No longer did mom have to cook hot cereal, eggs or meat, and children could independently prepare something for themselves before going off to college. And breakfast hasn’t been the same.
In the late 1890s, a somewhat eccentric man named John Harvey Kellogg, conducted a health sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan, and had created a bland, tasteless food for his patients with digestive troubles. A couple of years after, his brother Will chose to kickstart the new food in his new company, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, including a bit of sugar to the flakes recipe which makes it more palatable to the masses, and a star was born.
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 broken into shapes so hard they needed to be soaked in milk overnight, which he called granula (the father of granola and graham crackers).
Capitalizing on that original 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 people with stomach problems; (Sounds a lot of people had gastrointestinal problems even back then.)
Fast forward and other squirrel removal companies were sitting up and taking notice. The Quaker Oats Company, acquired a method which compelled rice grains to explode and began marketing Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, calling them a marvel of food science which was”the first food taken from guns” (oh boy, would they come under fire for this one now, no pun intended);
1920s Wheaties was introduced and cleverly targeted athletes as they proclaimed to be the”Breakfast of Champions;”
The 1930s saw The Ralston Purina firm introduce an early version of Wheat Chex, calling it Shredded Ralston (seems a little painful);
Soon Cheerios appeared and could become the best-selling cereal in America, worth about $1 billion in sales in 2015.
No one can dispute the convenience and flexibility of dry packaged cereal. In the past fifty years, this multi-billion dollar market has spun off multiple uses, unlimited possibilities and targeted children with clever packaging, outrageous names, flavors, colors and options (all loaded with sugar of course).