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The History of Cereal

Cereal is one of the most popular breakfast foods around the world. In fact, it is so popular that there are so many different kinds, ranging from sweet to savoury, healthy and not. However, cereal has a very different beginning that what it has turned into today. When cereal was first invented, it was done so as a form of medicine. In 1863, Dr. James Caleb Jackson ran a spa and began developing cereal as a medicinal food to help treat the digestive system. However, his mixture was so inedible that it has to sit in milk for long periods of time before it could be consumed. Another man, named John Harvey Kellogg, heard of Jackson’s idea and began experimenting himself. This caused a rift between the two men, leading Jackson to sue Kellogg and forcing him to change the name of his cereal to ‘granola’. Afterwards, with the help of his brother, John Kellogg began selling his creation and building the extremely successful brand that still exists today. The adoption of cereal at breakfast was the start of the American shift between huge, British-style breakfast to more simple, manageable ones. Since then, hundreds of different kinds of cereals have emerged, like The Quaker Oats company’s ‘puffed rice’ and Cheerios, originally called Cheeri-Oats. The popularity of cereal has spiked and dropped tremendously since its release, especially depending on different trends wars going on in the world. For example, cereal sales spiked during WWII, as women were suddenly forced to work and had no time to cook a big breakfast. On the other hand, cereal dropped as less babies were being born during the 80s. Today, cereal has seen an increased spike in popularity during the pandemic as more people have the time to sit and have breakfast!