Pop-Tarts Creator William Post Dies At 96

William Post, the man often credited with creating Pop-Tarts, passed away on February 10. His son, Dan Post, said the 96-year-old died of heart failure, as reported by the New York Times.

Raised by Dutch immigrant parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Post took a summer job washing trucks at Hekman Biscuit Company (later the Keebler Company) at the age of 16. "We were poor as church mice," Post said in a January 2024 interview with Kellanova, Pop-Tarts' current manufacturer. "[I was] bringing money home for my folks."

After deploying to Japan with the Army Air Corps, Post returned and resumed his position at Hekman. For the next 20 years, he worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming the company's plant manager. During his time in that role, Post was approached by Kellogg's executives who hoped he could bring their idea of the Pop-Tart to life. "They said they wanted something for the toaster but they didn't know how to do it," Post told WWMT in 2021.

While his colleagues and friends doubted the viability of a toaster pastry, Post finally cracked the code after months of work, WWMT reports. This entailed raising a 60-ton sheeter on a platform to create Pop-Tarts' two layers of dough. "To get that done, I had to break every rule in the book," he told Kellanova.

Post is remembered as an innovator and a team player

Post's willingness to think outside the box is what gave Pop-Tart pastries their X factor: the icing. Although one of his co-workers suspected Pop-Tarts' frosting would melt in a toaster, Post told WWMT he completed a successful trial run within a day. "Decision-making was so much easier then," Post said in his Kellanova interview. "I think I would have been much more intimidated if I knew it was going to be such a big thing. We just did a job."

After hitting store shelves across the U.S. in 1965, Pop-Tarts quickly became a household name, and the pastries now rake in upwards of $1 billion annually. As proud as Post was of his success working with Kellogg's, he often recognized it as a group effort. According to his obituary, Post was credited with saying, "I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg's concept of a shelf-stable toaster pastry into a fine product that we could bring to market in the span of just four months."

Kellanova said in a statement to People that the company was "deeply saddened" by Post's passing, adding, "We are grateful to Bill for his legacy and lasting contributions to our company." Dan Post, however, told Wood TV, "He was so much more than the Pop-Tart story. That's what he's known for in other circles, but to his friends and family, he was just sweet, old Bill."