Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Quaker Oats Company

Henry D. Seymour and William Heston, along with two others, organized a small oatmeal milling company (The Quaker Mills Company) in the 1877s at Ravenna, Ohio, hoping to profit from the new but growing oatmeal business.

The enterprise was short-lived. Two years later Henry Parson Crowell purchased the company and quickly gained acceptance from the public in part because of his method of packaging the oats in a two pound paper package with cooking directions. This is understandable as the method of packaging by his rivals were in the not-so-handy 180 lb barrels. He was called a cereal tycoon at that time.

Meanwhile, the Quaker Oats Company got its start in Ravenna, Ohio in 1881,with Henry Parsons Cromwell’s Quaker Mill. Cromwell allied with Schumacher in 1888 and the two men formed a monopoly of oat cereal production, which lasted until Cromwell controlled the firm in 1906.

Ferdinand Schumacher (1822-1908) was a German immigrant to the United States, who became known as ‘the king of oatmeal’ in his day. He is credited with the first advertisement promoting a breakfast cereal – a notice that appeared in 187o recommending his ‘Avena oatmeal’ for breakfast-which appeared in 187o in the Akron Beacon of Akron New York.

Henry D. Seymour and William Heston, bought out Schumacher’s shares in 1901. Schumacher’s form merged with Quaker Oats, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and St. Joseph, Missouri.

Over the years many different premiums were given out to promote the Quaker man, starting with trade cards and puzzles in 1900 era, to cookie jars in 1997. The most popular premium in the 1950's was Sgt Preston of the Yukon Promotion with free deeds for one square inch of land in the Yukon Territory.

The symbol of a man in Quaker dress was registered as a trademark in 1877 by forerunner of the Quaker Oats Company. This symbol was chosen because it was considered that Quakers represented an image of purity and honesty. This move was seminal, because Quaker Oats was the first cereal to be marketed as a brand rather than a commodity.

Furthermore, in 1886 Quaker oats pioneered the retail sale of cereals in packages. These developments helped to establish oatmeal as the most popular breakfast item in the United States and as a significant ingredient in many ready to eat cereals and other food products.

The first major acquisition of the company was Aunt Jemina Mills Company in 1926, which is later became leading manufacturer of package mixes and syrup.

During the 1980s, oat bran acquired a reputation for adding fiber to the diet and thereby helping to reduce blood cholesterol. Quaker Oats increased its sales of oat bran products from about 454 000 kg/year to about 11 000 000 kg/year by 1989.

In August 2001, after one hundred years a publicly traded company, Quaker Oats Company merged with PepsiCo, Inc.
The Quaker Oats Company

Popular Posts

Selected articles