Chex

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Chex
Corn-chex-box.jpg
A box of Corn Chex in 2006
Product typeCorn cereal
OwnerGeneral Mills (United States, Canada, United Kingdom), Kellogg's (South Korea, Singapore)
CountryUnited States
Introduced1936 (1936)
Related brandsShredded Ralston
MarketsNorth America, United Kingdom, South Korea
Previous ownersRalston
Websitewww.chex.com

Chex is an American brand of breakfast cereal currently manufactured by General Mills. It was originally produced and owned by Ralston Purina of St. Louis, Missouri, using the name Chex starting in 1950.[1] The Chex brand went with corporate spinoff Ralcorp in 1994. and was then sold to General Mills in 1997.[2] Rival cereal company Kellogg's has the rights to the Chex brand in South Korea and Singapore.[3]

The name "Chex" reflects the "checkerboard square" logo of Ralston Purina.[citation needed]

For many years, advertisements for the cereal featured the characters from Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip.

History[edit]

Shredded Ralston advertisement, 1942

Chex cereal traces its lineage back to Shredded Ralston, which was first produced in the late 1930s. One 1936 grocery store advertisement for the cereal described it as, "ready to eat, made from pure whole wheat . . . Cooked, shredded, and toasted to a delicious golden brown; new in flavor."[4] Bite-sized Shredded Ralston was described in one early promotional article as whole wheat that had been "shredded and baked into crisp-bite-size biscuits."[5]  In addition to being recommended as a breakfast cereal, it was suggested as soup croutons, a snack with melted butter, and as the heart of a homemade candy flavored with honey and lemon.[5]

One of the early distinctive characteristics of Chex was its shape. When Rice Chex was introduced in 1950,[6] one advertisement described it as, "Golden-toasted shreds of rice, crisscrossed into hollow, Bit Size waffles.  Shaped just right for easy eating."[7] In 1951, Shredded Ralston was rebranded as Wheat Chex, initially stating "We are changing the name of Shredded Ralston to Shredded Ralston Wheat Chex,"[8] but often using both the short name and the longer name within the same ad copy.[9] Side by side photos in the early 1950s show that the shape of Wheat Chex was not yet changed to the waffle-shape of Rice Chex, retaining its denser, biscuit-like form.[10] When Corn Chex was released in 1959, it was given the Rice Check "criss-crossed" shape, described as helping it stay crispy in milk.[11][12]

When Ralcorp sold the Chex Brand to General Mills, the Federal Trade Commission required General Mills to permit the production of private label (store brand) versions of Chex, including by Ralcorp itself.[13][14]

Flavors and varieties[edit]

  • Rice Chex (introduced in 1950)[6]
  • Wheat Chex (introduced in 1951,[8] 1936 as "Shredded Ralston"[4])
  • Corn Chex (introduced throughout the United States in 1959[11] after limited distribution in 1958[15])
  • Honey Nut Chex (introduced in 1998 as the first General Mills addition to the Chex brand)[16]
  • Chocolate Chex
  • Cinnamon Chex
  • Apple Cinnamon Chex
  • Blueberry Chex
  • Peanut Butter Chex

Source:[17]

Discontinued varieties[edit]

  • Raisin Bran Chex[18] (introduced into wide distribution in 1968)[19]
  • Sugar Frosted Chex (released throughout the United States in 1969)[20]
  • Sugar Chex[21]
  • Super Sugar Chex[22]
  • Oat Chex
  • Bran Chex (introduced in 1977)[23]
  • Double Chex
  • Wheat & Raisin Chex
  • Graham Chex
  • Honey Graham Chex
  • Frosted Mini-Chex
  • Strawberry Chex
  • Multi-Bran Chex
  • Green Onion Chex (limited edition, released by Kellogg's in South Korea in 2020)[24]
  • Vanilla Chex

Source:[17]

Marketing[edit]

In its early days, Shredded Ralston (what became Wheat Chex) was promoted as a cereal for the whole family. One common 1937 advertisement said, "Its flavor knows no limits," and then proceeded to explain with six-year old Bobby and older family members all had a different reason to enjoy the cereal.[25] By 1939, Ralston Purina had begun hoping to entice customers with box-top giveaways, such as a pen and pencil set that was still aimed at the whole family.[26] By 1941, however, while their advertising still hoped to entice mothers and wives, the promotions had begun to be aimed at children, such as Tom Mix comic book give-aways.[27] By 1951, Rice Chex and Wheat Chex were tied up with prized and box-top giveaways squarely aimed at children, such as ripcord helicopter toys.[28]

Ralston Purina attempted to redefine the Chex brand in 1956 by running copy on cereal boxes and in some newspapers which declared that they would no longer be putting prizes inside the boxes or targeting children: "This box contains 12 ounces of crunchable, munchable Wheat Chex - the only cereal made on purpose for Grownups."[29]

Even so, later ad campaigns for Chex varieties were not so restrained: "Now in every box of Sugar Frosted Chex, you can get one of nine different prizes.  Kids will love the secret agent ring or invisible spy pen..."[30]

Tie-In Promotions[edit]

The 1970s varieties Sugar Chex and Super Sugar Chex featured Casper the Friendly ghost on the box.[31][32]

Television and Radio[edit]

Tom Mix[edit]

During the 1930s, Ralston Purina sponsored the Tom Mix radio show, produced Tom Mix comic books and give-aways,[27] and promoted Shredded Ralston (what became Wheat Chex) as, "the Tom Mix Bite Size cereal that's rich in 'Cowboy Energy.'"[33]

Space Patrol[edit]

