Quaker celebrates 140 year Anniversary

Update 8 Jun 2024: Quaker Oats Plant Closes After Dozens Of Products Recalled
Quaker products are trusted by consumers since 1877

After 55 years of producing Quaker Oats products in Danville, Illinois, a company plant is closing, triggering layoffs for 510 employees. The City of Danville announced that PepsiCo will be officially closing the plant on June 8, 2024, though production has already ceased. This comes on the heels of two substantial recalls in December 2023 and January 2024 due to potential salmonella contamination, which can be spread via raw foods and contacted surfaces. The recall collectively targeted at least 60 products made at the plant.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted a news release in January announcing an extension of the December recall, now covering not only select Quaker Chewy Granola Bars but an array of cereals, cereal bars, protein bars, snack boxes, and select snack mixes. In a statement to The News-Gazette in Illinois, Quaker tied the Danville production facility closure to the recalls. 

"Following the Quaker recall in December 2023, we paused production at the (Danville) facility," the company said. "After a detailed review, we determined that meeting our future manufacturing needs would require an extended closure for enhancements and modernization. In order to continue the timely delivery of Quaker products trusted by consumers since 1877, we determined production would need to permanently shift to other facilities." Quaker reportedly operates at least three other North American baking plants at present.

Quaker celebrates 140 year Anniversary
Quaker Oats 1877 - 2017

Quaker Oats registered as the first trademark for a breakfast cereal. The trademark was registered with the U.S. Patent Office as "a figure of a man in 'Quaker garb.'" Both former owners, Henry Seymour and William Heston, claimed to have selected the Quaker name as a symbol of good quality and honest value.

Quaker Oats Company

The Quaker Oats Company (/ˈkweɪkər oʊts/), known as Quaker, is an American food conglomerate based in Chicago, Illinois. As Quaker Mill Company, the company was founded in 1877 in Ravenna, Ohio. In 1881, Henry Crowell bought the company and launched a national advertising campaign for Quaker Oats.

In 1911, the company acquired the Great Western Cereal Company. The iconic cylindrical package was introduced in 1915. Although Quaker Oats Company claims that the "Quaker man" is not meant to resemble or represent an actual person, the company identified the Quaker man as William Penn in advertising dating back to 1909. In 1983, Quaker acquired Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., the maker of Van Camp's and Gatorade. In 2001, PepsiCo bought Quaker Oats for $14 billion, primarily to acquire the Gatorade brand. In the 1850s, Ferdinand Schumacher and Robert Stuart founded oat mills. Schumacher founded the German Mills American Oatmeal Company in Akron, Ohio, and Stuart founded the North Star Mills in Hearst, Ontario, Rupert's Land. In 1870, Schumacher ran his first known cereal advertisement in the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper.

In 1877, the Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio, was founded. According to some accounts, Quaker Mill partner Henry Seymour came up with the brand name after discovering an encyclopedia article about Quakers. He stated that the qualities describing Quakers, such as integrity, honesty, and purity, were traits that he wanted customers to associate with the company's product. According to the company, William Heston also claimed to have selected the name.[2] Quaker Mill Company held the trademark on the Quaker name. In Ravenna, Ohio, on September 4, 1877, Henry Seymour of the Quaker Mill Company applied for the first trademark for a breakfast cereal[3]—"a figure of a man in 'Quaker garb'".