Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Eat your cornflakes

February 3, 2011

When I was a kid, most of my breakfasts consisted of Post Toasties or Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Now, these companies produce hundreds of varieties of cereal to choose from. Kellogg’s alone has over 100 products that are distributed throughout 180 countries. I found it to be most interesting how all of this came about as breakfast cereals started years before I was born. My dad worked at the state prison and we were able to get groceries there which included great big packages of dry cereal. This was in the 1930s and the groceries were delivered to our house.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was a health pioneer and was sent to medical school by Ellen G. White to become a doctor so he could practice at a Seventh Day Adventist Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Mich. This institution was the forerunner of good nutrition, and they taught classes in food preparation for homemakers. This Battle Creek Sanitarium was well known and had many influential patients including former president William Howard Taft, Amelia Earhart, actress Sarah Bernhardt, Johnny Weissmuller, Lowell Thomas and many others. Charles William Post was a patient at this sanitarium and while there realized the value of this nutritional product and being very enterprising, started his own company which produced Post cereals.

John Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg worked together at the Sanitas Food Company to produce whole grain cereals around 1897. They mixed up a batch and were called away for a while. When they returned, they thought the batch was ruined but decided to run it through rollers and that’s where corn flakes came from. John and Will had a disagreement and Will broke away and started the Battle Creek Toasted Cornflake Company, which eventually became the Kellogg Company, triggering decades of a long feud. John then formed the Battle Creek Food Company to develop and market soy products. The Kelloggs did not invent the concept of dry breakfast cereal. That honor belongs to Dr. James Caleb Jackson, who created the first dry cereal in 1863, which he called “granula”.

Will Kellogg had a vision and believed in the importance of nutrition for children. In 1930 he created an organization called the W.K. Kellogg Child Welfare Foundation which became the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The focus was protecting, nourishing and supporting opportunities for children has continued to this day. In 2008 the foundation’s assets reached $8 billion from Will’s initial investment of $66 million. This foundation has and is still helping children the world over.

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