From 1950 to 1955, Chex served as the primary sponsor of the popular TV and radio show Space Patrol, which ran for over 1,000 television episodes and 129 radio episodes. These episodes included many advertisements, promotional offers, and prizes related to Chex cereal, specifically Wheat Chex and Rice Chex.[34]

The Chexmates[edit]

In 1968, Chex ran a series of TV commercials on the adventures of The Chexmates, a cartoon threesome who ate Chex to get the strength they needed to travel to Mars, overcome tough obstacles or subdue evil-doers. The characters were a muscular man named Chexter, an Asian karate expert named Chop Louie, and a blonde cowgirl named Jessie Jane. Their voices were provided by John Erwin, Tommy Cook and Julie Bennett.[35][36][37]

Video games[edit]

Chex is featured in a series of first-person shooter computer games (Chex Quest, Chex Quest 2, and Chex Quest 3) in which the player takes on the role of a Chex Warrior clad in Chex Armor. The games use a modified version of DOOM's IWAD (graphics, sounds, levels, etc.) and executable.

Chex Mix[edit]

Chex is also the basis for a baked snack called "Chex Mix", in which different kinds of Chex are mixed with nuts, pretzels, and baked crackers,[38] and then often baked again with butter and various other spices (Worcestershire sauce in the original mix) to add flavor. Commercial and homemade varieties exist, and the dish is a common holiday snack in the United States. Chex Mix recipes were regularly featured on Chex cereal boxes, and commercially prepared Chex Mix snacks is sold in supermarkets.

Puppy chow[edit]

Chex can also be used to make a chocolate snack called "Chex Muddy Buddies", also known as Puppy Chow.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trademark Registration 0559285". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 30 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Gibson, Richard (15 April 1996). "General Mills Agrees to Buy Chex Brands for $570 Million". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2021-07-29. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Kellogg's Korea Releases Green Onion Flavoured Chex Cereal". Middleclass. Archived from the original on 2021-02-10. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Advertisement". Clinton Daily Journal and Public. 22 October 1936. p. 6.
  5. ^ a b "Victory Breakfast". Sioux City Journal. 16 July 1942. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b "Advertisement". The Winona Republican-Herald. 21 September 1950. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Advertisement". Battle Creek Enquirer. 24 August 1950. p. 22.
  8. ^ a b "Advertisement". The Spokesman-Review. 22 April 1951. p. 105.
  9. ^ "Advertisement". Daily News. New York, New York. 15 July 1951. p. 173.
  10. ^ "Advertisement". The Pittsburgh Press. 14 Dec 1952. p. 93.
  11. ^ a b "Advertisement". The Roberts News. Los Angeles, California. 16 April 1959. p. 26.
  12. ^ "Advertisement". The Times Dispatch. Richmond, Virginia. 27 January 1960. p. 19.
  13. ^ "U.S. clears cereal deal". The Journal News. White Plains, New York. 27 December 1996. p. 24.
  14. ^ "General Mills munches Chex, with federal OK". Record-Journal. Meriden, Connecticut. 27 Dec 1996. p. 23.
  15. ^ "Corn Chex is New Bite-Sized Cereal". Battle Creek Enquirer. 23 November 1958. p. 20.
  16. ^ Merrill, Ann (3 June 1998). "Chex mate: General Mills will introduce new cereal". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. p. 45.
  17. ^ a b "Chex products".
  18. ^ "Raisin Bran Chex Cereal - MrBreakfast.com".
  19. ^ "Want a Bran New Shape?". The Montgomery Advertiser. 27 October 1968. p. 44.
  20. ^ "Advertisement". The Salt Lake Tribune. 27 July 1969. p. 2.
  21. ^ Casper the Friendly Ghost–Sugar Chex cereal commercial, YouTube
  22. ^ Weiershauser, Helen (22 April 1978). "Will all the junk food junkies please stand up?". The Muscatine Journal. p. 3.
  23. ^ "Advertisement". The Spokesman-Review. 12 June 1977. p. 154.
  24. ^ "Kellogg's Gets Experimental With Green Onion Flavored Chex Cereal". HypeBeast. 30 June 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-07-01. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Advertisement". The Tampa Tribune. 13 March 1937. p. 5.
  26. ^ "Advertisement". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 19 March 1939. p. 90.
  27. ^ a b "Dumb Dora: She's Not So Dumb". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 6 April 1941. p. 59.
  28. ^ "Advertisement". The Akron Beacon Journal. 30 September 1951. p. 8.
  29. ^ "Look Ma, No Premiums". The Lincoln Star. 23 March 1956. p. 11.
  30. ^ "Advertisement". Arizona Republic. 18 May 1969. p. 103.
  31. ^ "Super Sugar Chex". Mr. Breakfast. Archived from the original on 2009-12-23. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  32. ^ "Sugar Chex". Mr. Breakfast. Archived from the original on 2009-12-01. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  33. ^ "Advertisement". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 16 April 1950. p. 181.
  34. ^ 1953 Space Patrol Chex Cereal Commercial, Ed Kemmer, YouTube
  35. ^ The Chexmates commercial, YouTube
  36. ^ Ralston Purina Chex with The Chexmates, YouTube
  37. ^ Chexmates TV Commercial, YouTube
  38. ^ Machlin, S. (2011). American Food by the Decades. ABC-CLIO. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-313-37699-3.
  39. ^ "Archived Kellogg's page discussing their Crispix/Chex brands in Australia and New Zealand". Kellogg's. 22 March 2003. Archived from the original on 2 May 2003. Retrieved 14 September 2015.

External links[edit]