Ask a roomful of people to name one cereal, and we bet that the majority of them will say “Cheerios.” The one and only Cheerios, those tiny little rings of oats and corn, are world-famous, and you’d be hard-pressed to meet someone who hasn’t eaten a bowl of them at one point or another. But even though we’ve all heard of Cheerios, we bet that there are some things about this humble cereal that you didn’t know.
They Were Originally Called CheeriOats
When Cheerios were first introduced in 1941, the name was CheeriOats. It was changed to Cheerios in 1945.
The First Spinoff Wasn’t Honey Nut
The first Cheerios spinoff introduced by General Mills wasn’t, in fact, Honey Nut, as is commonly believed. It was actually Cinnamon Nut, which was rolled out in 1976. Honey Nut didn’t hit the shelves until 1979.
The FDA Once Considered Them an ‘Unapproved New Drug’
In response to the brand’s assertions that it could lower cholesterol four percent in six weeks, in 2009 the Food and Drug Administration contacted General Mills and demanded that the company either cease making this claim or apply for federal approval to be sold as a drug. General Mills replied by saying that their claims about the health benefits of soluble fiber has been approved by the FDA, and when the FDA followed up three years later they declared their earlier demands “moot.”
There are Discontinued Products
Cheerios no longer produces Cinnamon Nut Cheerios (today Apple Cinnamon is as close as it gets), and they’ve also discontinued Cheerios and X’s (which was available in 1993), Team Cheerios (introduced in 1996), Millenios (which was produced in 1999 and 2000 and paired the Os with 2-shaped pieces), and several varieties of Berry Burst Cheerios, including strawberry, strawberry banana, cherry vanilla, and triple berry.
There’s a “Cheerios Effect”
Caused by fluid tension, the Cheerios effect is what it’s called in fluid mechanics when floating objects attract one another, just like Cheerios in a bowl of milk.
This article was originally published March 17, 2015.