Besides Kellogg’s & Post, Michigan Had a Third Cereal Company
You know all about those Michigan cereals from Battle Creek, right? All those titles from Kellogg's....many more from Post.....but what about a third Battle Creek cereal company? Yup, there was one.
The Mr. Breakfast website says it was simply called the Battle Creek Food Company that began after the Kellogg brothers got into a fight.
They originally founded the Sanitas Food Company, in an attempt to make cereal a health food. In 1906 the brothers John and Will had a falling out and went their separate ways. Will created the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company (which was later re-named Kellogg's) and John did his own cereal thing with the Battle Creek Food Company. It was John's company that produced a short line of cereals under the “Battle Creek Food Company” banner. These cereals were to highlight the benefits of soy but the cereals were mostly bran products.
"Ready to serve breakfast food that is rich in vitamins. It makes children grow - eat crispy ZO." Woo-hoo! ZO cereal was introduced sometime around 1925-1928 with the ingredients whole wheat, barley, and yeast extract. What were the other benefits of ZO? It “corrects the deficiencies of modern diet.....(with) food lime, iron and Vitamin B”. Their reason for the name? They said it was because “ZO” is the Greek term for “life”. At 15 cents a box, how could it miss?
BRAN AND FIG CEREAL
Okay kids...here's a cereal that's good for your colon. Described as "an effective laxative cereal with a rich fig flavor. Good to eat. Good for you!" Yummy. What? No Tony the Tiger on the box? No, Tony probably wanted to keep his colon history private. What else do they say about Bran & Fig? It “supplies bulk to the bowels". That's BOWELS, not BOWLS. I wonder how many people misread that line?
FIG AND BRAN CEREAL
I know... it seems like a redundant cereal compared to the previous one. It was described as a vitamized (shouldn't that be 'vitaminized'?) “delicious and highly efficient food laxative" made with figs, yeast, and sterilized wheat bran. Not only that, but “children love it!” As an extra bonus, there was a little private message at the bottom of the box that was aimed at those cereal lovers troubled with constipation: FIG & BRAN in liberal amounts will rarely fail to secure normal bowel movements. If further help is needed send for free booklet, "How to Fight Constipation." Maybe if they had a better marketing strategy to make this more appealing, it might have lasted. It's possible that the above two cereals are the same, just an awkward name change. But we don't know that for sure.
SANITARIUM FIG AND BRAN FLAKES
“Luscious figs combined with choice bran and rolled into large, thin flakes" and "a dainty cereal of bran and luscious figs". Well, at least the ads didn't mention anything about laxatives, colons, or poop. This concoction was introduced in the late 1920s.
After WW2, the company was sold to Eugene McKay (who used to work for Kellogg's) and his brother George. The last cereal under this company name was “Surprize”, the first cereal flakes made from brown rice. Touting a “surprise in every box” (thus the name), the box also claimed to be the "newest cereal of the world's oldest producer of fine cereal and special purpose foods". The ingredients? Brown rice, salt and sugar. Not long after the cereal came out in 1957, Eugene died, followed by the cereal itself. Surprise!
Take a look at the gallery below, featuring pictures of all the above-mentioned former cereals!
Vintage Cereals of The Battle Creek Food Company
MORE MICHIGAN STUFF:
LOOK: 40 Discontinued & Special Edition Kellogg's Cereals
Gallery Credit: John Robinson