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The History of Grape-Nuts

Grape-Nuts got their start as a medicine food in 1897. The cereal was invented by CW Post in a small factory in Battle Creek, Michigan. Post got the idea after staying at a popular health spa called Battle Creek Sanitarium. The institution was run by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, who served cereal to patients there. Post wanted to sell the cereal he was served to people in the outside world. He first created a cereal-based drink called Postum (as an alternative to coffee); Grape-Nuts cereal was his second product. Originally made of wheat and barley, the ingredients were mixed, poured onto a sheet, and baked until hard. The hardened mixture was broken into chunks and then “nut-sized nuggets” using a coffee grinder. There are two origin stories for the name: either Post thought the nuggets looked like grape seeds, or he included the word grape in the name as a reference to “grape sugar,” Post’s word for glucose (he believed his mixture produced glucose when baked). Post got the “nuts” part of his cereal’s name from the product’s somewhat nutty flavor. In the early years, Post marketed his cereal using health claims; however, when Collier's Weekly published a concerned editorial, it sparked a legal battle between the two that ended with Post paying $50,000 to Collier's Weekly after it became known that he solicited false testimonials from consumers. However, Post continued to market his cereal successfully. He packaged it in boxes (which was not the standard at the time) and in 1909, he became the first to introduce grocery coupons. Today, Grape-Nuts continues to be a popular cereal and the plant where it was first manufactured (which has expanded greatly over the years) is still in operation. There was a production shortage during the pandemic, but Grape-Nuts are fully stocked on store shelves once again.

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