Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are one of America’s most popular cereals. They’re essentially the perfect breakfast cereal: crispy, slightly sweet, healthy, and even when it starts to sog quality doesn’t decline. But did you know that this cereal has a lengthy and at times controversial history? Read on for five things you might not have known about this legendary cereal brand.
It was Created by Accident
There was a movement among Seventh-day Adventists in the late 1800s to stick to a diet of bland vegetarian foods (long story), and at Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium superintendent John Harvey Kellogg decided to develop some new bland foods for his guests. So he tasked his younger brother Will Keith Kellogg with coming up with some recipes. Will accidentally left a batch of cooked corn and wheat sitting out one day, and when he returned he discovered that it had gone stale. After some experimentation, Corn Flakes were born.
Adding Sugar Sparked a Lifelong Feud Between the Inventor and His Brother
John believed that foods that were too spicy or sweet would “increase passions,” but he also knew that if he wanted to market his new product to a mass audience he’d need to sweeten it up a little. Eleven years after its invention, in 1906, Will added sugar and brought corn flakes to the masses, infuriating John and leading to a lifelong rift.
It was the First Cereal to Contain a Prize
If you’ve ever bought a cereal box with a prize inside, you can thank Will Kellogg. Corn Flakes were the first cereal to contain a prize, called the Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Booklet. It was included in every box of Corn Flakes produced between 1909 and 1931.
They Were Followed Up by An Equally Legendary Cereal from Kellogg
For his sophomore effort, Kellogg introduced another cereal that would go on to become a legend – Rice Krispies – in 1928.
There’s a Big Reason Why its Mascot Is a Rooster, and it’s Not What You Think
Roosters crow in the morning, and you eat cereal in the morning, so that’s the reason why Corn Flakes’ mascot is a rooster, right? Not exactly. One of Kellogg’s friends, named Nansi Richards, was a legendary Welsh harpist, and she pointed out that the Welsh word for rooster is ceiliog, whose pronunciation sounds very similar to Kellogg.