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The man credited with inventing the iconic breakfast food Pop-Tarts has died at the age of 96. 

William ‘Bill’ Post was working as a manager for Michigan-based Hekman Biscuit Company, which was later renamed Keebler, when Kellogg’s outsourced an idea to the company, come up with a breakfast pastry for the toaster. 

According to CNBC, Pop Tarts maintains annual sales of around $1 billion in the United States alone.

 This year, Jerry Seinfeld will make his directorial debut in Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story for Netflix

The movie, littered with A-listers including Seinfeld, himself, as well as Melissa McCarthy and Hugh Grant will deal with the race between Kellogg’s and their rivals to get a toasted pastry to market. 

In various interviews over the years, Post has said that many of his colleagues at the time were against his pop tart idea. In the project, they were known as fruit scones, the name was changed to Pop Tart to capitalize on the pop art phenomenon of the 1960s. 

‘There were so many naysayers. Some of my good friends would say, ‘I don’t know Bill.’ They would tell us it’s not such a good idea,’ he said in a 2021 interview. 

Bill Post dead at 96: Inventor who created Pop-Tarts despite friends saying it was ‘not such a good idea’ dies three months before Netflix film starring Melissa McCarthy and Hugh Grant about his iconic snack is released

William ‘Bill’ Post, a pioneer in the world of breakfast foods, passed away on February 10

According to CNBC, Pop-Tarts maintains annual sales of around $1 billion in the United States alone

According to CNBC, Pop-Tarts maintains annual sales of around $1 billion in the United States alone

Post began working for the company on his 16th birthday, taking a hiatus to serve his country in occupied Japan in the aftermath of World War II.

After returning from his military service, Post began working his way up the ranks at Keebler. It was 1964 when Kellogg’s called with the demand for a toastable breakfast treat, according to his obituary. 

Post told WWMT in 2021 that the challenge his idea faced as was adding a second layer of dough on top of the filling. ‘To get that done, I had to break every rule in the book, he said in a corporate video produced by Kellogg’s. 

Once that was accomplished, it took a mere four months before the company made enough samples, around 10,000, to send out to be tested. The four original flavors were strawberry, blueberry, apple currant and brown sugar cinnamon. 

The flavors sold out quickly, prompting another 45,000 to be immediately ordered, which also sold out. 

‘Those just blew off the shelves. Kellogg’s ran a big-page ad: ‘Oops! We goofed! Sorry, we ran out of Pop-Tarts.’ From then on, we’ve been running ever since,’ Post told Fox 17 in 2023. 

‘I used to bring a lot of stuff home, samples you’d run, and they’d turn up their noses, they didn’t like this or that. But they used to ask me, ‘Bring those fruit scones home.’ That’s what we called them at first, internally. Fruit scones. ‘Bring some of those home, will you, Dad?,” he told the Associated Press in 2003. 

Post retired as a senior vice president of Keebler in 1985 on a salary of $92,000, he later rejoined Kellogg’s in a consultancy role.  

After a few years of success, the frosting was added with again naysayers arguing that it would create a gooey mess in toasters across the country. Post later said it took one day to perfect a formula that worked. 

The four original flavors were strawberry, blueberry, apple currant and brown sugar cinnamon, since then new flavors have come thick and fast

The four original flavors were strawberry, blueberry, apple currant and brown sugar cinnamon, since then new flavors have come thick and fast 

Over the years, Pop Tarts brand has stretched far beyond the original concept

Over the years, Pop Tarts brand has stretched far beyond the original concept 

For the frosting, Post came up with the idea after running some Pop-Tarts through a cookie-icing machine.

He took some of the frosted Pop-Tarts to show Bill Lamothe, a Kellogg executive in charge of the pastry’s development at the company. Lamothe would go on to become chairman and chief executive officer of Kellogg.

‘So I came to Battle Creek with toaster in hand, with icing on Pop-Tarts,’ Post says. “We put ’em in the toaster, showed him it didn’t melt. And he said,”Wow, thats really something.”‘

Within an hour, Lamothe instructed Post to frost all varieties of Pop-Tarts, a quick decision that exemplified Kellogg’s entrepreneurial spirit at the time, Post says.

‘We just doubled the market with that one decision made in one day,’ he says. ‘That’s how astute Kellogg is at detecting trends.’

Over the years, competitors such as Pillsbury, Nabisco and Post have introduced toaster pastries of their own, with varying degrees of success. 

In a 2021 interview with WWNT, Post said that he still regularly ate pop tarts, preferring strawberry and eating them cold. 

‘Bill would say, ‘I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg’s concept of a shelf stable toaster pastry into a fine product that could bring to market in the pan of just ‘four months,”‘ his online tribute reads. 

For most of his life, Post was married to his high school sweetheart, Florence, who passed away in 2020. 

Bob Keith, a professor of nutrition and food science at Auburn University, says theres nothing wrong with occasionally having a Pop-Tart for breakfast.

‘They are fortified with certain vitamins. They have some sugar in them but theyre not really high in fat,’ Keith says. ‘So, if you ate that Pop-Tart with a glass of milk, for example, in the mornings, that would be an acceptable breakfast for some breakfasts out of that week.’



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