When Kellogg's "invented" adding sugar to cereal


39 Responses to “When Kellogg's "invented" adding sugar to cereal”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I know you are tempted because you saw the picture but do not listen to the Siren Call of sugar


  2. Brainspore says:

    Many people don’t realize what a huge rift this miracle invention caused within the Kellogg family. John Harvey Kellogg was a medical doctor/holistic health nut/fanatical anti-masturbation evangelist who co-created corn flakes with his business-savvy brother, W.K. Kellogg.

    Needless to say, the good doctor was not very keen on the idea of taking a product he conceived as a health food and coating it with sugar. By the end of their lives the two men were barely on speaking terms.

    • dhuff says:

      Heh, heh…not surprised to hear that about the Kellogg brothers. A lot of the extreme health-foodie types I know have the same personality flaws as religious fanatics – a complete slah, burn, and salt the earth response to anyone who doesn’t buy in to their “faith.”

  3. John Mark Ockerbloom says:

    Anybody can add sugar to cereal. When I was growing up, we all sprinkled some sugar on our corn flakes in the morning. As I recall, it cost quite a bit less to do it that way than to buy the pre-sweetened stuff, and it seemed to be a common practice at the time.

    I presume the sugar cost the cereal company no more than it cost us. If a cereal company could convince its customers that “toasting” it in (which you couldn’t do at home) tasted better, they could enjoy larger profit margins on the higher-priced pre-sweetened stuff.

    I think they still sell unsweetened Kool-Aid as well, though I don’t know offhand if the margins are much different between that kind and the more common pre-sweetened kind.

  4. DonBoy says:

    Hey, I remember as a kid in the 1960s how the Kool-Aid commercials were so proud that their product was “pre-sweetened” — so you didn’t have to mix up some colored drink AND THEN put sugar in it.

  5. AllisonWunderland says:

    The new McDonald’s “smoothie” is a pant-load of sugar. It’s aimed at women who “want to eat healthier” . . . .

    McDonald’s Smoothies: More Calories Than A Cheeseburger?


  6. markfergbk says:


    The old Tony the Tiger was so much cooler looking than the new.

  7. mercator says:

    They’re grrrrreat!

  8. emilydickinsonridesabmx says:

    I really love the illustration on that old-school cereal box. It’s one of the items that is in ‘Krazy Kids Food’, which is an entire book full of package design for heavily sugared eats for children.


    Now I want a sparkly breakfast in a crystal bowl.

    • amg says:

      If this is the 50s, then that would be a lead crystal bowl…just make sure you let the milk sit so you get all the poisoned lead goodness!

  10. jamiethehutt says:

    You know this add would also work if you removed the sparkling bowl of sugar frosted cereal and replaced it with a sparkling bowl of THC frosted buds.

    “Simple discovery leads to great new taste sensation in cereal”…

  11. freshacconci says:

    Boingboing, I hope you’re getting paid to shill for Kelloggs coz I’m going out this morning to buy a box of the damn stuff. I’m going to sign up for Standard Life full-coverage as well. Thanks a lot.

  12. Mister Eppy says:

    the brothers were (loosely) the subject of a wonderful little alan parker film “Road to Wellville”


    Best quote: “My own stools, Sir, are immaculate and have no more odor than a hot biscuit. “

  13. Jackasimov says:


  14. djn says:

    @John Mark Ockerbloom, 33

    That was still typical when I grew up, and I was born in ’83. Might be that the cereal selection in Norway was skewed towards having fewer of the pre-sweetened variants (there is a tax on sugar here, but I don’t know if it only applies to candy).

    I don’t eat overly much cereal at the moment, so I haven’t paid attention to what, if anything, has happened since.

  15. benher says:

    Wait… Tony walking on all fours?
    In under half a century he has evolved into a bipedal upright walking talking mammal. Didn’t it take Homo erectus something like 6 million years to do that?

    Either the tiger’s evolutionary strides are something to fear or someone at Kellog’s is incredibly intelligent about design!

  16. John Markos O'Neill says:

    They didn’t just add the sugar to the cereal, they *toasted* it in, making Frosted Flakes the perfect breakfast cereal to eat with Lucky Strikes.

    What is it about the 50s and toast? Does “toasted” have some meaning modern folk don’t understand?

    • amg says:

      In the 1970s “toasted” took on a new meaning again…

    • arikol says:

      good question.
      Maybe the toasting of the sugar into the cereal would mean that the sugar (at least partly) caramelizes?

      • RangerGordon says:

        That was my first thought, too — anybody who has baked cookies knows that caramelization is the miracle that transubstantiates plain old sugar into pure, toasty deliciousness!

  17. Major Variola (ret) says:

    Cory, If Obama can win the Nobel Peace prize, Kelloggs surely earned the Nobel for this too.

  18. xochilatl says:

    That sugar was toasted into the flakes through a special atomic process. That sparkle is not just sugar it’s radiation. That’s what makes ‘um taste so good.

  19. agitprop says:

    Needs more sparkles.

  20. MrJM says:

    Alternate Headline: Why I Was A Fat-Kid.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I think it turned out that the Russians has already beaten them to sparkling go-ahead energy

  22. Anonymous says:

    Did they milk or kill a unicorn to get those sparkles?

  23. Sekino says:

    Calvin: “Look, it says right here, Part of a wholesome, nutritious, balanced breakfast.”

    Hobbes: “And they show a guy eating five grapefruits, a dozen bran muffins…”

    Gotta say, Retro Tony the Tiger’s design beats the modern ‘cheap Saturday morning cartoon’ version.

  24. Anonymous says:

    At an offhand guess: the difference in price and availability of hot v. cold food was probably considerably greater in the Depression years and during WW2. Possibly “toasted” implies “warmed up” implies comfort/safety/lagniappe?

  25. awfl says:

    Born and raised in Battle Creek; got ready and walked to school to the smell of the corn-y, sugary goodness of Kellogg, Post, Ralston factories (hundred+ in the late 19th century) – the very smell of literally tons of toasted corn wafting through my bedroom window at night, reportedly sugar-coating cars in Postumville. After walking past Tony at the fountain, headed to their famous factory tour (reportedly closed because of Int. Property worries), the visuals and smells and everything Kellogg-y was a tour-de-force of kids breakfast cereal and 1950s factory automation – Feeding you ice cream topped with Rice Krispies or IIRC Froot Loops, giving you a hat and little boxes of cereals (their variety pack), they sent you on your way home to work off the rush. You’d never forget it; I haven’t.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Yes, but aren’t those golden crispy frosted flakes just as — or perhaps even more — sparkly than a Nobel Prize?

  27. JuanTwoThree says:

    It’s sparkly unicorn food!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’m amazed that we’re up to comment 16 already, and word search doesn’t find ‘diabetes’ anywhere on this page.

  29. Antinous / Moderator says:


  30. Soon Lee says:

    “Hard to believe they didn’t win a Nobel prize for this. “

    Ig Noble, surely?

  31. nigex says:

    A few years ago, Kelloggs rad a TV ad here where Tony tempted us by saying the Frosties were “carbo-loaded” and therefore good and wholesome.

    “Carbo-loaded” translates from ad-speke to “there’s *absolutely nothing* in this breakfast substance apart from carbohydrates.” Very nutritious when sprinkled on food, as Not The Nine o’ Clock News had it.

  32. markarayner says:

    Yes, MrJM & nigex — could this be the ground zero of the obesity epidemic?

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