Breakfast cereal
Overview
 
A breakfast cereal is a food made from processed grains that is often, but not always, eaten with the first meal of the day. It is often eaten cold, usually mixed with milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

 (e.g. cow's milk, soy milk
Soy milk
Soy milk and sometimes referred to as soy drink/beverage is a beverage made from soybeans. A stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein, it is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water...

, rice milk
Rice milk
Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and commonly unsweetened. The sweetness in most rice milk varieties is generated by a natural enzymatic process, cleaving the carbohydrates into sugars, especially glucose, similar to the Japanese amazake...

, almond milk
Almond milk
Almond milk is a milky drink made from ground almonds. Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. Regular, unsweetened almond milk can be used as a substitute for animal milk in many recipes, and as it does not contain any animal products, is suitable for vegetarians and...

), water, or yogurt, and sometimes fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 but sometimes eaten dry. Some cereals, such as oatmeal
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is ground oat groats , or a porridge made from oats . Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats....

, may be served hot as porridge
Porridge
Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish...

. Some companies promote their products for the health benefits from eating oat-based and high-fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

 cereals.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A breakfast cereal is a food made from processed grains that is often, but not always, eaten with the first meal of the day. It is often eaten cold, usually mixed with milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

 (e.g. cow's milk, soy milk
Soy milk
Soy milk and sometimes referred to as soy drink/beverage is a beverage made from soybeans. A stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein, it is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water...

, rice milk
Rice milk
Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and commonly unsweetened. The sweetness in most rice milk varieties is generated by a natural enzymatic process, cleaving the carbohydrates into sugars, especially glucose, similar to the Japanese amazake...

, almond milk
Almond milk
Almond milk is a milky drink made from ground almonds. Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. Regular, unsweetened almond milk can be used as a substitute for animal milk in many recipes, and as it does not contain any animal products, is suitable for vegetarians and...

), water, or yogurt, and sometimes fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 but sometimes eaten dry. Some cereals, such as oatmeal
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is ground oat groats , or a porridge made from oats . Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats....

, may be served hot as porridge
Porridge
Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish...

. Some companies promote their products for the health benefits from eating oat-based and high-fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

 cereals. Cereals may be fortified with vitamin
Vitamin
A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Thus, the term is conditional both on...

s. Some cereals are made with high sugar content, with themes like Spider-Man
Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15...

, Disney Princesses
Disney Princesses
Disney Princess is a Walt Disney Company franchise, based on fictional characters who have been featured as part of the Disney character line-up. The six original members of the franchise were Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle and Jasmine, who were later joined by Pocahontas, Mulan,...

, Barbie
Barbie
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration....

 dolls and SpongeBob, giving away free gifts like pull-back cars, Top Trumps
Top Trumps
Top Trumps is a card game. Each card contains a list of numerical data, and the aim of the game is to compare these values in order to try to trump and win an opponent's card...

 cards and plastic bracelets, to popularise them with children.

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

History

Porridge
Porridge
Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish...

 was a traditional food in much of Northern Europe and Russia back to antiquity. Barley was a common grain used, though other grains and yellow peas could be used. In many modern cultures, porridge is still eaten as a breakfast dish.

19th century

The first breakfast cereal, Granula
Granula
Granula was the first manufactured breakfast cereal invented by James Caleb Jackson in 1863. Granula was an early version of Grape-Nuts, consisting of heavy grains of bran-rich Graham flour. The grains had to be soaked overnight before use....

 was invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson
James Caleb Jackson
James Caleb Jackson was the inventor of the first dry, whole grain breakfast cereal which he called granula.-Biography:...

, operator of Our Home on the Hillside which was later replaced by the Jackson Sanatorium in Dansville, New York
Dansville, New York
Dansville, New York may refer to:* Dansville, Livingston County, New York* Dansville, Steuben County, New York...

. The cereal never became popular since it was inconvenient, as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.
Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals have their beginnings in the vegetarian movement
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which influenced members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 in the United States.

The American Cereal Company (Quaker Oats) created a cereal made from oats in 1877, manufacturing the product in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

. Separately, George H. Hoyt created Wheatena
Wheatena
Wheatena is an American high-fiber, toasted-wheat cereal that originated on Mulberry Street in New York City, New York, circa 1879, when a small bakery owner began roasting whole wheat, grinding it, and packaging it for sale under this brand name.-History:...

 circa 1879, during an era when retailers would typically buy cereal (the most popular being cracked wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, oatmeal
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is ground oat groats , or a porridge made from oats . Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats....

, and cerealine
Cerealine
Cerealine, also known as malt flakes, was a popular 19th century American cereal product and the first dry breakfast food. Similar to but predating corn flakes, which appeared in 1898 and are first rolled and then toasted, cerealine is corn grits in the form of uncooked flakes...

