First Sanitas corn flakes package (1906), later to become the Kellogg Food Company in 1908
Brothers Dr. John Harvey and Will Keith Kellogg founded a health food company, the Battle Creek Sanitarium Health Food Company in 1898. This company produced foodstuffs for current and former patients at Dr. J. H. Kellogg's Battle Creek Sanitarium. The company later became known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium Food Company in 1901. During this time, the company produced and marketed health foods such as corn flakes, Granola and Caramel Cereal Coffee.
The company merged with the Sanitas Nut Food Company (founded in 1899 by Dr. J. H. Kellogg) to become the Kellogg Food Company in July 1908, and sold nut butters and meat substitutes, and it was then that the company's products all began to be sold under the trade name, "Kellogg's". At this time, Dr. J. H. Kellogg owned all but 2 of its 15,000 shares of stock. In 1921, it changed its name back to Battle Creek Food Company.
However, Dr. John Harvey forbade his brother Will from distributing cereal beyond his patients. As a result, the brothers fell out, and W. K. launched the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company on February 19, 1906. Convincing his brother to relinquish Sanitas's rights to the product, Will's company produced and marketed the hugely successful Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes and was renamed the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1909, taking on the current name of the Kellogg Company in 1922.
In 1930, the Kellogg Company announced that most of its factories would shift towards 30-hour work weeks, from the usual 40. W.K. Kellogg stated that he did this so that an additional shift of workers would be employed in an effort to support people through the depression era. This practice remained until World War II, and continued briefly after the war, although some departments and factories remained locked into 30-hour work weeks until 1980.
From 1969 to 1977, Kellogg's acquired various small businesses including Salada Foods, Fearn International, Mrs. Smith's Pies, Eggo, and Pure Packed Foods; however, it was later criticized for not diversifying further like General Mills and Quaker Oats were. After underspending its competition in marketing and product development, Kellogg's U.S. market share hit a low 36.7% in 1983. A prominent Wall Street analyst called it "a fine company that's past its prime" and the cereal market was being regarded as "mature". Such comments stimulated Kellogg chairman William E. LaMothe to improve, which primarily involved approaching the demographic of 80 million baby boomers rather than marketing children-oriented cereals. In emphasizing cereal's convenience and nutritional value, Kellogg's helped persuade U.S. consumers age 25 to 49 to eat 26% more cereal than people of that age ate five years prior. The U.S. ready-to-eat cereal market, worth $3.7 billion at retail in 1983, totaled $5.4 billion by 1988 and had expanded three times as fast as the average grocery category. Kellogg's also introduced new products including Crispix, Raisin Squares, and Nutri-Grain Biscuits and reached out internationally with Just Right aimed at Australians and Genmai Flakes for Japan. During this time, the company maintained success over its top competitors: General Mills, which largely marketed children's cereals, and Post, which had difficulty in the adult cereal market.
In 2017, Kellogg's acquired Chicago-based food company Rxbar for $600 million. Earlier that year, Kellogg's also opened new corporate office space in Chicago's Merchandise Mart for its global growth and IT departments. In the UK, Kellogg's also released the W. K. Kellogg brand of organic, vegan and plant-based cereals (such as granolas, organic wholegrain wheat, and "super grains") with no added sugars.
In 2018, Kellogg decided to cease their operations in Venezuela due to the economic crisis the country is facing.
Frosted Mini-Wheats (known in the UK as Toppas until the early 1990s, when the name was changed to Frosted Wheats. The name Toppas is still applied to this product in other parts of Europe, as in Germany and Austria)
Fruit Harvest: Fruit Harvest Apple Cinnamon, Fruit Harvest Peach Strawberry, Fruit Harvest Strawberry Blueberry
Just Right: Just Right Original, Just Right Fruit & Nut, Just Right Just Grains, Just Right Tropical, Just Right Berry & Apple, Just Right Crunchy Blends - Cranberry, Almond & Sultana (Australia/NZ), Just Right Crunchy Blends - Apple, Date & Sultana (Australia/NZ)
Krave (Discontinued in the UK, US, Italy. Was returned to the European market in 2011, and to the US market in 2012)
Low-Fat Granola: Low-Fat Granola, Low-Fat Granola with Raisins
Special K: Special K, Special K low carb lifestyle, Special K Red Berries, Special K Vanilla Almond, Special K Honey & Almond (Australia), Special K Forest Berries (Australia), Special K Purple Berries (UK), Special K Light Muesli Mixed Berries & Apple (Australia/NZ), Special K Light Muesli Peach & Mango flavour (Australia/NZ), Special K Dark Chocolate (Belgium), Special K Milk Chocolate (Belgium), Special K Sustain (UK)
C-3PO's cereal: Introduced in 1984 and inspired by the multi-lingual droid from Star Wars, the cereal called itself "a New (crunchy) Force at Breakfast" and was composed of "twin rings phased together for two crunches in every double-O". In other words, they were shaped like the digit 8. After severing the cereal's ties to Star Wars, the company renamed it Pro-Grain and promoted it with sports-oriented commercials.
