Cereal – Why don’t we have Shepherds Pie for Breakfast?

So, a funny thought entered my head – How weird is cereal!

Putting oats/grains in a bowl, pouring over milk and having it as a breakfast dish. Why is it not as acceptable to have shepherds pie for breakfast? I decided to look at where it first came from and who made it everyone’s start to the day!

I have discovered, after some research, that it all began because of religion. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is a protestant Christian denomination who are notable because they have their Sabbath day on a Saturday rather than a Sunday. They were formed in 1863.

There were food reformers at this time who were trying to promote against having meat for breakfast. It was common at this time to have meat hash for breakfast, a mixture of minced meats and potatoes. The Seventh Day Adventist Church made this reform part of their religion.

Ferdinand Schumacher, a German immigrant living in America, was the first to grind oats in his back room to make them digestible. This was in 1854. These ground oats gave a substitute for breakfast pork. In 1877 he adopted the Quaker Symbol. This is the first registered trademark of breakfast cereal. Eating oats for breakfast finally became common for all types of religion, not only the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Cereals have obviously come on leaps and bounds since then. “The number of different types of breakfast cereals in the U.S. has grown from 160 (1970) to 340 (1998) to 4,945 (2012)!”

cereal 2

The most exciting part of my morning as a little girl was opening a new box of cereal and being the first to get the toy inside! ‘W.K. Kellogg was the first to introduce prizes in boxes of cereal. The marketing strategy that he established has produced thousands of different cereal box prizes that have been distributed by the tens of billions.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes had the first breakfast cereal prize. The ‘Funny Jungle Land Moving Pictures Book’ was given to customers by the shop owners when they bought two or more packets of corn flakes. In 1909, this changed to a book in the post if you applied with tokens. ‘By 1912, Kellogg’s had distributed 2.5 million Jungle land books’. This book was finally exchanged for more modern and flashy toys in 1937.

Anyway, perhaps we could have Shepherds Pie for breakfast; after all it’s quite similar to the meat hash (meat and potatoes) that they we were eating before Quaker Oats came along. If you want to eat minced meat for breakfast – go for it, it’s traditional.


Aichner, T. and Coletti, P. 2013. Customers’ online shopping preferences in mass customization. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 15(1): 20-35.

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