Quaker Oats Company

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Quaker Oats Company
Type Operating Division
Industry Food
Founded 1877
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Key people

Henry Parsons Crowell (founder)

John Compton, CEO, PepsiCo Americas Foods
Parent PepsiCo
Website QuakerOats.com

The Quaker Oats Company is an American food conglomerate based in Chicago. It has been owned by PepsiCo since 2001.[1]

History[edit]

1905 magazine advertisement

Quaker Oats was founded in 1901 by the merger of four oat mills:

  • The Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio, which held the trademark on the Quaker name and was founded by Henry Parsons Crowell, who bought the bankrupt Quaker Oat Mill Company, also in Ravenna.[2] He held the key positions of general manager, president and chairman of the company from 1888 until late 1943. He was called the cereal tycoon.[3] He donated more than 70% of his wealth to the Crowell Trust.[4][5][6][7][8]
  • A cereal mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa owned by John Stuart, his son Robert Stuart, and their partner George Douglas;
  • The German Mills American Oatmeal Company, owned by "The Oatmeal King", Ferdinand Schumacher of Akron, Ohio;
  • The Rob Lewis & Co. American Oats and Barley Oatmeal Corporation. Formally known as "Good For Breakfast" instant oatmeal mix.

The company expanded into numerous areas, including other breakfast cereals and other food and drink products, and even into unrelated fields such as toys.

In 1968, a plant was built in Danville, Illinois. This plant currently makes Aunt Jemima pancake mixes, Oat Squares, Life Cereals Quaker Oh's, Bumpers, Quisp, King Vitamin Natural Granola Cereals, and Chewy granola bars, as well as Puffed Rice for use as an ingredient for other products in other plants.

In 1969, Quaker acquired Fisher-Price, a toy company and spun it off in 1991.

In the 1970s, the company financed the making of the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, obtaining in return a license to use a number of the product names mentioned in the movie for candy bars.

In 1982 Quaker Oats formed US Games, a company that created games for the Atari 2600. After one year they went out of business.

In 1983, Quaker bought Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., makers of Van Camp's and Gatorade.[9]

Quaker bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994 and sold it to Triarc in 1997 for $300 million.[10] Triarc sold it to Cadbury Schweppes for $1.45 billion in September 2000.[11] It was spun off in May 2008 to its current owners, Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

In 1996, Quaker spun off its frozen food business, selling it to Aurora Foods (which was bought by Pinnacle Foods in 2004).

In August 2001, Quaker was bought out by Pepsico because Pepsi wanted to add Gatorade to its arsenal of beverages and thus break into the isotonic sports beverage market. The merger created the fourth-largest consumer goods company in the world. Though the main prize for PepsiCo was Gatorade noncarbonated sports drink, Quaker's cereal and snack food division serves as seemingly healthier complement to the existing Frito-Lay division of salty snacks.

Since the late 1980s, actor Wilford Brimley has appeared in television commercials extolling the virtues of oat consumption, typically to a young child, as to introduce the concept of oatmeal consumption as a long tradition.

Canadian operations[edit]

Quaker Oats facility in Peterborough

The major Canadian production facility for Quaker Oats is located in Peterborough, Ontario. The factory was first established as the American Cereal Company[12] in 1902 on the shores of the Otonabee River during that city's period of industrialization. On December 11, 1916, the factory all but completely burned to the ground. When the smoke had settled, 23 people had died and Quaker was left with $2,000,000 in damages. Quaker went on to rebuild the facility incorporating the few areas of the structure that were not destroyed by fire. When PepsiCo purchased Quaker Oats in 2001, many brands were consolidated from facilities around Canada to the Peterborough location—which assumed the new QTG moniker (Quaker Tropicana Gatorade). Local production includes Quaker Oatmeal, Quaker Chewy bars, Cap'n Crunch cereal, Aunt Jemima instant pancake mixes and pancake syrups, Quaker Oat Bran and Corn Bran cereals, Gatorade sportdrinks and the Propel fitness water sub-brand, Tropicana juices, and various Frito-Lay snack products. Products are easily identified by the manufactured by address on the packaging. The Peterborough facility exports to the majority of Canada and limited portions of the United States. The Quaker plant sells cereal production byproducts to companies that use them to create fire logs, pellets and janks.

