The Kellogg Family “Business,” Part III

By the late 1890s, brothers John Harvey (1852-1943) and Will Keith (1860-1951) Kellogg found one more way to get involved in the food and health world: breakfast cereal. While at work on a granola product, they stumbled instead upon a flaked cereal instead. Their first food company, the Sanitas Food Company, began around 1897/1898. The story goes that Will, concerned with the original nature of their new flaked cereal, wanted to keep it a secret and that John, wanting to share this new food, allowed visitors to see the process. One of the visitors to Battle Creek was C. W. Post, whose Post Foods began to manufacture Post Toasties not long after. Will parted business ways with his brother over this and in 1906, founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company (sometimes called the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company). Today’s post features three different pamphlets from the Kellogg Company (the name of the company after 1922). All three are from a folder in the Culinary Pamphlet Collection.

Not surprisingly, most of the recipes rely on Kellogg Company cereals, some more creatively than others. The recipe card set has almost a dozen recipes, sweet and savory, featuring All-Bran. Twenty-five Favorite Kellogg Recipes is a little more on the sweet side, containing a bunch of cookies and cakes. The Summer Camp Manual is a call-back to the books of the last two weeks, where there’s a a focus on nutrition and healthy meal planning for, well, summer camps.

One thing worth noting here is that the company, while still promoting healthy eating and food, has traveled a bit from the roots of its founder. There’s less (or, in some cases, no) focus on vegetarianism (like his brother, Will Kellogg was also a Seventh Day Adventist and a vegetarian). On the other hand, there was suddenly a much broader audience to cater and appeal to, so this shouldn’t really surprise us. And, as the company grew, they developed a far wider range of products.

We’ve just scratched the surface today, when it comes to corn flakes, the Kellogg family, and the company’s history. There are two more detailed histories of the Kellogg Company online, one in text form and one in interactive timeline form, if you’re interested.

This week we’re finishing up with the Kelloggs (at least for now). Feel free to kick back with a bowl of cereal or two, if we’ve inspired you. And we’ll be back next week with something new on the plate.

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