It is no secret that there are some many curious products stocked on grocery store shelves these days.  With such a wide array of food preferences, consumer budgets, and dietary restrictions, it is no surprise that accessibility to a wide assortment of foods has increased over the years.  With this in mind, I decided to ransack my pantry for interesting food labels.  I wanted to find out where exactly they came from and how they came to be.

Post’s Grape-Nuts

4-18-16whoGrape-Nuts have been a long-time favorite of mine.  They have been a long withstanding staple in my pantry.  They are so versatile—I eat them with milk, sprinkle them on yogurt, and even sprinkle them on top of ice cream.  Grape-Nuts are also incredibly nutritious.  There are only 4 ingredients (whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, salt, dried yeast) and the cereal is packed with fiber and protein.  Every time I open the box, however, I always wonder, “Where the heck did these things come from?”  There are clearly no grapes OR nuts in the package…it’s just cereal.

C.W. Post first developed grape-Nuts in 1897.  According to the cereal’s site, there are two different explanations behind the name.  One story suggests that Mr. C.W. Post held that glucose, which he called “grape sugar,” developed during the baking process.  This suggestion combined with the cereal’s nutty flavor is said to have inspired its name.  The second version claims that Grape-Nuts got its name from “its resemblance to grape seeds, or grape “nuts.”

Snapea Crisps

I was introduced to these babies last summer.  The poor things were on their way to the trash because no one else in my house seemed to take to them.  When I tried them, however, I was hooked. When I first tried them, they reminded me of crispy, salty Veggie Straws.  I never gave much thought into their origins until recently.

4-18-16who2 Unlike the Grape-Nuts site, the Harvest Snaps site did not offer up much information on the brand’s history.  The website is almost exclusively dedicated to the “all-natural” nature of the snack.  There are a wide variety of flavors of the crisps and there is also a Lentil Bean option.  When I clicked on the “What’s Inside” tab, I was disappointed to find only an infographic that says, “we were always told it’s what’s inside that counts.”  When I clicked to learn more, “That’s why we use real, all-natural peas” is all that popped up.  I was hoping to learn about the process behind the creation of the tasty snacks or the origins of the brand.

I went to the actual package to learn more about the brand and found that, like Grape-Nuts, Snapea Crisps contain very few ingredients:  green peas, vegetable oil (canola, sunflower, and/or safflower oil), rice, salt, calcium carbonate and vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate).

It is SO important to keep asking questions about food. Where did this food product come from?  What the heck is in it?  I love finding out about the history of particular foods.  Thanks for reading!


Anna Toohill
University of Illinois

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