We have been cultivating cereal grains as a staple part of the diet for thousands of years.

The development of manufacturing, a quest to improve the high-fat, low-fibre diets of people in the US and Europe and religious beliefs saw the development of several traditional breakfast cereals like cereal flakes and muesli.

Ever since the stone-age grains have been a crucial aspect of existence. One of the greatest benefits that grains brought was the possibility to store food throughout the year so that the primitive communities could raise and grow their own crops in the same area rather than be forced to continually be on the move in search of new hunting areas.

Grain is harvested throughout the world. Once baking had been developed, grain became not only an essential part of the diet but also an important commodity to be traded and even used as a currency.

The first ever breakfast cereal was Granola, which was invented in 1863 by American James Caleb Jackson, a vegetarian who operated Jackson Sanitorium in the state of New York. However, the cereal never caught on commercially because it was heavy bran and required hours of boiling.

It was Doctor John Harvey Kellogg in the 1880s that developed a biscuit made from oats, wheat and corn meal, and a number of other cereals. Together with his brother, the business savvy former travelling broom salesman Will Keith Kellogg, John developed several grain-based cereals. It was, however, largely by accident that they invented the first modern, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, the “Corn Flake,” and established the manufacturing model for modern cereal production.

In 1898 Sanitarium baker Edward Halsey produced Australia’s first batch of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal in a small bakery in Melbourne. He and his team sold the breakfast cereals door-to-door as a healthier alternative to the popular, less nutritious breakfast foods of the time. Then by 1924, the production of corn flakes began in Sydney’s Shepherd Street, Chippendale.

Today, Australians are the third highest consumers of breakfast cereal in the world, with each person eating nearly eight kilograms a year.

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