The Cereal Guy

This week I was privileged to do a phone interview with Hajo Engelke, founder of Custom Choice Cereal, a company based out of Durham, North Carolina, close to the Research Triangle Park and Chapel Hill, which specializes in delivering custom made gluten free cereal from your choice of high quality ingredients, right to your door. Hajo got the idea to create gluten free customized cereals back in 2008, during a phone conversation with a gluten-intolerant friend who had been complaining to him about the limited variety of gluten free cereals available for his breakfast. After months of hard work, Custom Choice Cereal came to life in October 2009, with the help from a group of students at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
When browsing through the website at http://www.customchoicecereal.com it is impressive to note their diligence and respect toward their gluten intolerant customers. In their exclusive gluten free facility, all of their ingredients are tested for potential cross-contamination before delivering your personal cereal mix to your doorstep. So how do you make your OWN gluten free customized cereal mix? It is very simple. The website is very easy to walk through. Simple choose from one of three cereal bases, either a gluten free granola, a gluten free corn flake or a gluten free flake with flax seeds, buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth. Then chose your mix in’s. The variety is quite impressive, ranging from dried fruits, to exotic berries, to nuts to chocolate chips! Then your cereal is hand packed in 12 ounce packages and shipped to your doorstep. Although there is a shipping charge, the company gives you a break on ordering multiple bags of cereal. With Seattle being his biggest customer, he would love to get more states involved, especially Colorado, which is known for its awareness of healthy eating. And the combinations of cereal blends are endless. There is even a pre-mix ‘favorites’ section, where you can choose a blend that the company has created, designed for specific tastes and needs.
Hajo says that if you add less mix-ins, say 2-4, to your blend, it is more like a cereal and if you add more, say 4-6, it is more like a trail mix. It all depends on your taste, which is the main priority at Custom Choice Cereal. Imagine being able to design the cereal you put in your breakfast bowl every morning. Hajo was very excited to tell me that after much time and effort they were able to partner up with Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet and specialty foods retailer in New York City. He is proud to have his Custom Choice Cereal products on their shelves and hopes to raise awareness of his products, since he strictly relies on word of mouth and his blogsite for advertising. Although Hajo does not adhere to a strict gluten free diet, he admitted to me that he does have so much more ‘get up and go’ energy in the morning after making his custom choice cereals a part of his morning breakfast, which is after all, the most important meal of the day.
I hope that you will get a chance to look at his website and maybe order a package to come right to your doorstep. As you know, we all love cereal in the Velick house, and here is a list of our Ten Top Favorite Cereals that you can find in your local grocery store. Note, this is not an all inclusive list, it is only cereals that we like at our house that are gluten free. You can come up with your own list too!
1. Perkey’s Crunchy Rice or Flax cereal by Enjoy Life
2. Rice Chex or Corn Chex by General Mills
3. Honey Nut Rings by Glutino
4. Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes Or Sweetened Rice Flakes by Arrowhead Mills
5. Fruit Juice-Sweetened Corn Flakes or Honey’d Corn Flakes by Nature’s Path
6. Mesa Sunrise Flakes by Nature’s Path
7. Organic Whole O’s by Nature’s Path
8. Crispy Brown Rice Cereal by Erewhon
9. Gorilla Munch by Envirokids
10. Puffins Multigrain cereal by Barbara’s

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One Response to The Cereal Guy

  1. Pingback: Gluten Free Cereal Brands

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