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God, Sanitariums, Cereal and Minis

The origins of cereal trace back to a religious fundamentalist belief that eating meat is a sin and constipation was God's punishment. In 1863, Dr. James Jackson invented "Granula", a grain-based breakfast product that was ready-to-eat. It was more satisfying to the conscience than the stomach.

The product caught the attention of Dr. John Kellogg, surgeon, health expert, and owner of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, a popular retreat for the famous and wealthy. Kellogg introduced bran biscuits to the health diet regimen and renamed it "Granola" to avoid legal issues. It was so successful that the Kelloggs embarked on a mission to make the hard biscuits more appealing. After 6 years of experimentation, they developed cereal flakes as we know them today.

This brings us to the late 1980s when the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company, wholly owned by a religious group, used Minis as premiums in Weet-Bix, a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal produced in Australia and New Zealand. They are 3.9" diameter rings with "Sanitarium Weet-Bix" embossed on top. The embossing is faint and hard to read.

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