Tuesday, 30 November 2010

"Breakfast of Chumps"

All credit to Robert Choate.  His efforts to expose the 'empty calories' of breakfast cereals precede 'paleo' by several decades as this extract from Time illustrates:
  • Choate showed a chart ranking cereals according to the quantities of nine different vitamins, minerals and protein they contain. In a scale of 900, only three products rated as high as 700. The three: Kellogg's Product 19 and General Mills' Kaboom and Total. Two-thirds of the cereals ranked below 100. Among them were the five bestsellers: Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Sugar Frosted Flakes, and General Mills' Cheerios and Wheaties ("Breakfast of Champions"). Nabisco's Shredded Wheat ranked last.
His message is still appropriate now and has much wider application, identifying foods that 'fatten but do little to prevent malnutrition'.  Choate's actions led to this article in Time titled "Breakfast of Chumps?" dated August 3rd 1970!


Methuselah said...

For no product category is the line between marketing and lies thinner.

Asclepius said...

Not sure if you saw 'The food that makes billions' but it had a really interesting time line of cereal evolution that went something like this (for Cornflakes, read Rice Krispies etc...):

1. Conflakes (1930s)
2. Cornflakes with sugar (1930s)
3. Cornflakes with toys (1950s)
4. Meusli (1970s)
5. Cornflakes with competitions (1970s)
6. Bran Flakes (1980s)
7. Cereal Bars (1990s)
8. Own Brand Cereals (1990s)

The dates are rough but it illustrates a gold rush where 'worthless' grains at 15p a kilogram can be given 'added value' that sells at 300p a kilo.

Methuselah said...

I missed it unfortunately. Must catch the next one - it sounds like they are pretty good stuff.