Cocoa Hoots: Manufactured briefly in the early 1970s, this cereal resembled Cheerios but was chocolate-flavored. The mascot was a cartoon character named Newton the Owl, and one of its commercials featured a young Jodie Foster.
Krumbles cereal: Manufactured approximately from the 1920s to the mid 1960s; based on shreds of wheat but different from shredded wheat in texture. Unlike the latter, it tended to remain crisp in milk. In the Chicago area, Krumbles was available into the late 1960s. It was also high in fiber, although that attribute was not in vogue at the time.
Marshmallow Krispies (later revised to Fruity Marshmallow Krispies)
OJ's ("All the Vitamin C of a 4-oz. Glass of Orange Juice")
OKs cereal (early 1960s): Oat-based cereal physically resembling the competing brand Cheerios, with half the OKs shaped like letter O's and the other half shaped like K's, but did not taste like Cheerios. OKs originally featured Big Otis, a giant, burly Scotsman, on the box; this was replaced by the more familiar Yogi Bear.
Pokémon Cereal: A limited edition cereal that contained marshmallow shapes in the forms of Gen I Pokémon Pikachu, Oddish, Poliwhirl and Ditto. They later returned with marshmallows formed like Cleffa, Wobbuffet and Pichu for a short time.
Various methods have been used in the company's history to promote the company and its brands. Foremost among these is the design of the Kellogg's logo by Ferris Crane under the art direction of famed type guru Y. Ames. Another was the well-remembered jingle "K E double-L, O double-good, Kellogg's best to you!"
With the rising popularity of patent medicine in early 20th century advertising, The Kellogg Company of Canada published a book named A New Way of Living that showed readers "how to achieve a new way of living; how to preserve vitality; how to maintain enthusiasm and energy; how to get the most out of life because of a physical ability to enjoy it." It touted the All-Bran cereal as the secret to leading "normal" lives free of constipation.
Kellogg's was a major sponsor throughout the run of the hit CBS panel show What's My Line? It and its associated products Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies were also major sponsors for the PBS Kids children's animated series Dragon Tales.
Kellogg's is a sponsor of USA Gymnastics and produces the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics, a 36-city tour held after the Olympic games and featuring performances by recent medal-winning gymnasts from the United States.
Premiums and prizes
W.K. Kellogg was the first to introduce prizes in boxes of cereal. The marketing strategy that he established has produced thousands of different cereal box prizes that have been distributed by the tens of billions.
Kellogg's Corn Flakes had the first cereal premium with The Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Book. The book was originally available as a prize that was given to the customer in the store with the purchase of two packages of the cereal. But in 1909, Kellogg's changed the book giveaway to a premium mail-in offer for the cost of a dime. Over 2.5 million copies of the book were distributed in different editions over a period of 23 years.
Cereal box prizes
In 1945, Kellogg's inserted a prize in the form of pin-back buttons into each box of Pep cereal. Pep pins have included U.S. Army squadrons as well as characters from newspaper comics and were available through 1947. There were five series of comic characters and 18 different buttons in each set, with a total of 90 in the collection. Other manufacturers of major brands of cereal, including General Mills, Malt-O-Meal, Nestlé, Post Foods, and Quaker Oats, followed suit and inserted prizes into boxes of cereal to promote sales and brand loyalty.
Licensed brands have been omitted since the corresponding mascots would be obvious (e.g. Spider-Man is the mascot for Spider-Man Spidey-Berry).
