HomeNutritionA Brief History Of Cereals

A Brief History Of Cereals

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to breakfast cereals. Some people like theirs with warm milk, cold milk, yoghurt and some simply like it with just water. The less adventurous cereal connoisseurs may even decide to just have theirs dry. Alternative cereals such as oatmeal are served as porridge and others may be high in fibre and marketed as healthier cereal. Whatever cereal you prefer to have, the industry has always been very profitable with it’s popularity growing steadily over the years.

Believe it or not, it was the vegetarian movement in the last quarter of the 19th century which spawned the first breakfast cereals. Around that time the main western breakfast was the ever popular eggs, bacon, sausage and beef. It was in fact in 1863 that the first packaged cereal was invented. Called Granula, the cereal consisted of heavy bran nuggets which needed soaking overnight before they could be eaten. It is unsurprising to find that they never caught on and an oat based cereal manufactured in Ohio eventually took the honours of being the first commercially successful cereal.

By the 1930s, the first puffed cereals started to appear on the market. Kix was the first and most popular cereal and around the mid 1920s adverts for cereals started to target children. The recipes were also changed in order to appeal to their younger audience, with the flour being refined in order to remove the fibre and sugar being added to improve the flavour. Around that time it was thought that fibre made digestion more difficult for children which is why the cereals of the day are radically different to those we see on our shelves today. As an example of this, in 1953 the Kellogg’s company introduced a cereal called Sugar Smacks. This contained a staggering 56% sugar by weight. Such foodstuffs would be unheard of today, even in a society that eats as unhealthily as ours does. Different mascots for each cereal started to be introduced, such as the elves we see on boxes of Rice Crispies, and as television advertising became more popular characters such as Tony the Tiger started to appear.

The concept of the cereal box prize is about as old as the concept of cereals themselves, perhaps even older. Before breakfast cereals became very popular, prizes were given away in boxes of Cracker Jacks. By the 1950s and 1960s the toys given away were often action figures, puzzles or Matchbox style toy cars. As cereals evolved, so did the prizes that came packaged inside. By the 1990s and 2000s children were spoilt with the inclusion of cassette or even compact disc singles. It wasn’t unusual to find a computer game being included as a prize. A clever marketing ploy included a toy which had to be collected as a series of many, which would further entice the consumer to buy yet more boxes of cereal in the hope of acquiring the entire collection. It is this appeal to the younger market that has seen children become the largest consumers of cereals by far.


Source by Dave Matthews

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