your research, and work with a printer that can bring your vision to life affordably. The end result will be cereal packaging that delights customers and stands out on the shelf.

Get Custom Cereal Boxes from

After learning about the benefits of custom cereal boxes and tips for designing them, it’s time to get started creating your own standout packaging. I highly recommend using the services of for affordable, high-quality custom-printed boxes. has extensive experience printing custom cereal boxes and other food packaging. They offer fast turnaround times and competitive prices. Their online ordering system makes it easy to upload your box design, choose from different materials and finishing options, and get a fast free quote.

Some key reasons to choose for your custom cereal boxes:

  • State-of-the-art printing equipment for vivid colors and high-resolution graphics
  • Knowledgeable customer service to help perfect your box design
  • Wide selection of eco-friendly and recyclable materials
  • Simple ordering process with fast delivery
  • Low minimum order quantities – perfect for new product launches

Don’t settle for generic boxes that blend into the background. Work with the experts at to create cereal packaging that pops on store shelves and represents your brand story. Order your free samples today!

Related Resources

Here are some additional resources for small businesses looking to design custom cereal boxes:

  • Guide to Choosing the Right Box Materials – Breakdown of different box materials like cardboard, metal, and plastic.
  • Cereal Box Specifications Cheat Sheet – Handy cheat sheet with dimensions and volume info for standard cereal box sizes.
  • Top 10 Cereal Brand Designs – Lookbook with examples of creative cereal packaging.
  • How to Make Your Cereal Stand Out – Tips for designing eye-catching cereal boxes.
  • Interviews with Cereal Brand Founders – Insights from small cereal brand founders on launching new products.

Check out these links for more inspiration and guidance on designing your custom cereal packaging. With a unique box that reflects your brand story, you can make your mark in the cereal aisle.


In conclusion, custom cereal boxes enable small businesses and new brands to truly stand out in a crowded market dominated by large, established players. With a unique box design aligned to their brand image, small cereal companies can create an eye-catching product that grabs consumer attention on store shelves. The unboxing experience and the packaging itself become an important touchpoint for making an emotional connection with customers. By investing in custom packaging, a small business can begin building brand loyalty and recognition even before a customer tries their product. The benefits of full creative control and the ability to tell a brand story on the box can give small cereal brands a competitive edge. Overall, custom cereal boxes are an impactful and cost-effective way for new brands to get noticed and start building their success.