Cheerios Celebrates 75 Years of Turning Oats to O's

The honey comes from Florida bees and the oats from North America.

— -- The cereal made of O's is celebrating its 75th year of greeting fans, young and old, at the breakfast table every morning.

The original Cheerios brand was the first ready-to-eat oat cereal, "which means that it wasn't freshly baked," said Dana McNabb, vice president of marketing for Cheerios. "The oats were cooked and then it was puffed and it could stay in your shelf, stable, for a little bit longer than foods had been able to prior to that."

The brand has been made in America since 1941. Honey Nut Cheerios came a bit later. As the brands grew, cereal maker General Mills expanded the states it sourced from. These days, the honey comes from honey bees in Florida and the oats come from across North America and the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa to name a few states.

"This is one of the best brands in America," McNabb said. "We've been part of families for years. ... It's a product that has been used by babies, toddlers ... as their first finger food and then you eat through the rest of your life."

At the factory in Buffalo, Shelli Cicero said she'd worked the Cheerios line for 25 years.

Plant manager Allen Brown said he still remembered his first day walking into the factory nine years ago.

"Growing up as a kid and eating Cheerios almost on a daily basis, actually getting to see it made was awesome," Brown said.

From the Buffalo factory, it usually takes about four to five days for those boxes to reach the cereal aisle and then to those breakfast bowls.

"I don't think there's a better breakfast," McNabb said. "It's a proudly American product."