A health diet clinician in Minneapolis, while mixing bran gruel for his patients, spilled some of the mixture on the hot stove. He found the crisp flake with a toasted flavor to be more appetizing than his gruel, and offered the new product idea to Washburn Crosby Company, a forerunner of General Mills.
Washburn Crosby’s head miller tested 36 varieties of wheat and tried many methods before perfecting a tasty flake that would not crumble in the box. An employee contest to name the cereal was won by an export manager’s wife, and in 1924, Wheaties were introduced.
Wheat Foods Council www.wheatfoods.org
Lou Gehrig was the first athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties cereal. During the period 1934-36, Gehrig was featured in various action poses on at least three Wheaties packages, as well as in various print ads.
The first football player on the front of a Wheaties box was Walter Payton of Columbia, Mississippi.
The first Wheaties commercial (live) aired when host Red Barbar promoted it during a Brooklyn Dodgers game (Variety, August 30, 1939).
Later the Dodgers did a promotion dressed in street clothes saying 'Yum, Yum Stuff!'
(Variety, April 24, 1940)
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