(CNN)This morning, more than 350 million people devoured a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. All told, more than 128 billion bowls of Corn Flakes are consumed each year. While perusing the cereal box, peering over the bowl and gripping a spoonful of the stuff, few of these sleepy diners know that two men created those famously crispy, golden flakes of corn. John Harvey Kellogg, one of America’s most famous physicians, and Will Keith Kellogg, John’s longtime lackey and whipping boy, were brothers from the Michigan hamlet of Battle Creek. Together, they introduced and mass-marketed the concept of “wellness.”
And in so doing, they transfigured breakfast.
In early 1906, at the advanced age of 46, Will Keith Kellogg acrimoniously left his brother John’s employ at the famed Battle Creek Sanitarium, a medical center and grand hotel — a “university of health” that treated the wealthy ill and the worried well and promoted wellness or, as the doctor called it, “biologic living.”
Will marched across the street and founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, the original name of the Kellogg Company, which today enjoys more than $14 billion a year in net sales of breakfast cereals, snacks and other manufactured foods in 180 nations around the globe.
Flaked cereals were initially developed by the Kellogg brothers as a health food for “invalids with poor digestion.” Dr. Kellogg specialized in treating people with chronic flatulence, constipation, indigestion, all from consuming of the then-typical American diet of greasy fried foods, salted or cured meats, creamed vegetables, spicy pickles and condiments, and too much caffeine and alcohol. No wonder Walt Whitman once called stomachaches “the great American evil.”
Will’s genius was to recognize that there were far many more people looking for a nutritious and convenient breakfast, so he substituted tasty corn for the bland wheat originally used, added some salt and sugar against the doctor’s prescription, and came up with Corn Flakes.
The dawn of ‘processed food’
Will was a serious student of the “science” of business, whether he was publishing his brother’s books and magazines, selling the foods and health products John invented, running the Battle Creek Sanitarium or manufacturing cereal. He methodically analyzed, applied and adopted efficiency techniques and business systems espoused by the best commercial gurus of the day.
For nearly a quarter of a century, while John enacted one scene after another of fraternal dominance, the quiet, stolid Will was doing far more than merely taking orders. He was preparing to become a renowned captain of industry. Just as Henry Ford was figuring out the economies of scale to sell the millions of automobiles rolling off his vaunted assembly line, Will Kellogg revolutionized the administration of the modern medical center and, later, the mass production and marketing of “processed food.”
Will tirelessly persuaded American grocers to carry his products and consumers to relish his cereals. Heralding breakfast as “the most important meal of the day,” Will made the hectic mornings of beleaguered mothers and fathers so much easier by providing a quick, convenient, healthy, nutritious breakfast they could simply pour out of a box and into a bowl. He was an early adopter of the newly created field of mass advertising and invested millions of dollars in a neverending barrage of colorful and attractive ads, slogans and jingles, cartoon characters and, when radio and later television took the nation by storm, entertaining shows and commercials. He was quick to recognize and target youngsters as the demographic group most likely to hunger for his products, as they hunted for the prizes he cleverly placed in his cereal boxes.
Will Kellogg, of course, benefited by creating his business at the dawn of the 20th century, when huge corporations and nationally known brands began to dominate the American landscape. He became the “Corn Flake King” during the synchronous rise of urban populations, better living and nutritional conditions, and a national system of transportation, first by rail and later by highways, which allowed for the rapid delivery of raw grain into his factories and cases of cereal out of them. He capitalized on the widespread distribution of his food products, thanks to the development and rise of self-serve grocery stores, supermarkets and, perhaps most important, clean, safe, fresh pasteurized milk — the essential accoutrement of any bowl of cereal.
Yet there was far more to Will Kellogg’s genius than mere timing or the willingness to adopt new business methods. As he labored to process whole grains into ready-to-eat cereals, he refused to be satisfied with the status quo. The boss’ charge was to always improve on what the company produced. He developed ever-more-sophisticated means of packaging to keep his cereals fresh and toasty, whether on the grocery shelf or in the kitchen cabinet.
From the start of his manufacturing career, Will announced himself to the American public with a facsimile of his signature on every box of the “original” Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. It was initially devised as a means of thwarting the dozens of copycat companies stealing ideas and sales from his cereal business.
Above Will’s signature was the solemn promise that the box’s contents were tasty, crisp, nutritious and, most important, genuine. This pledge, backed by better and better means of quality control, was essential to building a longstanding, trustworthy and profitable relationship with the American public. Today, an artist’s rendition of Will’s signature — the familiar red script “Kellogg’s” — appears on virtually every product his company manufactures. It is a scribble almost as famous as another iconic American scrawl, “Walt Disney.”
The most-consumed breakfasts in history
In essence, Will Kellogg inaugurated an entirely new industry centered on the transformation of foods from their natural state into cooked, shaped, chemically manipulated, mass-manufactured products. During his lifetime, his name appeared on billions of boxes of Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, All-Bran, Bran Krumbles, Pep, Corn-Soya Shreds and similar products. After his death in 1951, his company pushed glucose-loaded concoctions such as Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies, Pop Tarts and a long list of other processed foods.
Many of these products are nutritious and convenient; others may have played a significant role in fueling the current obesity epidemic among children and adults. Regardless of the precise ingredients filling the Kellogg Company’s horn of plenty, Will’s crunchy concoctions make up the most-consumed breakfasts in the history of humankind.
John, the once-famous doctor, built his kingdom upon the foundation of his personality and theories on wellness and vitality. It was a realm he dreamed would last forever but one that effectively ended with his funeral. Will died a little more than eight years later, and despite their differences, he is buried only a few dozen feet away from his older brother in Battle Creek’s Oak Hill cemetery.
See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.
The company he founded remains a multinational behemoth of food production. The charitable foundation he endowed with the mountain of money he made on Corn Flakes is one of the largest in the world and continues to work for the welfare of children, families and communities. When uttering the name “Kellogg” today, it is, undoubtedly, Will’s industry we recall. As Bing Crosby crooned in the opening refrain of a song he recorded in 1968, “What’s more American than Corn Flakes?”
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 2. You can learn about :
The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE!
How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"!
The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command!
Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts!
And much more ...
Nr 3. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 4. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 5. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 6. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 7. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 8. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 9. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 10. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 11. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 12. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 13. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 14. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 15. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 16. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 17. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 18. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they
need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 19. If you've ever failed to create a WordPress site of your own or typically waste hours & even weeks trying to figure it all out on your own....
Nr 20. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 21. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!