Cheerios Were Almost A Completely Different Shape

If you consider yourself a cereal connoisseur with a wide knowledge of everything from the Reeses' Puffs collaboration with Travis Scott to Kellogg's new Cosmic Brownie Cereal, then it's safe to say that you've paid your dues and earned some serious recognition, and a possible trophy — or a job at General Mills. 

With 283.39 million Americans filling their bowls of cereal every morning, it's possible most might be able to differentiate between cereals just by looking at their shapes and colors (via Statista). However, for those of you self-described cereal experts who can tell the difference between the real deal or the generic knock-off, we think there are still a few things you might be shocked to know — like, for instance, how incredibly close Cheerios was to becoming a completely different shape before the company landed on their iconic "O". Without that light-weight, consistent "O," imagine how strange of a world that would have been!

There's no Cheerios without O's

The recognizable shape we've all come to know and love is largely credited to food science innovator Lester Borchardt and the rest of his team at General Mills Research Laboratories, according to My Recipes. Tasked with creating a ready-to-eat cereal, Borchardt and his team would produce a series of possibilities for the new cereal that consisted of various shapes and sizes that ranged from multiple pointed stars to spirals and squares. After test runs, it ultimately came down to the doughnut-shaped O and its ability to fit perfectly in the packaging.

When Cheerios launched in 1941, the public was incredibly receptive, as there wasn't anything shaped quite like it on the market. According to My Recipes, one advertisement for Cheerios at the time said, "Cheerioats doesn't even look like any breakfast food you ever saw before. We blow it out of guns in the clever shape of little miniature doughnuts [...] fat and round and toasty-brown."

Fast forward to the 21st century, and it's easy to see why Cheerios was the best-selling ready-to-eat cereal brand in the country in 2019, specifically the Honey Nut Cheerios variety (via Statista). But still, can you imagine what the world could've been like if Cheerios were stars?