Land giveaways in cereal boxes[edit]

Starting in 1902, the company's oatmeal boxes came with a coupon redeemable for the legal deed to a tiny lot in Milford, Connecticut. The lots, sometimes as small as 10 feet by 10 feet, were carved out of a 15-acre, never-built subdivision called "Liberty Park". A small number of children (or their parents), often residents living near Milford, redeemed their coupons for the free deeds and started paying the extremely small property taxes on the "oatmeal lots". The developer of the prospective subdivision hoped the landowners would hire him to build homes on the lots, although several tracts would need to be combined before building could start. The legal deeds created a large amount of paperwork for town tax collectors, who frequently couldn't find the property owners and received almost no tax revenue from them. In the mid-1970s, the town put an end to the oatmeal lots with a "general foreclosure" condemning nearly all of the property, which is now part of a BiC Corporation plant.[13]

In 1955, Quaker Oats again gave away land as part of a promotion, this one tied to the Sergeant Preston of the Yukon television show in the United States. The company offered in its Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice cereal boxes genuine deeds to land in the Klondike.[13]

The 'Quaker man' logo and Quakers[edit]

Quaker Oats box, featuring the "Quaker Man" logo

Today, the company states that "The 'Quaker man' does not represent an actual person. His image is that of a man dressed in the Quaker garb, chosen because the Quaker faith projected the values of honesty, integrity, purity and strength." [14]

However, early Quaker Oats advertising dating back to 1909 did, indeed, identify the "Quaker man" as William Penn, the 17th-century philosopher and early Quaker, and referred to him as "standard bearer of the Quakers and of Quaker Oats."[15] Resembling classic woodcuts of Penn's likeness, starting in 1877 the figure was depicted full-length, sometimes holding a scroll with the word "Pure" written across it.[16] In 1946, graphic designer Jim Nash created a black-and-white head-and-shoulders portrait of the smiling Quaker Man, and Haddon Sundblom's now-familiar color head-and-shoulders portrait (using fellow Coca-Cola artist Harold W. McCauley as the model) debuted in 1957. The monochromatic 1969 Quaker Oats Company logo, modeled after the Sundblom illustration, was created by Saul Bass, a graphic designer known for his motion picture title sequences and corporate logos. In 2012, the company enlisted the firm of Hornall Anderson to give the 'Quaker man' a slimmer, somewhat younger look.[17][18] The man is now sometimes referred to as "Larry" by insiders at Quaker Oats.[19]

The company has no formal ties with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). When the company was being built up, Quaker businessmen were known for their honesty (truth is often considered a Quaker testimony). The Straight Dope writes "According to the good folks at Quaker Oats, the Quaker Man was America's first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal, his registration taking place on September 4th, 1877." [20]

Informed consent controversy, research on children[edit]

In the 1950s, researchers from Quaker Oats Company, MIT and Harvard University carried out experiments at the Walter E. Fernald State School to determine how the minerals from cereals were metabolized. Parents of mentally challenged children were asked for permission to let their children be members of a Science Club and participate in research. Being a member of the Science Club gave the children special privileges. The parents were told that the children would be fed with a diet high in nutrients. However, they were not told (and the consent form contained no information indicating) that the food their children were fed contained radioactive calcium and iron.[21] The information obtained from the experiments was to be used as part of an advertising campaign.[22] The company was later sued because of the experiments. The lawsuit was settled on December 31, 1997.[23]

Trans Fat Content and Litigation[edit]

In 2010, two California consumers filed a class action lawsuit against the Quaker Oats Company.[24] Plaintiffs allege that Quaker marketed its products as healthy even though they contained unhealthy trans fat. Specifically, Quaker's Chewy Granola Bars, Instant Oatmeal, and Oatmeal to Go Bars contained trans fat,[25] yet their packaging featured claims like "heart healthy," "wholesome," and "smart choices made easy."[24]

Plaintiffs' complaint cites current scientific evidence that trans fat causes coronary heart disease[26] and is associated with a higher risk of diabetes[27] and some forms of cancer.[25][28]

Quaker has denied any wrongdoing. As of October 2012, the case is still in litigation in the Northern District of California.[24]

US brands[edit]

As of 2005, these are the product brands marketed under the Quaker Oats name in the US:

Breakfast cereals[edit]

  • Cap'n Crunch
  • Life cereal
  • Quisp
  • Mother's Natural Foods
  • Quaker 100% Natural Granola
  • Kretschmer Wheat Germ
  • Muffets ("The round shredded wheat")
  • Quaker Oatmeal Squares
  • Quaker Toasted Oatmeal
  • Quaker Oh's
  • Quaker Corn Bran
  • Quaker Oat Bran
  • Quaker Puffed Rice
  • Quaker Puffed Wheat
  • Quaker Oatmeal with Dinosaur Eggs
  • Graham Bumpers
  • Coco Bumpers
  • King Vitaman

Other breakfast foods[edit]

  • Quaker Oatmeal
  • Quaker Oatmeal To Go (re-branded from Breakfast Squares in 2006)
  • Quaker Grits
  • Aunt Jemima Syrups and Mixes (Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast foods is owned by Pinnacle Foods, who use the Aunt Jemima trademark under license from Quaker Oats Company)
  • Quaker Breakfast Cookies
  • Quaker Instant Oatmeal

Snacks[edit]

