The Big Grape-Nuts Shortage

Just to clarify. The shortage of this venerable Post cereal, created in 1897, is big, not the Grape-Nuts. Who do we blame for this? Consumers. Cereal sales had been falling until the pandemic sent millions of people to the cereal aisles they didn’t know existed.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I campaigned for Sugar Crisp and Frosted Flakes while our parents stocked up on Grape-Nuts, the now discontinued Grape-Nuts Flakes, and the now discontinued Krumbles. When Krumbles went away, I switched over to Grape-Nuts.

My claim was that grape nuts were really scuppernongs that were harvested so late in the season that they couldn’t be eaten off the vine, much less turned into wine and jelly.

Our grandfather claimed that he’d been eating Grape-Nuts since he was a farmer in Illinois because he was ahead of his time and lined up for the first ready-to-eat cereal. However, he claimed it was made out of soybeans and that the smell that once hovered over Decatur, Illinois from the Staley Company was soybeans roasting over an open fire to be shipped to C. W. Post for the cereal.

Our parents said the cereal was made from wheat flour and malted barley flour and other stuff. The “other stuff,” it seemed, left room for either soybeans or scuppernongs.

According to Post,  “So, why is it called Grape-Nuts? As with many great emblems in history, there are two versions of the story. One says that Mr. Post believed glucose, which he called ‘grape sugar,’ formed during the baking process. This, combined with the nutty flavor of the cereal, is said to have inspired its name. Another explanation claims that the cereal got its name from its resemblance to grape seeds, or grape ‘nuts.’”

Years after our family’s debates about soybeans and scuppernongs, Grandfather died, and when we read his will we found that he had left each of us 100 pounds of Grape-Nuts because, as the old ad said, “they were better than gold.” Unfortunately, wevils ate away our riches at the warehouse, and this explains why we didn’t go to Harvard or Yale or the Riviera.

Nonetheless, I’ve been loyal to the cereal for old times’ sake.


My books include Fate’s Arrows, The Sun Singer, and Special Investigative Reporter.


2 thoughts on “The Big Grape-Nuts Shortage

  1. I also have memories of Grape Nuts.
    Remember Euell Gibbons used to promote Grape Nuts?
    He said they tasted like wild hickory nuts.
    So my father began calling him “Old Hickory Nuts.”

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