Breakfast cereal was invented in the late 19th century as a response to various social and dietary factors of the time. Here’s a brief overview of breakfast cereal invention:


In 1863, a strict vegetarian named James Caleb Jackson created a breakfast cereal from graham flour dough that was dried and broken into shapes. They were so hard they needed to be soaked in milk overnight. He called the concoction granula.

Health Concerns

During the 19th century, there was growing concern about the impact of heavy, meat-based breakfasts on people’s health. Many believed that such breakfasts contributed to various health issues, including digestive problems.

Religious Beliefs

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Christian denomination, played a significant role in the development of breakfast cereal. Adventists, including Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg, believed in a vegetarian diet as a way to promote health and well-being. They saw breakfast as a crucial meal and advocated for healthier options.

The Invention of Cornflakes

In 1894, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a physician, and his brother Will Keith Kellogg, a businessman, were working at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, a Seventh-day Adventist health resort. They were searching for a wholesome, easily digestible food for the sanitarium’s patients. One day, they accidentally left some boiled wheat sitting out, and it became stale. They decided to roll it out and cook it, resulting in the creation of the first cornflake.


The Kellogg brothers began experimenting with different grains and refining their process to create a more palatable cereal. They initially called their creation “Granose” but later renamed it “Corn Flakes.” In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg founded the Kellogg Company to market and sell cornflakes.

Rival Brands

The success of cornflakes led to the emergence of other breakfast cereal companies, such as Post Cereals, which was founded by C.W. Post. The competition between these companies led to innovations in packaging and marketing, including the use of mascots and colorful boxes.

Mass Production

With advancements in manufacturing technology, breakfast cereals could be produced on a large scale, making them more widely available and affordable.

Cultural Shift

Breakfast cereals became popular as a convenient and nutritious breakfast option. They appealed to busy urban populations who needed quick and easy breakfast solutions.

Over time, breakfast cereal became a staple in many households, and a wide variety of cereal brands and flavors were developed. The invention of breakfast cereal not only addressed health concerns but also played a significant role in shaping the modern breakfast food industry and American dietary habits.