) in barrel lots, and scoop it out to sell by the pound to customers. Hoyt, who'd found a distinctive process of preparing wheat for cereal, sold his cereal in boxes, offering consumers a sanitary appeal.

Breakfast cereals, packaged, became considerably more convenient, and, combined with clever marketing, they caught on. In 1877, John Harvey Kellogg
John Harvey Kellogg
John Harvey Kellogg was an American medical doctor in Battle Creek, Michigan, who ran a sanitarium using holistic methods, with a particular focus on nutrition, enemas and exercise. Kellogg was an advocate of vegetarianism and is best known for the invention of the corn flakes breakfast cereal...

, operator of the Battle Creek Sanitarium
Battle Creek Sanitarium
The Battle Creek Sanitarium, in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States, first opened on September 5, 1866, as the Western Health Reform Institute, based on the health principles advocated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 1876, John Harvey Kellogg became the superintendent, and his brother, W....

 in Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

, invented a biscuit made of ground-up wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, oat
Oat
The common oat is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed...

, and cornmeal
Cornmeal
Cornmeal is flour ground from dried maize or American corn. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies. In the United States, the finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as cornflour. However, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch in recipes from the...

 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
Will Keith Kellogg
Will Keith Kellogg, generally referred to as W.K. Kellogg was an American industrialist in food manufacturing, best known as the founder of the Kellogg Company, which to this day produces a wide variety of popular breakfast cereals...

 later invented corn flakes
Corn flakes
Corn flakes are a popular breakfast cereal originally manufactured by Kellogg's through the treatment of maize. A patent for the product was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.-History:...

 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.

20th century

In 1902 Force
Force (cereal)
Force, first produced in 1901 by Force Food Company, one of three American companies owned by Edward Ellsworth and advertised using a popular cartoon figure called Sunny Jim, was the first commercially successful wheat flake cereal. Prior to this, the only successful wheat-based cereal products...

 wheat flakes became the first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal introduced into the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The cereal, and the Sunny Jim
Sunny Jim
"Sunny Jim" is the name of two completely unconnected characters used in advertising and product branding: a cartoon character created to promote Force cereal, the first commercially successful wheat flake;...

 character, achieved wide success in Britain, at its peak in 1930 selling 12.5 million packages.

In the 1930s, the first puffed cereal, Kix
Kix (cereal)
Kix is a cereal introduced in 1937 by the General Mills cereal company of Golden Valley, Minnesota.Kix is an extruded expanded puffed grain product made with whole grain corn. The grain is processed and expanded...

, went on the market. Beginning after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the big breakfast cereal companies – now including General Mills
General Mills
General Mills, Inc. is an American Fortune 500 corporation, primarily concerned with food products, which is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The company markets many well-known brands, such as Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Colombo, Totinos, Jeno's, Pillsbury, Green...

, who entered the market in 1924 with Wheaties
Wheaties
Wheaties is a brand of General Mills breakfast cereal. It is well known for featuring prominent athletes on the exterior of the package, and has become a major cultural icon...

 – 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
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 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
Honey Smacks
Honey Smacks is a sweetened puffed wheat breakfast cereal made by Kellogg's.-Naming:Introduced in 1953, the cereal has undergone several name changes. It started out as Sugar Smacks. In the 1980s, it was renamed Honey Smacks...

, created in 1953, had 56% sugar by weight. Different mascots were introduced, such as the Rice Krispies
Rice Krispies
Rice Krispies is a breakfast cereal that was created by Clayton Rindlisbacher for the Kellogg company, and later marketed by Kellogg's in 1927 and released to the public in 1928...

 elves and later pop icons like Tony the Tiger
Tony the Tiger
Tony the Tiger is the advertising cartoon mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal, appearing on its packaging and advertising. More recently, Tony has also become the mascot for Tony's Cinnamon Krunchers and Tiger Power...

 and the Trix
Trix (cereal)
Trix is a brand of breakfast cereal made by General Mills for the North American and by Nestlé for the European, South American and Asian markets. The cereal consists of fruit-flavored, sweetened, ground-corn pieces. They started out as round cereal pieces, but in 1992, they were changed to puffed...

 Rabbit.

Because of Kellogg
Kellogg Company
Kellogg Company , is a producer of cereal and convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, frozen waffles, and vegetarian foods...

 and Post, the city of Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

 is nicknamed the "Cereal Capital of the World".

Processing

Processing is the modification of a grain or mixture of grains usually taking place in a facility remote from the location where the product is eaten. This distinguishes "Breakfast cereals" from foods made from grains modified and cooked in the place where they are eaten.

Muesli

Muesli is a breakfast cereal based on uncooked rolled oats
Rolled oats
Rolled oats are traditionally oat groats that have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers and then steamed and lightly toasted. The oat, like the other cereals, has a hard, inedible outer husk that must be removed before the grain can be eaten. After the outer husk has been removed from...

