Cheerios.. Just add Milk

    I recently had to see my doctor for a checkup. After the exam he told me that my cholesterol levels were a little high and that I need to get more oat products in my diet. My oatmeal and raisin cookies didn’t count.

    He suggested that I eat oatmeal for breakfast or an oat cereal. No that is not true he told me to eat Cheerios. The brand name was mentioned. I know he meant the type of cereal but it was funny that was what he said.

    How many products do we call the brand name when we are talking about a certain product?

    I know that here in the South we will say we are going to buy a “Coke” when we mean any soda. But there are not many products that you call by the brand name.

    That brand of cold cereal started out with a different name. It was first called “CheeriOats” by it’s prolific General Mills inventor Lester Borchardt in May of 1941.

    Lester Borchardt took his Final Taxi recently at the age of 99.

    The inventor spent 36 years at General Mills before retiring in 1969 as vice president and director of research. In his time at the company, he worked on projects ranging from food processing to high-altitude spy balloons to high-tech optics used by the Allies in World War II. Over a dozen patents carry his name.

    Borchardt’s famous cereal’s first mascot, Cheeri O’Leary, was introduced in 1942, though the mascot was short-lived and she was rarely seen after 1945. Successful marketing and association with The Lone Ranger led General Mills to sell approximately 1.8 million cases of the cereal in its first year alone, and in 1945, the name of the cereal was changed to Cheerios .

    New mascots named “The Cheerios Kid and Sue” were introduced in 1953 along with the package change, though again product association and in-box promotions generally kept the mascots of Cheerios from the limelight. If fact notable icons that have been prominently featured in association with Cheerios include Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo, Star Wars characters, and NASCAR drivers.

    You know I remember well in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie, Martha Kent places a Cheerios box prominently in front of the camera (as if intended to be a movie tie-in) at the beginning of the scene where Clark Kent is out in the middle of the field watching the sunrise.

    And in another film, , Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), the climatic scene involves one of the shrunken characters swimming in a bowl of Cheerios and almost being eaten by his regularly-sized father.

    I watching television on a an afternoon off and saw the TV show Seinfeld like four times in a row. The show’s main character, Jerry, would curiously order a bowl of Cheerios at a diner instead of a regular meal in most of those.

    Borchardt also played a key role in coming up with the process used to fortify milk with vitamin D. He turned the new fortification method from a “laboratory curiosity” to a commercially viable process.

    His invention of Cheerios was even life-saving. When his grand daughter was about 14 months old, she drank part of a bottle of furniture polish. They took her to the emergency room to have her stomach pumped, and the doctor said if she hadn’t had a good breakfast that morning, she would’ve died. Yes – she had her Cheerios that morning.

    So I guess I will now put away my bowl of Count Chocula and do what is healthy for me…

    …… … I wonder if it counts if I mix the two together??


3 Responses

  1. I now know more about General Mills and Cheerios than ever before.

    Great writing! I’ll be back.

  2. Thanks for the nice article on Cheerios and my grandfather. There were several articles written with minor errors, you avoided all of them and added several nice touches besides.

  3. Ci0Grx hi! hice site!

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