The Food That Built America Recap for Planet Mars

The Food That Built America Recap for The Champions of Breakfast

The Food That Built America Recap for The Champions of Breakfast

-This week’s The Food That Built America is titled The Champions of Breakfast and focuses on cereals…Wheaties, Cheerios and the advent of sugary cereals kids have come to know and love.

-Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was the number one cereal in the world….until James Ford Bell got into the business. He was determined to make the next big thing with Washburn-Crosby. In order to do this, he went to the sanitarium and did some secret research. He liked the cereal flakes he had tasted, but decided to make it next level by creating his own.

-James and his crew made 36 different recipes until he declared #14 the winner. He would go on to convince the board of directors to go up against Kellogg’s to put the cereal on the market. In 1923, they get to work making their own cereal.

-During this time, Will Kellogg releases Pep Flakes, which is a wheat version of Corn Flakes. By 1924, James and his crew release their own wheat flakes, but it is initially a failure. They decide to remarket it and call it Wheaties…..leading to it dominating the cereal market and creating competition for Kellogg’s.

-However, it is not that easy, until Samuel Gale takes over advertising for the cereal, using a barbershop quartet to create the first advertising jingle. The jingle aired on Christmas Eve of 1926 and became a runaway hit for the company and the cereal.

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-James is now the company president, but he now must find a way to make enough Wheaties to keep up with demand. On June 20, 1928, he creates a conglomerate of flour companies in the area, creating General Mills, which will become the biggest flour mill in the world.

-Back at Kellogg’s, Will decides to invent Rice Krispies….with the snap, crackle, pop sound when milk is added…..or a cereal that talks. The sound was a happy accident that was released in 1928 and became known as the talking cereal children loved. This led to The Singing Lady, a children’s radio show and the jingle for Rice Crispies. The cartoon characters we all know and love followed soon after, being featured on the boxes and in ads.

-Not to be outdone, James decides to use real people for his cereal boxes, rebranding it as the Breakfast of Champions. Lou Gehrig was the first to appear on the box, giving the cereal a new appeal. This would lead to them becoming big in the sports world and having ads during sports broadcasts around the country.

-A man named Dutch wins a competition General Mills held during the game and soon became identified as the man we all know as President Ronald Reagan.

-During this time, vitamins were becoming available and added into food and drinks, including milk…..making the latter a companion for cereal. However, people didn’t like cereal, leading to James coming up with puffed cereal….giving s what we now know as Kix!

-Kix was the first vitamin fortified cereal on the market, giving General Mills a leg up in the cereal competition.

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-General Mills then came out with CheeriOats as another vitamin fortified cereal. While they stay ahead in the cereal game, Pearl Harbor puts a damper in things as the USA enters World War II. Major companies began to send food to the front lines and helping in the war effort.

-Although their efforts helped the soldiers, General Mills would soon face a lawsuit by Quaker Oats, who claimed they owned the word oats. This would lead to CheeriOats becoming Cheerios.

-The Baby Boom soon led to the invention of sugary cereals since Boomer kids loved their sugar.

-Kellogg’s came out with Frosted Flakes, but Will would die before we would see it come to fruition. Tony The Tiger became its mascot

-General Mills came out with its own sugary cereals, including Trix, with the iconic rabbit.

-More next week, stay tuned!

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Author: Sammi Turano
Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.