I have come across both pieces of vocabulary, and I think that they both mean 'cereal', but I am not completely sure whether there is a slight nuance to one of them.

Could someone please shed some light on this? Thanks in advance

  • I have never heard Flakes that were not Cornflakes ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


"Getreideflocken" and "Flakes" are both grain-based food items that are classified as "Zerealien" ("cereals"), but they are fundamentally different in the way they are produced:

  • Getreideflocken
    are simply flattened grains, usually without further treatment, sometines steamed for longer shelf life. Rolled oats ("Haferflocken") are a typical example, but other grains like wheat or barley are common, too. Getreideflocken are the main ingredient in Muesli.

  • Flakes
    refer to all processed breakfast cereals, including the novelty-shaped, sweet, colourful ones often marketed towards children. The two main methods of production are

    • boiling the grains, mixing with malt, sugar and salt, then flattening, drying amd sometimes roasting them. The arguably most famous of them are cornflakes.
    • making a dough-like mass that is pushed through an extruder, not unlike pasta.

The German language has adopted the word "Flakes" via the product "Cornflakes" and as part of other product names, but it appears the jury's still out as far as the question of a gereric term for sugary cereals is concerned. Common expressions are "Frühstücksflocken" and "Frühstückscerealien", the latter apparently advertising speak, the former a more neutral term.

  • 1
    The German Wikipedia has a definition on "Frühstücksflocken".
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 0:28
  • A detailed and to-the-point answer!
    – Turbo
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 5:54

"Getreideflocken" are some kind of "Flakes". "Flakes" is more like a generic term.

... EDIT: yes, I think both means 'cerial', too. There are no other translations.

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