This year marks the 140th anniversary of The Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc., an iconic American brand that has been committed to nourishing families through the goodness of oats since 1877. This valued promise of bringing oats to more people in more ways has been unwavering for the past 140 years. Over the years, Quaker has pioneered innovative ways to uphold this commitment, and yet even some of the most devout oats lovers may not realize how Quaker’s heritage – rooted in craftsmanship, authenticity and creativity – is filled with interesting ‘firsts’ that were ahead of their time.
Quaker has been a ‘first’ in the morning for many people looking for the nourishment and potential to help them take on their day, so fittingly to close out National Oatmeal Month, below is a look at a few Quaker ‘firsts’ that have played a role in making it the iconic and beloved brand it is today:
· The first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal. Quaker Oats was registered as the first trademark for a breakfast cereal in 1877. The trademark was registered with the US Patent Office as "a figure of a man in 'Quaker garb.’” The former owners, Henry Seymour and William Heston, selected the Quaker name as a symbol of good quality and honest value.
· The first recipe on packaging. Quaker became the first brand to put a recipe on product packaging when it debuted the recipe for “Oatmeal Bread” in 1886. Today, recipes on packaging are virtually a standard in the food industry.
· The first round canister. Quaker Oats introduced the now-iconic round Quaker Oats package in 1915. Quaker produces approximately 120 million canisters annually at its Cedar Rapids plant.
· The first food-specific heart health claim. In 1997, the FDA approved the first food-specific health claim for oatmeal. The claim reads: “Soluble fiber from oatmeal as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” It still appears on qualifying Quaker Oatmeal cereals.
From 1877 to today, Quaker continues to demonstrate its commitment to delivering the goodness of oats in new ways and showcasing their versatility. Over the past few years, Quaker has introduced:
· Innovative formats. Understanding that today people are not always seated for their meals, Quaker debuted both Breakfast Flats and Breakfast Squares so people can enjoy oats away from the table.
· Innovative trends. Quaker helped make it cool to enjoy cold oats by tapping into the trend of overnight oats – oats refrigerated overnight with layers of dairy and favorite toppings – and showcasing their endless possibilities.
· Innovative processes. Quaker created a line of Gluten Free Oatmeal as a response to one of its top consumer requests for years. Boasting a breakthrough and industry-leading milling process, Quaker Gluten Free Oatmeal has become a trusted go-to for those who lead a gluten free lifestyle.
Not only has Quaker been an innovator and leader in oats throughout history, but another integral part of Quaker’s heritage is its first milling facility. Some notable facts:
· In 1873, Quaker opened its first mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and today it’s still the world’s largest milling facility.
· Many of Cedar Rapid Mill’s 900+ employees are part of families who have been working there for generations.
· The Quaker Oats company contributes more than 500 million pounds of whole grains to the American diet every year.
“For the past 140 years, we have consistently delivered nourishing products that families love and trust and have cemented our legacy along the way by also being pioneers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, senior vice president and general manager of Quaker Foods North America. “Today, we’re still who we’ve always been – oat millers who are dedicated to making the highest quality oats through the highest quality means – and we are committed to upholding the values upon which Quaker was founded as we continue to carry this beloved nourishment brand into the future.”