There isn’t any question that cold cereals revolutionized the American breakfast table. No longer did mom need to cook hot cereal, eggs or meat, and children can independently prepare something for themselves before going off to college. And breakfast hasn’t been the same.
From the late 1890s, a somewhat eccentric man named John Harvey Kellogg, conducted a health sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan, and had established a bland, tasteless food for his patients with digestive troubles. A couple of years after, his brother will chose to mass-market the new food at his new firm, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, including a little sugar into the flakes recipe which makes it more palatable to the masses, and a star was born.
Around the same time, C. W. Post, who was a patient in Kellogg’s sanitarium, introduced a substitute for java named Postum, followed by Grape-Nuts (that don’t have anything to do with either grapes or nuts) and his version of Kellogg’s corn flakes, naming them Post Toasties, and America’s breakfasts were not the same.
Both guys could thank an enterprising gentleman by the name of Sylvester Graham, who twenty years before had experimented with graham flour, marketing it to help”digestive issues.” He produced a breakfast cereal which was dried and divided into shapes so tough they had to be soaked in milk overnight, which he predicted granula (the father of granola and graham crackers).
Capitalizing on this initial concept, in 1898 the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) started producing graham crackers based on the experiments of Sylvester Graham, first promoting them as a”digestive” cracker for those who have stomach problems; (Sounds plenty of people had gastrointestinal problems even back then.)
Fast forward and other businesses were sitting up and taking notice. The Quaker Oats Company, obtained a method which compelled rice grains to burst and started marketing Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, calling them a marvel of food science that was”the first food taken from guns” (oh boy, would they come under fire for this one now, no pun intended);
The 1930s saw The Ralston Purina firm introduce an early version of Wheat Chex, calling it Shredded Ralston (seems somewhat painful);
Shortly Cheerios appeared and could become the best-selling cereal in the usa, worth roughly $1 billion in sales in 2015.
Nobody can dispute the convenience and flexibility of dry packed cereal. In the past fifty years, this multi-billion dollar market has spun off multiple applications, unlimited possibilities and targeted children with clever packaging, outrageous names, flavors, colors and options (all loaded with sugar of course).