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Cold breakfast cereal

A breakfast cereal (cereal) is a packaged breakfast food. It is eaten cold, usually mixed with milk, water or yogurt, but sometimes eaten dry. Some cereals, such as oatmeal, may be served hot as porridge. Some companies promote their products for the health benefits from eating oat-based and high-fiber cereals. Cereals may be fortified with vitamins. Some cereals are made with high sugar content.

The breakfast cereal industry has gross profit margins of 40-45%, 90% penetration in some markets, and steady and continued growth throughout its history.


Breakfast cereals have their beginnings in the vegetarian movement in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which influenced members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States. The main Western breakfast at that time was a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, and beef. The first packaged breakfast cereal, Granula (named after granules) was invented in the United Statesmarker in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitorium in Dansville, New Yorkmarker and a staunch vegetarian. The cereal never became popular; it was far too inconvenient, as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat. Ferdinand Schumacher, president of the American Cereal Company, created the first commercially successful cereal made from oats; manufacturing took place in Akron, Ohiomarker.

Breakfast cereals were considerably more convenient, and, combined with clever marketing, they finally managed to catch on. In 1877, John Harvey Kellogg, operator of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michiganmarker, invented a biscuit made of ground-up wheat, oat, and cornmeal for his patients suffering from bowel problems. The product was initially also named "Granula", but changed to "Granola" after a lawsuit. His most famous contribution, however, was an accident. After leaving a batch of boiled wheat soaking overnight and rolling it out, Kellogg had created wheat flakes. His brother Will Keith Kellogg later invented corn flakes from a similar method, bought out his brother's share in their business, and went on to found the Kellogg Company in 1906. With his shrewd marketing and advertising, Kellogg's sold their one millionth case after three years.

The 20th century

In the 1930s, the first puffed cereal, Kix, went on the market. Beginning after World War II, the big breakfast cereal companies – now including General Mills, who entered the market in 1924 with Wheaties – increasingly started to target children. The flour was refined to remove fiber, which at the time was considered to make digestion and absorption of nutrients difficult, and sugar was added to improve the flavor for children. The new breakfast cereals began to look starkly different from their ancestors. As one example, Kellogg's Sugar Smacks, created in 1953, had 56% sugar by weight. Different mascots were introduced, first with the Rice Krispies elves and later pop icons like Tony the Tiger and the Trix Rabbit.

Because of Kellogg and Post, the city of Battle Creek, Michiganmarker is nicknamed the "cereal city".


Muesli is a breakfast cereal based on uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts. It was developed around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. It is available in a packaged dry form such as Alpen, or it can be made fresh.

Hot cereals

Most hot cereal can be classified as porridges, in that they consist of cereal grains which are soaked and/or boiled to soften them and make them palatable. Sweeteners, such as sugar, honey, or maple syrup, are often added either by the manufacturer, during cooking, or before eating.

National variations


Common hot cereals in Canada include oatmeal, Cream of Wheat and Red River cereal. These hot cereals are typically served with maple syrup or brown sugar and milk or cream. Yogurt is a popular addition to Red River cereal.


In China, a popular breakfast combination is fried bread, known as you tiao, and rice congee or soy milk.


In Greece, cornmeal is poured into boiling milk to create a cereal of a thick consistency which is often served to young children. They have cereals such as Chocos, Honey Nut Loops, Choco Krispies, Frosties, Smacks, and plenty more.


In India, a popular breakfast combination is poha and milk. Poha is flattened rice flakes or wheat flakes and mixed with hot milk, sugar or jaggery and a minute quantity of cardamom, making a wholesome breakfast. This is very popular in West India. In North India, a similar breakfast is Dalia, made with whole wheat grits. It can be made both sweet(cooked in milk with sugar) or salty (cooked in water using vegetables). The South Indian staple breakfast is idli, sambar, dosa and vada. These preparations need preplanning as the batter has to be prepared the day before and left to ferment. A dish called Upma made from (Rava) Semolina is commonly eaten which is very easy to prepare. Apart from Rava, Upma is widely made with Rice Rava, Vermicelli and Cous-cous also.


In Russiamarker, a breakfast is kasha, a porridge of buckwheat ( , grechka), farina ( , manna), or other grains. Kasha is found throughout much of Eastern Europe, including Polandmarker and Croatiamarker.

South Africa

Pap is a porridge used in a variety of African meals eaten throughout the day. In other parts of Africa it is known as ugali, sadza, and banku.

Porridge brands unique to South Africa include Jungle Oats and Bokomo Maltabella (made from malted sorghum).

See also


  3. Percentage Of Sugar In Common Foods
  4. [1]
  5. Cereal City USA - Closed, Battle Creek, Michigan
  6. J.A. Kurmann, et al.: Encyclopedia of Fermented Fresh Milk Products: an international inventory of fermented milk, cream, buttermilk, whey, and related products. Springer Verlang, 1992. Page 75: Bircher Muesli.
  7. Pronutro, Cereals, Mealie Meal


  • Breakfast Cereals and How They Are Made, Elwood F. Caldwell, American Association of Cereal Chemists, 2000, ISBN 1891127152
  • Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of American Breakfast Cereal , Scott Bruce, Faber & Faber, 1995, ISBN 0571198511

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