The over a hundered-year-old ingredient to breakfast cereal and your dad and grandparents favorite ice cream is going through a crisis. Do a huge field of produce come to mind when you think of a Grape-Nut? Well, most of the Grape-Nuts of the world come from a factory in San Joaquin Valley, a valley filled with nuts and grapes. The thing is… Neither of these ingredients enters the San Joaquin Valley factory.
Not a Grape
Nope, it does not even seem to have raisins, or a close or distant cousin. It does not have any fruit in it. I would even go to call that the mental image you have, wrong. Let us look at the following two images. One of the cereal and one of the ice cream.
Not a Nut Either
Can you see it in the ice cream picture? Are you sure? Let us look at the cereal picture for a moment. It would be easy to imagine that the fruit next to “wheat-looking” flakes or rounds is what we are looking for, but then you would be wrong. The round yellowish nut-sized kernels are the deal. Now go back to the ice cream picture… Do you see it now? The little yellow specs? They are made from three ingredients. Flour. Salt. Dried Yeast. It was created by C.W. Post, the competitor of Dr. John Kellogg himself.
These hard balls made of malted flour, salt, and dried yeast have been added to the list of items in shortages due to the pandemic. It has vanished from stores mainly because of a supply issue. The kicker is that the process to make these misunderstood chunks is proprietary and is tough to replicate.
Whether you fancy them or not, I will give this invention five stars on confusing the hell out of the consumer and holding to the process of making them that this niche market has been dominated for over 115 years by two companies.