Kellogg’s: a Wholesome History

Written by Phineas Upham

The Kellogg’s company began life in 1906 as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. It was started by two brothers, Will Keith and John Harvey Kellogg, who were both working at the local sanitarium. The brothers held firm to the principles of Seventh-Day Adventists, marketing and producing Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes until the company was renamed to “The Kellogg Company” in 1922.

Kellogg’s company shifted some of its workforce during the 1930s to accommodate an additional shift of workers. It cut the work hours of its regular workers from 40, which was the standard, to 30. Then the company hired an additional crew that it held onto until after World War II. Some of Kellogg’s factories even kept the 30 hour work week until the 1980s.

During the 70s, Kellogg’s made some important acquisitions. It bought Eggo, which makes a popular frozen waffle, but it was criticized for not going far enough. It passed up opportunities to buy General Mills and Quaker Oats.

This would come back to haunt the company throughout the 80s, when its market share dropped to roughly 36.7% of the market. That prompted a shift in the Kellogg’s strategy, which had been focused on marketing to children. They began targeting the growing demographic of baby boomers, marketing a cereal that was nutritious and good tasting. The move has continually paid off. The Kellogg’s company still makes sweet cereals, but new brands like Crispix and Raisin Bran have bolstered strong sales and made them the second largest snack-food group in North America.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

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