For most people, cereal is the ultimate convenient breakfast, and even the most sugary cereals claim to supply nutritional advantages and a balanced start to your day. It’s probably never struck you as odd that there's a whole supermarket aisle dedicated to nothing but cereal. Each brand is attempting to convince you it’s product offers something totally different–something better–and there's most likely at least one you're buying into. The "kids only" sugar bombs boast whole grains, and Special K comes garnished with chocolate bits and sweet yogurt clusters.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, one of America’s 1st wellness gurus, helped lead the movement toward cleaner living. Raised in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which preached the imminent end of the world and the advent of Christ, Dr. Kellogg had been groomed by the church’s founders to be a frontrunner in the religion. In 1876, he took over a church-founded health institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, that he designed into the world-famous medical spa and resort referred to as the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
Around 1877, Dr. Kellogg concocted a twice-baked mixture of flour, oats and cornmeal, that he began smashing into little pieces for serving (after a patient broke her tooth on a biscuit version). He believed that by baking the whole grains at high temperatures, a method he referred to as “dextrinization,” they became more easily digestible, and, therefore, more healthy.
By the time Dr. Kellogg entered the market, others had already begun to take advantage of the public’s appetite for cereal. Among the most booming was C. W. Post, a one-time patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium who adapted Kellogg’s cereal recipe into his own factory-made version, Grape-Nuts, to tremendous success. A cut-throat competition to Kellogg, Post even bought exclusive rights to manufacture the cereal-rolling machine required in the cereal production process—equipment which Kellogg originally helped design.
With their irresistible combination of health claims and convenience, combined with the distinctive circumstances of the historical moment in which they emerged, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and alternative cereals would have a revolutionary impact on the American breakfast. “It was very easy compared to any other kind of breakfast,” says Wassberg Johnson. “You open a box, dump it in a bowl, pour some milk thereon. You actually can't get much easier than that in the morning.” And that is what makes Kellogg's Cereal products so popular in America.