Cheerios®, Rice Krispies®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch®. It’s hard to imagine breakfast without our favorite breakfast cereals, but there was a time when getting breakfast on the table was a lot more work.
Before the invention of modern breakfast cereals, people often ate large, cooked breakfasts, including eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, grits, oatmeal, and toast, every day of the week. Breakfast cereals changed the way millions of Americans ate breakfast.
- During the mid-1800s, many people suffered from health problems caused by a poor diet. Interest in healthy eating grew. Dr. James Caleb Jackson opened Jackson Sanitarium, a place where people could come to restore their health through rest and good nutrition. Jackson baked water and graham flour together to make a tasteless, but healthful, cereal. It was very bland and had to be soaked overnight. Called “Granula,” it was the first instant breakfast cereal and was surprisingly popular.
- In 1866, Ellen White opened a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan and hired John Harvey Kellogg to help her. Kellogg invented the first commercial cold cereal and later started the Battle Creek Toasted Cereal Company, which became the Kellogg Company in 1925.
- Other people jumped on the cold cereal fad and more than 40 companies opened, including Post.
- Alexander P. Anderson shot grains of rice out of a cannon to make puffed rice. Quaker Oats bought Anderson’s product and produced the first puffed rice cereal in 1905.
- In 1939, the first sweetened cereal, Ranger Joe Popped Wheat Honnies, hit the market. Advertisers started using cartoon characters, toys, and catchy songs to sell sweetened cereals to children. Cereals were no longer a health food.
- Bland: without flavor
- Fad: a popular trend
Questions and Answers
Question: What is muesli?
Answer: Muesli is a very popular cereal that originated as a health food in Europe. It is made from raw oats, dried fruit, and nuts.
Watch a video about cereal factories.