Eggo Waffles Slumping Without 'Stranger Things'
No Eleven means fewer Eggos
Stranger Things isn’t coming back to Netflix until 2019. That’s bad news for fans of science fiction, borrowed 80’s nostalgia, and Steve Harrington. It’s even less welcome for a particular brand of frozen breakfast treats that enjoyed a big brand lift thanks to the show’s runaway success.
With everyone’s season 2 binge behind them, Eggo waffles aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes. According to Nielsen statistics reported by CNN Money, Kellogg’s brand of frozen waffles, pancakes and french toast has seen its year-over-year growth fall to just 1.3% for the four weeks prior to May 19th. That pales in comparison to the 9.4% sales growth Eggo saw in the first four months of 2018, which itself followed a 14% uptick during Q4 of 2017, when the show’s second season was released.
For anyone who hasn’t already used their ex’s roommate’s parents’ Netflix password to watch the Duffer Brothers’ show, Eggo’s frozen waffles are inexorably linked to central character “Eleven”, a young girl with psychokinetic powers who ventures out of Finn Wolfhard’s basement to shoplift a ton of Eggo waffles and feed herself. That Eggo appetite has became something of a defining trait for the character since season 1, and some of that Q4 2017 sales growth no doubt had to do with a proliferation of Eleven-themed Halloween costumes.
Eggo’s post Stranger Things stagnation isn’t unique, but the product of a broader shift in consumer tastes. More and more consumers are prioritizing fresher meals and natural ingredients over prepackaged convenience. With the rise of the farmer’s market and decline of the freezer aisle, companies like Kellogg’s have been left in a bind, especially when online competitors like Amazon Fresh make healthier alternatives more accessible.
It makes perfect sense that a show awash in 80’s nostalgia has helped boost a brand that seems out of touch with modern desires. But one certainly has to wonder what might happen once all that free publicity inevitably comes to an end someday . It’ll probably take more than a gang of nerdy preteens to figure that one out.