Chewy Granola Bar
  • Quaker Crispy Minis (Rice Chips and Rice Cakes) (known as Snack-a-Jacks in the UK)
  • Quakes Rice Snacks
  • Quaker Soy Crisps
  • Quaker Snack Bars
  • Chewy Granola Bars
  • Quaker Mini Delights
  • Yogurt bars
  • cookie
  • Greek Yogurt

Blueberry Crisp

Mixes[edit]

  • Quaker Tortilla Mix
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Pasta Roni
  • Near East
  • Fat

Drinks[edit]

  • Milk Chillers
  • Tropicana fruit Juices
  • Sunbolt (defunct)
  • Moneng Refreshing Drinks
  • Moneng Oat Power (Isotonic Drink)

UK brands[edit]

As of 2008, these are the product brands marketed under the Quaker Oats name in the UK:[29]

Hot cereals[edit]

(the Scott's brand, previously a rival, is now also owned by Quaker)

  • Pawridge

Ready to eat cereal[edit]

  • Harvest Crunch

Cereal bars[edit]

  • Oat Bars (Original with golden syrup or Mixed berry flavors)

Snacks[edit]

  • Snackajacks bags
  • Snackajacks Jumbos

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthew Herper and Betsy Schiffman (2 August 2001). "Pepsi Bought Quaker. Now What?". Forbes. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Adams, Janky. "The Strait Dope Mailbag - Is the guy on the Quaker Oats Box John Penn?". Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  3. ^ Washington, Booker T. "Cereal Tycoon: The Biography of Henry Parsons Crowell: Joe Musser: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-01-18. 
  4. ^ Generous Giving: Store[dead link]
  5. ^ "The Crowell Trust". The Crowell Trust. Retrieved 2012-01-18. 
  6. ^ Quaker Oatmeal -Our History[dead link]
  7. ^ The Legacy of Henry Parsons Crowell, Founder of Quaker Oats - Christian Business Daily
  8. ^ "Cereal Tycoon: The Biography of Henry Parsons Crowell: Joe Musser". Amazon.com. 
    "Streaming Video (Stories & Testimonies: Givers) Any Man: The Story of Henry Parsons Crowell". 
  9. ^ "The Quaker Oats Company - Company History". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2012-01-18. 
  10. ^ "Quaker Oats Sells Snapple At A $1". Morevalue.com. 1997-03-28. Retrieved 2012-01-18. 
  11. ^ Brian Graney (2000-09-18). "Triarc Sells Snapple to Cadbury Schweppes [Breakfast With the Fool] September 18, 2000". Fool.com. Retrieved 2012-01-18. 
  12. ^ "American Cereal Company". Ohio Historical Society. 
  13. ^ a b Juliano, Frank, "Oatmeal lots gave officials indigestion", pp 1, A12, October 3, 2010, Connecticut Post
  14. ^ "Quaker Oats Company Web Site - Quaker FAQ". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  15. ^ http://phillyflashbacks.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/if-it-walks-like-william-penn-talks-like-william-penn-and-looks-like-william-penn/
  16. ^ Quaker Oats box label, circa 1920s
  17. ^ Time magazine: Newsfeed. "The Quaker Oats Guy Gets a Slimmer New Look: Looks like "Larry" introduced a little more oatmeal into his own diet. By Sonia van Gilder Cooke, March 31, 2012.
  18. ^ Website showing six versions of Quaker Oats' logo
  19. ^ Nassauer, Sarah (2012-03-29). "'Larry,' Quaker of Oatmeal Fame, Gets a Makeover". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  20. ^ Adams, Cecil. "The Strait Dope Mailbag - Is the guy on the Quaker Oats Box John Penn?". Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  21. ^ "Chapter 7: The Studies at Fernald School". ACHRE Report. "It is clear that the doses involved were low and that it is extremely unlikely that any of the children who were used as subjects were harmed as a consequence." 
  22. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1914&dat=19980101&id=m9ggAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KWsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1461,30454.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ Hussain, Zareena (January 7, 1998). "MIT to pay $1.85 million in Fernald radiation settlement". The Tech 11 (65). Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  24. ^ a b c "Quaker Oats Class Action Lawsuit"
  25. ^ a b "First Amended Complaint for Violations of the UCL, FAL, and CLRA", August 19, 2011
  26. ^ Dariush Mozaffarian et al, "Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease", New England Journal of Medicine, 2006.
  27. ^ Frank B. Hu et al, "Diet, Lifestyle, and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women", New England Journal of Medicine, September 2001.
  28. ^ Veronique Chajes et al, "Association between serum trans-monounsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk in the E3N-EPIC Study", Am J Epidemiology, 2008 June.
  29. ^ Quaker: UK Trade Site. Quaker. Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2009. 
  • D'Antonio, Michael. The State Boys Rebellion. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

External links[edit]