, fruit, and nuts. It was developed around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner
Maximilian Bircher-Benner
Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner was a Swiss physician and a pioneer in nutritional research....

 for patients in his hospital. It is available in a packaged
Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Fast moving consumer goods or Consumer Packaged Goods are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, and grocery items...

 dry form such as Alpen
Alpen (food)
Alpen is a line of muesli varieties manufactured by the Weetabix cereal company of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.-Introduction into the United States:...

, or it can be made fresh.

Warm cereals

Most warm cereals can be classified as porridge
Porridge
Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish...

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

Canada

Common hot cereals in parts of Canada include oatmeal
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is ground oat groats , or a porridge made from oats . Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats....

, Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat is a porridge-type breakfast food invented in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The cereal is currently manufactured and sold by B&G Foods. Until 2007, it was the Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. It is similar in texture to grits, but made with farina instead...

 and Red River cereal
Red River cereal
Red River Cereal is a porridge, or hot cereal, made of wheat, rye, and flax, produced in Canada, with some availability elsewhere. It was first created in 1924 in Manitoba. The cereal takes its name from the Red River of the North, more specifically the valley around Winnipeg. The brand name is...

. 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. Many Canadians also enjoy cereals common to the style pioneered and currently prevalent in the United States market.

China

In China, porridges such as rice congee
Rice congee
Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. It can be eaten alone or served with a side dish. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation...

, or those made with other ingredients (including corn meal or millet) are often eaten for breakfast.

Greece

In Greece, cornmeal
Cornmeal
Cornmeal is flour ground from dried maize or American corn. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies. In the United States, the finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as cornflour. However, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch in recipes from the...

 is poured into boiling milk to create a cereal of a thick consistency which is often served to young children.

Russia

In Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, a breakfast is kasha
Kasha
Kasha is a cereal commonly eaten in Eastern Europe. In English, kasha generally refers to buckwheat groats, but in Slavic countries, kasha refers to porridge in general and can be made from any cereal, especially buckwheat, wheat, barley, oats, millet, and rye...

, a porridge of buckwheat
Buckwheat
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, the North American genus Eriogonum, and the Northern Hemisphere genus Fallopia. Either of the latter two may be referred to as "wild buckwheat"...

 , farina
Farina (food)
Farina is a cereal food, frequently described as mild-tasting, usually served warm, made from cereal grains. In contemporary American English use, the word usually refers to Cream of Wheat made from soft wheat. Wheat farina is a carbohydrate-rich food, often cooked in boiling water and served warm...

 , or other grains. Kasha is found throughout much of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, including Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

South Africa

Pap
Pap (food)
Pap , a traditional porridge made from mielie-meal , is a staple food of the Bantu inhabitants of South Africa...

 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
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

).

United States

Oatmeal is popular in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and cream of wheat is widely available if less popular. Grits
Grits
Grits are a food of American Indian origin common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. They consist of coarsely ground corn, or sometimes alkali-treated corn . They are also sometimes called sofkee or sofkey from the Muskogee language word...

 is a porridge of native American origin made from corn (maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

) which is popular in the South
The South
-Geography:* Southern United States* South of England* South of France* South Italy* South Korea* Republic of Ireland* South Province * Global South, the developing nations of the world-Other uses:* The South , by Victor Erice...

.

See also

  • Cereal box prize
    Cereal box prize
    A cereal box prize is a promotional toy or small item that is offered as an incentive to buy a particular breakfast cereal. Prizes are found inside or sometimes on the cereal box...

  • Cerealicious
    Cerealicious
    Cerealicious is a fast-food restaurant chain based in the Philippines. There are currently 12 branches: 10 are located in Manila, 1 in Cebu, and 1 in Davao. Cerealicious offers Post, Nestle, and Kellogg's cereals with milk and a wide range of additional toppings...

  • Farina
    Farina (food)
    Farina is a cereal food, frequently described as mild-tasting, usually served warm, made from cereal grains. In contemporary American English use, the word usually refers to Cream of Wheat made from soft wheat. Wheat farina is a carbohydrate-rich food, often cooked in boiling water and served warm...

  • Flakes
    Flakes (film)
    Flakes is a 2007 American comedy film, directed by Michael Lehmann and starring Aaron Stanford and Zooey Deschanel. This film was written by Chris Poche & Karey Kirkpatrick-Plot:...

     (film)
  • Grits
    Grits
    Grits are a food of American Indian origin common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. They consist of coarsely ground corn, or sometimes alkali-treated corn . They are also sometimes called sofkee or sofkey from the Muskogee language word...

  • List of breakfast cereals
  • List of breakfast cereal advertising characters

External links

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