Thursday, May 17, 2012
The sales of breakfast cereal is one of growth. The UK scoffs its way through 6.7kg per person, topped by Ireland at 8.4kg. That's more than any other country. That's over a box you need to buy every month just for yourself. What started as a vegetarian health product far away and long ago in 19th Century Michigan thanks to the Kellogg brothers became big business replacing the cooked breakfast. But in doing so they added sugar, fortified the product with synthesised vitamins to maintain the health claims and gave it kids' appeal with garish packing showing cartoon characters. But then there is the old favourite, corn as in maize, not as in the anti-corn laws when corn meant wheat.
I grew up within smelling distance of the Kellogg's factory in Trafford Park. What a gorgeous smell it was on toasting day with the wind in the right direction. There was a plaque on the gates, and it might still be there, stating it was opened by the wife of a coal miner in 1938. She won that day out in Stretford as a prize in a competition. Though I didn't know this at the time the huge silos in the factory were designed by John Metcalf. If you are impressed by the architectural merits of silos, and who wouldn't be, then he is the man, I want to know more. His revolutionary designs dating back to the 1900's still survive in Canada and the USA. I do remember the big "K" on the front of the factory. It made the Guinness Book of Records for being the biggest letter ever in the world. It has gone and I never got that photo. The stylised cockerel logo has replaced it. Quite ironic. Nobody in an urban environment ever associates early morning starts with noisy cockerels. Alarm clock radios more like. Then the cereal can be eaten at anytime as recent advertising stressed. Not just at cockerel hour.
However I don't think the Co-op own brand ones have been made there? They taste different. But how many corn flake factories are there in Britain? You could probably count them on the fingers of one hand.
Notice in the 2012 photo there are now 8 added vitamins, and back in 1982 we managed with just six. Inspired by: The Vegetarian : Quarterly Magazine of the Vegetarian Society, Summer 2012 and a great cereal story. Fortified with other research. This isn't Wikipedia. Photo credits : Cooperativestores (1982 picture); Lorenzo23 (2012 top picture)