Cocoa Hoots cereal: Newton the Owl
Cocoa Krispies cereal (Known as Choco Krispis in Latin America, Choco Krispies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Chocos in India, and Coco Pops in Australia, the UK, and Europe): Jose (monkey), Coco (monkey), Melvin (elephant), Snagglepuss (Hanna-Barbera character), Ogg (caveman), Tusk (elephant), and Snap, Crackle and Pop (who were also, and remain as of February 2014, the Rice Krispies mascots; see below)
Kellogg's placed Dale Earnhardt on Kellogg's Corn Flakes boxes for 1993 six-time Winston Cup champ and 1994 seven-time Winston Cup champ, as well as Jeff Gordon on the Mini Wheats box for the 1993 rookie of the year, 1995 Brickyard 400 inaugural race, 1997 Champion, and 1998 three-time champ, and a special three-pack racing box set with Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, and Dale Jarrett in 1996.
Kellogg's has used some merchandising for their products. Kellogg's once released Mission Nutrition, a PC game that came free with special packs of cereal. It played in a similar fashion as Donkey Kong Country; users could play as Tony the Tiger, Coco the Monkey, or Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Kellogg's has also released "Talking" games. The two current versions are Talking Tony and Talking Sam. In these games, a microphone is used to play games and create voice commands for their computers. In Talking Tony, Tony the Tiger, one of Kellogg's most famous mascots, would be the main and only character in the game. In Talking Sam, Toucan Sam, another famous mascot, would be in the game, instead. Some [toy cars] have the Kellogg's logo on them, and occasionally their mascots.
There was also a Talking Snap Crackle and Pop software.
Some of Kellogg's marketing has been questioned in the press, prompted by an increase in consumer awareness of the mismatch between the marketing messages and the products themselves.
Food bloggers are also questioning the marketing methods used by cereal manufacturing companies such as Kellogg's, due to their high sugar content and use of ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup.
2010 cereal recall
On June 25, the company voluntarily began to recall about 28 million boxes of Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks because of an unusual smell and flavor from the packages' liners that could make people ill. Kellogg's said about 20 people complained about the cereals, including five who reported nausea and vomiting. Consumers reported the cereal smelled or tasted waxy or like metal or soap. Company spokeswoman J. Adaire Putnam said some described it as tasting stale. However, no serious health problems had been reported.
The suspected chemical that caused the illnesses was 2-methylnaphthalene, used in the cereal packaging process. Little is known about 2-methylnaphthalene's impact on human health as the Food and Drug Administration has no scientific data on its impact on humans, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also does not have health and safety data. This is despite the EPA having sought information on it from the chemical industry for 16 years. 2-Methylnaphthalene is a component of crude oil and is "structurally related to naphthalene, an ingredient in mothballs and toilet-deodorant blocks" that the EPA considers a possible human carcinogen.
Kellogg's offered consumers refunds in the meantime. Only products with the letters "KN" following the use-by date were included in the recall. The products were distributed throughout the U.S. and began arriving in stores in late March 2010. Products in Canada were not affected.
2012 cereal recall
Kellogg's issued a voluntary recall of some of its "Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original" and "Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size" products due to the possibility of flexible metal mesh fragments in the food. The affected products varied in size from single-serving bowls to large 70-ounce cartons. Use-by dates printed on the recalled packages ranged from April 1, 2013, to September 21, 2013, and were accompanied by the letters KB, AP or FK.
We expect more from a great American company than making dubious claims--not once, but twice--that its cereals improve children's health...
Kellogg's responded by stating "We stand behind the validity of our product claims and research, so we agreed to an order that covers those claims. We believe that the revisions to the existing consent agreement satisfied any remaining concerns."
The FTC had previously found fault with Kellogg's claims that Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved kids' attentiveness by nearly 20%.
The Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has also suggested that the language on Kellogg Pop-Tarts packages saying the pastries are "Made with Real Fruit" should be taken off the products.
In July 2012, the UK banned a "Special K" advertisement due to its citing caloric values that did not take into account the caloric value of milk consumed with the cereal. In 2016 an ad telling UK consumers that Special K is "full of goodness" and "nutritious" was banned.
Human right violations of palm oil in 2016
According to Amnesty International in 2016, Kellogg's palm oil provider Wilmar International profited from 8 to 14-year-old child labor and forced labor. Some workers were extorted, threatened or not paid for work. Some workers suffered severe injuries from chemicals such as Paraquat. Kellogg's alleged not being aware of the child abuses due to traceability; Amnesty's human rights director replied that "Using mealy-mouthed excuses about 'traceability' is a total cop-out."
Led Digital Marketing Efforts of Top 500 e-Retailers.
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Taught Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies at the graduate level.
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