Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cold Cereals

Cereal Spoonful Strawberry Spoon Food Brea  Most kids grow up eating one of the popular cold cereals.  I really didn't eat that much until I went off to college.  I grew up eating oatmeal and rice.  Rice with cinnamon, or raisins, or butter topped with sugar and milk.

I remember going shopping with my mother and seeing the rows of cereals like  Captain Crunch, Life, Corn Flakes,  or  Fruit Loops but not usually getting to try them.

Its amazing that the first cold cereal made its appearance in a 1863 at a private sanitarium in  New York state.  The guy took dough made with graham flour, dried it, and then broke it into small chunks.  It was so hard, it had to be soaked in milk overnight.  Although it was rather tasteless, Granula was marketed by "Our Home Granula Company. 

In 1886,  Dr Kellogg was hired to help improve a sanitarium in Michigan.  After much research he renamed it the Kellogg sanitarium and he ended up marketing his own version of Granula but due to a law suit, he changed the name to Granola.  Then C.W. Post, a former patient of Kellogg, created and marketed Grape-Nuts.  Grape-Nuts was the first cereal to offer a discount coupon.  Post also used one thing Kellogg refused to - advertising.  That's right, Post advertised his product in magazine and newspaper ads.

The next cereal came out in 1896 when two Kellogg brothers found a way to create a cereal in flake form and marketed them as Granose Flakes later renamed them Corn Flakes.  Shortly after this the two brothers parted company and one went on to form the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flakes Company later shortened to Kellogg company.  they began marketing it in the early 1900's with the first toy prize.  Post made his own version and named it Elijah's Manna but changed it to Post Toasties after religious groups protested.

It was also in Battle Creek Michigan that a doctor figured out a way to puff rice and sold the method to Quaker Oats in the early 1900's.   Quaker Oats used this to get  into the cold cereal business when they commissioned a machine to place rice grains under pressure causing them to explode into puffy shapes.  Quaker applied this process to wheat so they could market Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, advertised as "food shot from guns" and the "eighth wonder of the world." The phrase "food shot from guns" came about because the doctor originally puffed the rice by shooting them out of a cannon

Then in the 1920's a worker accidentally dropped a wheat bran mixture on a hot stove and Wheaties was born.  The slogan "Breakfast of Champions" didn't come out until the 1930's when it first appeared on a billboard for a minor league baseball team in Minnesota. Late in the 1920's, Rice Krispies hit the market  and provided real competition with Wheaties.

The 1930's brought us the earliest version of Wheat Chex called Shredded Ralston produced by Ralston Purina.  This particular cereal was designed to appeal to members of the Ralstonism movement who basically believed in the purity of the Caucasian race but in the late 1930's they marketed it as Wheat Chex.

The early cereals were all marketed as health foods because there was a strong health movement in the country but in 1936 that changed when Ranger Joe Popped Wheat Honnies, the first pre-sweetened cereal hit the shelves and sweetened cereals became the norm.

Of course Cheerio's made its appearance in the 1940's but under the name CheeriOats but it was quickly changed. Over time, Cheerio's has become the best selling cereal in the United States.  Beginning in the 1950's sugared cereals such as Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch, Boo Berry, etc but it was in the 1970's when the FTC clamped down on how the companies promoted their cereals to the kids.

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