The Origin Behind The Wheaties Slogan Breakfast Of Champions

There may be nothing more iconic in the food marketing world than an athlete appearing on the front of the Wheaties box with the "Breakfast of Champions" slogan splashed across it. Wheaties was introduced to the world in 1921 as General Mills' first ready-to-eat cereal and has impacted pop culture ever since. Synonymous with sports icons, Wheaties has a reputation for being nutritious, with 100% whole grain flakes and B vitamins. 

So where did the saying "Breakfast of Champions" come from? Well, it wasn't one of the company's original marketing slogans. The phrase was introduced to the world in 1933 at Nicollet Park in Minneapolis. "Breakfast of Champions" was actually part of a $10,000 deal that let Wheaties broadcast Minneapolis Millers' baseball games on WCCO, a radio station founded by General Mills' predecessor. Wheaties is considered to be instrumental in the advent of radio sports programming, enticing Major League Baseball to broadcast games and run ads on the medium.

Once Wheaties gained its footing in the sports broadcasting world, the brand sought out other ways to capitalize on marketing its product in the sports world.

Sports and food marketing at its best

The first feature on the Wheaties box was a fictional character named Jack Armstrong in 1934. Soon after, the box featured real-life New York Yankees player Lou Gehrig and, after that, Elinor Smith, a female pilot. Originally, images of athletes and notable figures were only featured on the back of the Wheaties box. That changed in 1958, when Olympian pole vaulter Bob Richards appeared on the front of the box and cemented the iconic imagery we know today. General Mills was wise enough to recognize that by featuring popular athletes on the front of its cereal boxes, it would create a buzz around its products. If everyone is talking about the Olympian of the moment and they are on the cover of the Wheaties box, then they'll be talking Wheaties, too!

Adding "Breakfast of Champions" alongside the images of star athletes, though, convinced consumers think that if they ate Wheaties, they too could be an Olympic-level athlete. Right now, people can purchase a limited edition Wheaties box that features gymnastics superstar Simone Biles, as the boxes continue to be collectible items for sports fanatics around the world. Who knows where the sports and food marketing worlds would be today without Wheaties' "Breakfast of Champions" boxes highlighting hardworking athletes and connecting people through their love of sports and food?