November 8, 2022
15 Fun Facts About Breakfast Cereals You’ve Probably Never Heard
When you sit down to a bowl of your favorite cereal, you probably don’t think about all the facts behind it. But as colorful as a box of Fruity PEBBLES™ cereal, so too are the facts and history behind breakfast cereal. We’re recapping some fun facts about cereal – from the history of the breakfast cereal industry, to how it’s consumed in the U.S. and Canada, to the cool things you probably didn’t know about Post® cereals. Enjoy!
Cereal Facts: History of the Cereal Industry
- The invention of cereal dates to the 1860s, when Americans primarily ate meat for breakfast instead of foods rich with grains and fiber. A push for healthier breakfast food options led to the introduction of cereal, which was first known as Granula, a word that comes from granulates (Source).
- The word “cereal” comes from the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture, Ceres (Source).
- Our own history begins in 1895, when C.W. Post makes his first batch of Postum, a cereal beverage in a barn in Battle Creek, Michigan, and starts Postum Cereal Company. In 1897, Grape-Nuts® cereal is introduced as one of the first ready-to-eat cereals, meaning you could eat it without cooking it. Learn more about Post’s impact on the history of cereal by viewing this timeline.
- Fast-forward through the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the Industrial Revolution and post-WWII, and you now have a country more connected than ever that is demanding a simpler breakfast, giving rise to cereal’s popularity (Source).
- In the mid-20th century, cereal becomes integrated with pop culture, with cereal boxes featuring everything from fun, animated mascots to Olympic athletes.
Cereal Facts: Eating Habits
- The U.S. likes its cereal. We rank #4 in world cereal consumption. Leading the top three are United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Post’s love for cereal also extends across North America, and sometimes beyond. We make the popular Shreddies® cereal, exclusive to Canada. We also license and produce Weetabix® cereal for the U.S., which is the most popular cereal in the United Kingdom.
- Approximately 50% of Americans begin their day with a bowl of cereal.
- It’s estimated that the average American eats approximately 160 bowls of cereal each year (Source).
- During the pandemic as more people stayed home and reduced on-the-go and fast-food breakfasts, cereal consumption grew significantly. Sales were up 12% from the year prior (Source). That’s A LOT of Golden Crisp® cereal!
- Honey Bunches of Oats® and Fruity PEBBLES™ are both Top 10 cereals based on pounds sold.
Cereal Facts: All about Post Cereals
- Battle Creek, Michigan, home to one of Post’s manufacturing plants, is labeled as the “Cereal Capital of the World.”
- Post produces enough cereal each year for more than 11 billion bowls.
- Despite its name, Grape-Nuts® cereal does not contain grapes or nuts. There are two possible origin stories: One says that Mr. Post believed glucose, which he called “grape sugar,” formed during the baking process. This, combined with the nutty flavor of the cereal, is said to have inspired the name. Another explanation claims that the cereal got its name from its resemblance to grape seeds, or grape “nuts.” Enjoy a bowl and see which version you think is more plausible!
- We’ve got to give a nod to 1998, when Malt-O-Meal introduced the resealable cereal bag. We’ve been enjoying the ultimate convenience and freshness ever since.
- Most Post cereals start with just five ingredients: wheat, corn, oats, sugar and rice – all grown in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more about how your cereal is made.
Have all these fun cereal facts made you hungry for a big bowl of cereal? We’re right there with you! Check out our variety of cereals by brand and dietary preferences and see where to buy them in stores near you using our cereal search tool.