Erewhon Organic Cereal
|Founders||Aveline and Michio Kushi|
Erewhon (pronounced AIR-wahn) is a natural foods company specializing in pure ingredients and simply processed, organic whole foods that support digestive health. It was one of the first companies to introduce and market macrobiotic, organic whole foods in the United States. Its name is derived from the 1872 novel of the same name by Samuel Butler. In the satirical novel, Erewhon (an anagram of “nowhere”) is a utopia in which individuals are responsible for their own health.
Since the early 1950s, Aveline and Michio Kushi had been introducing modern macrobiotics into the United States from Japan. They were both students of George Ohsawa, the founder of the modern macrobiotic movement, since after World War II. In the late 1960s, the Kushis began forming study groups in New York and later in Massachusetts in which they lectured on wide-ranging topics from philosophy and spiritualism, to healthy diet and disease prevention. Their following began to increase, and as word spread, they decided to open a store to meet the ever-growing demand for macrobiotic and whole foods products.
On 9 April 1966, Erewhon Natural Foods was founded as a small macrobiotic and natural foods retail store at 303-B Newbury Street in Boston. Its first product line consisted of processed soy products, including miso and shoyu purchased from Howard Rower's Infinity Foods and Japan Foods Corp., both in New York. Later on, Erewhon began importing food from Japan, as well as developing American organic farming. In August 1967, environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken took over the management of Erewhon, changed the name to Erewhon Trading Co., and began to expand the business.
By the early 1970s, Erewhon began contracting with farmers to produce organically grown crops. It also became one of the first companies to establish a “Charter of Quality Standards for Natural Products” for their product line. According to Erewhon, “natural foods” must adhere to the following guidelines:
--- No synthetic additives or preservatives --- No artificial colors or flavors --- No hydrogenated or solvent extracted oils --- No refined flour or sugar --- Only natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup and molasses.
The business expanded until it included 4,000 products, servicing 2,000 customers by February 1981. After a series of setbacks during the ensuing years, Erewhon celebrated its resurgence by acquiring U.S. Mills in 1986. U.S. Mills, which was founded in 1908, effectively merged with Erewhon as their line of whole grain cereals and simple manufacturing methods were consistent with Erewhon’s. In 2009, San Francisco based health foods company Attune Foods acquired U.S. Mills continuing the mission of promoting digestive health through pure ingredients and simple manufacturing processes. In 2013 Attune Foods was purchased by Post Foods.
Today, the Erewhon brand features eight organic cereals including six gluten free cereals under the Attune Foods banner. Its gluten free cereals include Crispy Brown Rice- Gluten Free, Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries, Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice, Rice Twice, Corn Flakes, and Strawberry Crisp, Crispy Brown Rice- Original, Crispy Brown Rice- No Salt Added and Raisin Bran. Erewhon cereal is non-GMO verified.
- , History of Erewhon - Natural Foods Pioneer in the United States (1966-2011) by William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi 2011.
- Official 'Erewhon' page on Attune Foods
- History of Erewhon - Natural Foods Pioneer in the United States (1966-2011)