A breakfast cereal (often simply called cereal) is a packaged food product made from cereal intended to be consumed as part of a breakfast. It is usually eaten cold as a ready-to-eat meal and mixed with a liquid, such as milk or water, though occasionally yoghurt and fruit are also added. The exception to the rule are cereals such as oatmeal and porridge, which are eaten hot.
Breakfast cereals are marketed to all ages. For adults, companies such as Kellogg's, Quaker Oats, Post, Nestlé, and General Mills promote their products for the health benefits gained from eating oat-based and high-fiber cereals. Manufacturers often fortify breakfast cereals with various vitamins. Cereals with relatively high sugar content are also produced.
The breakfast cereal industry is highly profitable, with gross profit margins around 40-45%, 90% penetration in some markets, and steady and continued growth throughout its history.
Breakfast cereals have their beginnings in the vegetarian movement in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which influenced members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States. The main Western breakfast at that time was a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, and beef. The first breakfast cereal, Granula (named after granule) was invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitorium in Dansville, New York and a staunch vegetarian. The cereal never became popular; it was far too inconvenient, as the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.
The next generation of breakfast cereals was considerably more convenient, and, combined with clever marketing, they finally managed to catch on. In 1877, John Harvey Kellogg, operator of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, invented a biscuit made of ground-up wheat, oat, and cornmeal for his patients suffering from bowel problems. The product was initially also named "Granula", but changed to "Granola" after a lawsuit. His most famous contribution, however, was an accident. After leaving a batch of boiled wheat soaking overnight and rolling it out, Kellogg had created wheat flakes. His brother Will Keith Kellogg later invented corn flakes from a similar method, bought out his brother's share in their business, and went on to found the Kellogg Company in 1906. With his shrewd marketing and advertising, Kellogg's sold their one millionth case after three years.
Because of Kellogg, the city of Battle Creek, Michigan is nicknamed the "cereal city".
Porridge brands unique to South Africa include Jungle Oats and Bokomo Maltabella (made from malted sorghum).
Research and Markets Offers Report: Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing Industry in the United States - Industry Size & Growth, Trends and Competitive Analysis
Nov 09, 2013; Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing Industry in the United States - Industry...