Many of today’s most popular breakfast cereals were invented in the 1950’s.
Breakfast cereal is something that millions of Americans reach for to get their day started off right. In fact, it is so popular that $7.7 billion of cereal is sold every year! Breakfast cereal ranks number four in the top ten packaged goods in U.S. retail stores. When you go out for breakfast in Denver you most likely aren’t ordering a bowl of cereal. But 31% of Americans who do eat breakfast, reach for cereal.
While eating grains for breakfast has been around since ancient times, the first breakfast cereal was invented in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson. The cereal, called Granula, never really caught on because the heavy bran nuggets required an overnight soak in order to make them soft enough to eat, which is not very convenient. John Harvey Kellogg began experimenting with cereals when he worked as the medical superintendent for the Western Health Reform Institute. In 1895 he launched the Cornflakes brand, which became an overnight sensation. His brother, William K. Kellogg, worked with him until 1906 when he branched out on his own, bought the rights to Cornflakes and started the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company. Charles W. Post, who was a former patient of Kellogg’s at the Western Health Reform Institute, became interested in cereal after his stay there. He introduced Grape Nuts in 1898 and became an early innovator of breakfast cereals, along with Kellogg.
Many of our most beloved cereals were invented in the 1950’s. With the boom in television and advertising, companies were able to market themselves using mascots and appealing to children with sugary cereals. Tony the Tiger, a cereal icon, made his debut in 1950’s as well. Here’s a short list of some of the cereals introduced in the 1950’s that we’re still enjoying today.
Cocoa Puffs (1958)
Corn Chex (1958)
Alpha Bits (1958)
Special K (1955)
Frosted Flakes (1952)
Corn Pops (1951, originally called Sugar Pops)
Honey Smacks (1953, originally called Sugar Smacks)