Though it is strongly associated with the 1960s, granola has been around for more than a century. In 1863, sanitarium owner James Jackson created a graham flour product for his patients. He called it "granula."
Forty years later, at another sanitarium, John Harvey Kellogg created a similar product substituting oats for graham flour. He, too, called it granula — until he was sued by Jackson. Kellogg renamed his dried cereal "granola."
Granola did not really catch on, however, until a century later. The healthful eating movement of the 1960s started, with young adults rejecting generation-old political views as well as processed foods.
With an emphasis on whole grains and organic ingredients, cereal companies such as Kellogg, Post and Quaker Oats decided to rebrand and remarket their whole-grain granolas. In 1972, Pet Inc. introduced Heartland Natural Cereal, with the other cereal companies following close behind. And in 1975, Nature Valley rolled out the first granola bar.
Today shoppers can find granola in any flavor: vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, maple cranberry; and with a variety of mix-ins: sunflower seeds, cashews, chocolate-covered pretzels and shredded coconut. With so many options, it can be hard to find one product with all the preferred ingredients.
Some consumers like dried fruit, while others do not. Some want a sweeter, more indulgent granola, and others want the bare-bones oats. There are even websites where you can order your own custom-made granola.
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