Monday, December 07, 2020

Will Keith Kellogg: Industrialist and the founder of Kellogg Company

Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on April 7, 1860. W.K., along with his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, was the co-inventor of flaked cereal. John Kellogg, their father was a successful broom maker.

Leaving school at age 14, Kellogg worked as a broom salesman until becoming bookkeeper and business manager at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

For years, he assisted his brother in research aimed at improving the vegetarian diet of the San's patients, especially in the search for a wheat-based granola. Their many experiments with grains would lead them to stumble upon a major food innovation. During this time, his brother invented peanut butter, artificial milk made from soybeans, and a variety of imitation meats.

In 1894, W.K. Kellogg accidentally left a pot of boiled wheat to stand and become tempered. When it was put through the usual rolling process, each grain of wheat emerged as a large, thin flake. W.K. persuaded his brother to serve the food in flake form, and it was an immediate favorite among the patients. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were subsequently developed in 1898.

Soon the flaked wheat was being packaged to meet hundreds of mail order and it became popular with sanitarium visitors.

In 1906, W.K. Kellogg entered the cereal business and built a successful company to market the new cereal creations; in so doing, he transformed the average American’s breakfast. He believed that diet played an important role in a healthy lifestyle and that the most important meal of the day was breakfast.

Using his sense of economics, an understanding of marketing techniques and hard work, W.K. constantly increased production, advertising budgets and sales. The W. K's innovative marketing campaigns emphasized product flavor, international distribution, and free toys or tokens in the cereal box.

He expanded his business to Australia in 1924, guided the cereal company through the Great Depression (he increased advertising while others cut back), and brought Kellogg's cereal into England in 1938.

In the 1930s Kellogg’s was the first company to print nutrition messages, recipes and product information on their cereal packs.

When W.K Kellogg died on October 6, 1951, at the age of 91, he had amassed a fortune and enriched the lives of people in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan, and millions of others around the world. He is widely remembered for having established the philanthropic foundation that bears his name.
Will Keith Kellogg: Industrialist and the founder of Kellogg Company

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