No longer did mom have to cook hot cereal, eggs or meat, and kids could independently prepare something for themselves before going off to school. And breakfast hasn’t been the same.
In the late 1890s, a rather eccentric man named John Harvey Kellogg, ran 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 decided to mass-market 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 for the masses, and a star was born.
Both guys could thank an enterprising gentleman by the name of Sylvester Graham, who forty years earlier had experimented with graham flour, marketing it to aid “remove animal from attic problems.” 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 that original idea, in 1898 the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) began producing graham crackers based on the experiments of Sylvester Graham, first promoting them as a”digestive” cracker for people with stomach problems; (Seems a lot of people had digestive problems even back then.)
Fast forward and other companies were sitting up and taking notice. The Quaker Oats Company, obtained a method which compelled rice grains to explode 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 company introduce an early version of Wheat Chex, calling it Shredded Ralston (seems a little painful);
Shortly Cheerios appeared and would become the best-selling cereal in America, worth about $1 billion in sales in 2015.
Nobody can dispute the convenience and versatility of dry packed cereal. In the last fifty years, this multi-billion dollar industry 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).