Business Spotlight: Kellogg’s Part 1

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sanatorium / ˌsæn əˈtɔr i əm / (n.) – a hospital where people can receive treatment for diseases that last a long time

    My grandmother was a nurse at a sanatorium back in the 1950s.

  2. revenue / ˈrɛv ənˌyu / (n.) – the income of a company or government

    The town gets most of its revenue from tourism.

  3. (number)-fold / foʊld / (adv.) – multiplied by the given number

    I can’t believe my Instagram followers increased 10-fold after I posted my funny dance video!

  4. (something)-oriented / ˈɔr i ənt ɪd / (adj.) – designed for a particular person, group, activity, or situation

    Familyoriented shows are becoming popular again.

  5. adopt / əˈdɒpt / (v.) – to start having, using, or accepting something

    The company has adopted a more flexible schedule.


Read the text below.

According to a 2015 survey, around 6.9% of the Japanese population eats cereal for breakfast. In fact, the easy-to-prepare breakfast might not have even reached Japan — where many still prefer a rice-based breakfast — had it not been for the Kellogg Company.

The company had its start at Battle Creek Sanatorium in Michigan. Battle Creek was run by health advocate John Harvey Kellogg along with his brother W.K. Kellogg. In 1894, they invented the wheat flake. By 1905, they were selling over 150 cases a day.

W.K. Kellogg launched a competitor company in 1906. This company prioritized advertising and by 1907 had increased previous revenues 20-fold. W.K. then successfully sued his brother for use of the Kellogg name, rebranding his company as Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company. When the Kellogg Company was created in 1922, it already had two successes: Bran Flakes in 1915 and All Bran in 1916.

By the 1940s, Kellogg’s had expanded across the world to become the largest manufacturer of cold cereals.

Sales doubled for Kellogg’s in the 1950s and ’60s, thanks to the baby boom and the introduction of child-oriented cereals like Sugar Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Krispies. Kellogg’s also adopted Frosted Flakes’ popular Tony the Tiger mascot during this time. (Jasmin Hayward)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Krispies were developed in the ’50s and ’60s but continue to be popular even today. Why do you think this is? Discuss.
  • Sales doubled for Kellogg’s in the ’50s and ’60s thanks to the baby boom. In your country, what kind of foods became popular in that era? Are they still commonly eaten today? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Kellogg’s adopted Tony the Tiger, the Frosted Flakes’ mascot, in 1952. What other popular food mascots do you know? In your opinion, what makes them so popular (ex. they’re cute, they’re funny)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The Kellogg brothers were originally in business together, selling over 150 cases of their cereal a day. Would you ever consider starting a company with a close family member? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The Kellogg brothers had a rough relationship, leading W.K. Kellogg to launch a competitor company in 1906. What do you think about his decision (ex. it was a smart business move, it was heartless)? Why? Discuss.
  • W.K. Kellogg successfully sued his brother for use of the Kellogg name. What are some possible reasons he won the lawsuit against his brother? Discuss.