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The History of Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks cereal was invented in 1965 by a Kellogg’s intern, William Thilly. After an experiment gone wrong covered a lab in liquid cheese, Thilly worked after hours to clean off the research equipment. Kellogg’s rewarded his hard work and commitment by doubling his pay and giving him free rein to create something of his own. Thilly, who was raised on a farm, focused on apples immediately. When a coworker showed him some O-shaped cereal from a discontinued Kellogg’s brand, he got the idea for Apple Jacks. The team tried using dried applesauce at first, but eventually landed on a combination of the O-shaped cereal, a dried apple product that was sold in California at the time, and cinnamon. They were initially called Apple O’s, but Kellogg’s changed the name to Apple Jacks in 1971. At first, they were all orange, but in 1998, Kellogg’s introduced green O-shaped pieces. For limited periods of time, the company has been known to roll out special versions of the cereal that have unique colors and shapes. For instance, the green O’s were briefly replaced with blue carrots in 2003 and figure-eights in 2005. Kellogg’s has also released several special edition flavors over the years, including Apple Jacks with Marshmallows, which came out around Halloween and featured white marshmallow pieces that could be built into a skeleton. Despite concerns about the amount of sugar and some other ingredients they contain, Apple Jacks remain a popular choice and can still be found on grocery store shelves today, where they are easily recognizable by their iconic green box.

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