The Quaker Oats Company is an American food conglomerate based in Chicago.
Quaker Oats was founded in 1901 by the merger of four oat mills:
* The Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio, which held the trademark on the Quaker name, and was founded by Henry Parsons Crowell, bought the bankrupt Quaker Oat Mill Company also in Ravenna. He was holding the key positions between the general manager, president and chairman of the company from 1888 until late 1943. He was called the cereal tycoon. He donated more than 70% of his wealth to Crowell Trust.
* A cereal mill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa owned by John Stuart, his son Robert Stuart, and their partner George Douglas;
* The German Mills American Oatmeal Company, owned by “The Oatmeal King”, Ferdinand Schumacher of Akron, Ohio;
* The Rob Lewis & Co. American Oats and Barley Oatmeal Corporation. Formally known as “Good For Breakfast” instant oatmeal mix.
The company expanded into numerous areas, including other breakfast cereals and other food and drink products, and even into non-related fields such as toys.
In 1969, Quaker acquired Fisher-Price, a toy company and spun it off in 1991.
Quaker Oats’ “Chewy Yogourt” Granola bars (available in Canada)
In the 1970s, the company financed the making of the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, obtaining in return a license to use a number of the product names mentioned in the movie for candy bars.
In 1983, Quaker bought Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., makers of Gatorade.
Quaker bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994 and sold it to Triarc in 1997 for $300 million. Triarc sold it to Cadbury Schweppes for $1.45 billion in September 2000. It was spun off in May 2008 to its current owners, Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
In August 2001, Quaker was bought out by Pepsico because Pepsi wanted to add Gatorade to its arsenal of beverages and thus break into the isotonic sports beverage market. The merger created the fourth-largest consumer goods company in the world. Though the main prize for PepsiCo was Gatorade noncarbonated sports drink, Quaker’s cereal and snack food division serves as seemingly healthier complement to the existing Frito-Lay salty-snacks division.
Since the late 1980s, actor Wilford Brimley has appeared in television commercials extolling the virtues of oat consumption, typically to a young child, as to introduce the concept of oatmeal consumption as a long tradition.
The major Canadian production facility for Quaker Oats is located in Peterborough, Ontario. The factory was first established as the American Cereal Company in 1902 on the shores of the Otonabee River during that city’s period of industrialization. On December 11, 1916, the factory all but completely burned to the ground. When the smoke had settled, 23 people had died and Quaker was left with $2,000,000 in damages. Quaker went on to rebuild the facility incorporating the few areas of the structure that were not destroyed by fire. When PepsiCo purchased Quaker Oats in 2001, many brands were consolidated from facilities around Canada to the Peterborough location—which assumed the new QTG moniker (Quaker Tropicana Gatorade). Local production includes Quaker Oatmeal, Quaker Chewy bars, Cap’n Crunch cereal, Aunt Jemima instant pancake mixes and pancake syrups, Quaker Oat Bran and Corn Bran cereals, Gatorade sportdrinks and the Propel fitness water sub-brand, Tropicana juices, and various Frito-Lay snack products. Products are easily identified by the manufactured by address on the packaging. The Peterborough facility exports to the majority of Canada and limited portions of the United States. The Quaker plant sells cereal production byproducts to companies that use them to create fire logs, pellets and janks.
Informed consent controversy, research on children
In the 1950s, researchers from Quaker Oats Company, MIT and Harvard University carried out experiments at the Walter E. Fernald State School to determine how the minerals from cereals were metabolized. Parents of mentally challenged children were asked for permission to let their children be members of a Science Club and participate in research. Being a member of the Science Club gave the children special privileges. The parents were told that the children would be fed with a diet high in nutrients. They were not, however, told (and the consent form contained no information indicating) that the food their children were fed contained radioactive calcium and iron. The information obtained from the experiments was to be used as part of an advertising campaign. The company was later sued because of the experiments. The lawsuit was settled on December 31, 1997.
Logo and Quakers
The monochromatic 1971 Quaker Oats Company Logo was created by Saul Bass, a graphic designer known for his motion picture title sequences and corporate logos. The current logo (on which the Saul Bass logo was apparently modeled) was painted by Haddon Sundblom sometime between 1939 and 1941 using fellow Coca Cola artist Harold W. McCauley as the model. Although it is popularly believed that the man on the box is Province of Pennsylvania founder, namesake and Quaker William Penn, the company states that “The ‘Quaker man’ is not an actual person”, but is instead a generic representation of a “man dressed in Quaker garb”. The man has also been mistaken for Benjamin Franklin.
The company has no formal ties with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). When the company was being built up, Quaker businesspeople were known for their honesty (Truth is often considered a Quaker testimony). The Straight Dope writes “According to the good folks at Quaker Oats, the Quaker Man was America’s first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal, his registration taking place on September 4th, 1877. “The name was chosen when Quaker Mill partner Henry Seymour found an encyclopedia article on Quakers and decided that the qualities described — integrity, honesty, purity — provided an appropriate identity for his company’s oat product.” H2g2 tells that part of the company began trading with the name Quaker Mill because of a link with Pennsylvania, “the Quaker State”; however, the Mill was based in Ohio and no such link has been revealed. In the 1800s, when the company was formed, Quakers did wear clothes similar to those shown in the picture. This was because of the Quakers’ Testimony of Simplicity — they did not want to show off their wealth with expensive clothing. Quakers currently do not tend to dress in that manner — they might instead avoid clothing with brand names advertised.
As of 2005, these are the product brands marketed under the Quaker Oats name in the US:
* Cap’n Crunch
* Life cereal
* Mother’s Natural Foods
* Quaker 100% Natural Granola
* Kretschmer Wheat Germ
* Muffets (“The round shredded wheat”)
* Quaker Oatmeal Squares
* Quaker Toasted Oatmeal
* Quaker Oh’s
* King Vitamin
* Quaker Corn Bran
* Quaker Oat Bran
* Quaker Puffed Rice
* Quaker Puffed Wheat
Other breakfast foods
* Quaker Oatmeal
* Quaker Oatmeal To Go (re-branded from Breakfast Squares in 2006)
* Quaker Grits
* Aunt Jemima Syrups and Mixes (Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast foods is owned by Pinnacle Foods, who use the Aunt Jemima trademark under license from Quaker Oats Company)
* Quaker Breakfast Cookies
* Quaker Instant Oatmeal
* Quaker Crispy Minis (Rice Chips and Rice Cakes) (known as Snack-a-Jacks in the UK)
* Quakes Rice Snacks
* Quaker Soy Crisps
* Quaker Snack Bars
* Chewy Granola Bars
* Quaker Mini Delights
* Quaker Tortilla Mix
* Pasta Roni
* Near East
* Milk Chillers
As of 2008[update], these are the product brands marketed under the Quaker Oats name in the UK:
* Quaker Oats
* Oatso Simple (various flavours)
* Scott’s Porage Oats
* Scott’s So Easy
(the Scott’s brand, previously a rival, is now also owned by Quaker)
Ready to eat cereal
* Harvest Crunch
* Oat Bars (Original with golden syrup or Mixed berry flavours)
* Snack-a-Jack bags
* Snack-a-Jack Jumbos