We tend to not give too much thought to the stories behind the breakfast cereals on our supermarket shelves; in many ways they’re timeless, and it’s hard to think of a world before they existed. But just like every other consumer product, they were invented and marketed by teams of professionals, and we bet that there’s a lot you don’t know about the top-selling brands.
Just like every other aspect of American life, breakfast has been the subject of near-constant innovation, with new cereals coming onto the scene that have done everything from briefly capturing the zeitgeist to entering the cereal canon for decades to come. And because breakfast is so inextricably linked to our childhood, and so many breakfast products are marketed directly to children, the breakfasts we eat in our youth can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.
From early cereals like Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran to “golden age” innovations like Golden Grahams and Lucky Charms and 1980s rollouts like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, breakfast cereals play a massive role in the breakfast landscape, and have for generations. We’ve rounded up 16 of the top-selling breakfast cereals in America and tracked down the most intriguing facts about each of them.