One of the first solid foods many parents feed babies is Cheerios. Part of the appeal of Cheerios is that babies seem to enjoy feeding themselves with them. But as babies begin to experience the independence of feeding themselves, they can begin to resist parental feeding efforts.
So a parent
has to wonder, if the baby wants a diet rich in Cheerios, how does this compare nutritionally to the carefully formulated ingredients in mother's milk, formula, and/or early stage baby foods? The Cheerios web site talks a lot about the nutritional benefits of Cheerios for babies, but what it really says is that there are good things in the cereal, not that those things are optimal for babies. After all, are we really to expect that a cereal developed for a relatively small portion of an adult diet is likely to be ideal for a large portion of a baby's diet?
So why not develop a separate variety of Cheerios that *is* formulated to be more optimal for babies? It could be sold in smaller boxes and at a higher margin, and would enable the manufacturer to argue for shelf space in the babyfood area of the food store in addition to the shelf space they already occupy in the breakfast cereal area.
Thinking cynically, I bet this would be a commercial success even if the formula were changed only slightly.