Cheerios Still Dominate at Age 70

The iconic breakfast cereal hits a major milestone
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2011 10:37 AM CDT
In this photo taken June 15, 2011, Chris Sterling, with Harlan Electric, upgrades street lighting in front of the General Mills plant in Buffalo, NY.   (David Duprey)
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(Newser) – Cheerios, possibly the most iconic cereal ever made, is 70 years old this year and still a force on the breakfast cereal market. One out of every eight boxes of cereal to leave the shelf in America carries the Cheerios name. And Cheerios aren’t that hard to make, as long as you have a "puffing gun": Balls of dough are heated and shot out of said gun at hundreds of miles an hour, according to General Mills. The company's waterfront plant in Buffalo has been firing them off since 1941, often cloaking the city with a distinctive toasty-with-a-sweet-finish aroma and inspiring T-shirts announcing "My city smells like Cheerios."

More than 10 shapes and sizes were considered for the cereal, which was first called Cheerioats, before the makers settled on little Os. Since then, the company has introduced several new flavors, starting with Honey Nut in 1979 and last year, chocolate. In 2009, sales of Honey Nut Cheerios surpassed the original flavor for the first time and remain in the top spot today. "Cheerios are actually a more iconic food to Buffalo than even the ubiquitous chicken wing," says a Buffalo resident. (The spicy Buffalo wing came along in 1964.)

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