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This Week in Food History

Today,Ā Food Manufacturing isĀ starting its weekly Food History report, where we willĀ referenceĀ some of the most notable events to have happened in the food industry. From the introduction of Jell-O to the first automatic soda dispenser, read on to see what important events happened this week.

As the Memorial Day weekend wraps up and we all head back to work, the grilled cheddar brats and homemade guacamole is most likely still fresh in your mind (And tummy, if you had leftovers like I did).

So when better than today for Food Manufacturing to start its weekly Food History report, where we will reference some of the most notable events to have happened in the food industry.

This week in food history:

The birth of flaked cereal

On May 31, 1884, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applied for a patent for 'flaked cereal' (corn flakes).

He was trying to improve the diet of patients in his hospital by searching for a more digestible bread substitute using the process of boiling water. When he accidently left a pot of boiled wheat to stand, he realized the wheat became tempered (softened). And when he rolled the softened wheat and left it to dry, he found that each grain of wheat emerged as a large thin flake. Those flakes, as we know today, turned out to be pretty tasty.

It was his brother Will Keith Kellogg, however, who became rich and famous by marketing the new cereal commercially.


On May 28, 1897, Jell-O was first introduced. Pearl B. Wait, a carpenter and cough medicine manufacturer from LeRoy, N.Y., along with his wife, began making a variety of flavors such as strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon fruit. It was his wife, Mary Davis Wait, who named it Jell-O. 

Sales were quite poor, so the couple sold the business for $450 to their neighbor, Orator F. Woodward. Woodward, who had founded the Genesee Pure Food Co. two years prior, eventually found success with the creation. It wasn't until 1902 when he began launching ad campaigns in Ladies' Home Journal and sales peaked to $250,000.

Soda dispenser

On this day, eighty-five years ago (May 27, 1933), Coca-Cola debuted the first automatic fountain dispenser, which poured ready-to-drink Coke that was already mixed together.

Not only was this a first for Coca-Cola Co, but it was a huge accomplishment for the entire soft drink industry.

While today the dispenser may seem commonplace, before that day in 1933, every soda served at a soda fountain had to be stirred up by hand. The syrup had to be added to a glass, then the carbonated water, and finally, the two ingredients were mixed together by spoon. 

People were amazed by Coke's innovation to just pull a handle and instantly get Coke.

A giant ice cream float

On May 25, 2007, the world's largest beverage maker created a 3,000-gallon, 15-foot high ice cream float with its Vanilla Coke and ice cream.

Coca-Cola set the new world record for the largest ice cream float, and it was even certified as drinkable by health inspectors. Yum, yum!

Up until this date, Coca-Cola also held the previous world record for largest ice cream float (weighing in at 2,085) in 1988.

The 2007 event was in commemoration of the soft drink giant's relaunch of Vanilla Coke. 


Keep an eye out next week for more on Food History! If you know of an important date in food history that you would like to see featured, please email me at [email protected]





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