Cereal Breakfast Food

General Breakfast cereal products were originally sold as milled grains of wheat and oats that required further cooking in the home prior to consumption.

Breakfast cereals can be categorized into traditional (hot) cereals that require further cooking or heating before consumption and ready-to-eat (cold) cereals that can be consumed from the box or with the addition of milk.

Cereals – Traditional cereals are those requiring cooking or heating prior to consumption and are made from oats, farina (wheat), rice, and corn. Almost all (99 percent) of the traditional cereal market are products produced from oats (over 81 percent) and farina (approximately 18 percent).

Cereals made from rice, corn (excluding corn grits), and wheat (other than farina) make up less than 1 percent of traditional cereals.

Oat cereals.

The three types of oat cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, quick oatmeal, and instant oatmeal.

Old-fashioned oatmeal is made of rolled oat groats (dehulled oat kernels) and is prepared by adding water and boiling for up to 30 minutes.

Quick oat cereal consists of thinner flakes made by rolling cut groats and is prepared by cooking for 1 to 15 minutes.

Instant oatmeal is similar to quick oats but with additional treatments, such as the incorporation of gum to improve hydration; hot water is added but no other cooking is required.

The major steps in the production of traditional oat cereal include grain receiving, cleaning, drying, hulling, groat processing, steaming, and flaking.

Oats arrive at the mill via bulk railcar or truck and are sampled to ensure suitable quality for milling. Once the grain is deemed acceptable, it is passed over a receiving separator to remove coarse and fine material and binned according to milling criteria.

Cleaning removes foreign material, such as dust, stems, and weed seeds, and oats that are unsuitable for milling.

The most important difference between instant oatmeal and other oatmeal products is the addition of hydrocolloid gum, which replaces the natural oat gums that would be leached from the flakes during traditional cooking, thus accelerating hydration of the flakes. The standard package for old-fashioned and quick oatmeal is the spirally wound two-ply fiber tube with a paper label. Folded cartons are also used to package old-fashioned and quick oatmeal. Most of the instant hot cereals are packed in individual, single-serving pouches.

Farina cereals.

Cereals made from farina are the second largest segment of the traditional hot cereal market, making up 18 percent. Farina is essentially wheat endosperm in granular form that is free from bran and germ. The preferred wheat for producing farina is hard red or winter wheat because the granules of endosperm for these types of wheat stay intact when hot cereals are prepared at home.

Other traditional cereals include whole wheat cereals, rice products, and corn products. Whole wheat traditional cereals include milled, rolled, and cracked wheat products.

Milled cereals are made in a hard wheat flour mill by drawing off medium-grind milled streams.

Rice products have yet to find acceptance as a hot cereal, although rice can be ground into particles about the size of farina and cooked into a hot cereal resembling farina.

Corn products include corn grits, cornmeal, corn flour, and corn bran. Corn grits are served primarily as a vegetable accompaniment to the main breakfast item and are not usually classified as a breakfast cereal although they can be consumed as such. Cornmeal, corn flour, and corn bran are used primarily as ingredients in the preparation of other foods and are not classified as breakfast cereals.

Ready-To-Eat Cereals

The word “cereal” is typically synonymous with a processed product that is suitable for human consumption with or without further cooking at home and is usually eaten at breakfast.

Ready-to-eat cereals are typically grouped by cereal form rather than the type of grain used. These groups are flaked cereals, extruded flaked cereals, gun-puffed whole grains, extruded gun-puffed cereals, oven-puffed cereals, shredded whole grains, extruded shredded cereals, and granola cereals.

Flaked cereals. Flaked cereals are made directly from whole grain kernels or parts of kernels of corn, wheat, or rice and are processed in such a way as to obtain particles, called flaking grits, that form one flake each. The production of flaked cereals involves preprocessing, mixing, cooking, delumping, drying, cooling and tempering, flaking, toasting, and packaging.

Gun-puffed whole grain cereals. Gun-puffed whole grains are formed by cooking the grains and then subjecting them to a sudden large pressure drop. As steam under pressure in the interior of the grain seeks to equilibrate with the surrounding lower-pressure atmosphere, it forces the grains to expand quickly or “puff.” Rice and wheat are the only types of grain used in gun-puffed whole grain

Granola cereals. Granola cereals are ready-to-eat cereals that are prepared by taking regular, old-fashioned whole-rolled oats or quick-cooking oats and mixing them with other ingredients, such as nut pieces, coconut, brown sugar, honey, malt extract, dried milk, dried fruits, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vegetable oil. This mixture is then spread in a uniform layer onto the band of a continuous dryer or oven. The toasted layer is then broken into chunks. Packaging – The package materials for ready-to-eat breakfast cereals include printed paperboard cartons, protective liners, and the necessary adhesives.