A special product with multiuse goals
The names Granula and Granola were registered trademarks in the late 19th century United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and then baked until crisp, in contrast to the, at that time (about 1900), contemporary invention, muesli, which is traditionally neither baked nor sweetened. The name is now a trademark only in Australia and New Zealand, but is still more commonly referred to as muesli there.The trademark is owned by the Australian Health & Nutrition Association Ltd.'s Sanitarium Health Food Company in Australia and Australasian Conference Association Limited in New Zealand.
Granula was invented in Dansville, New York by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in 1863. The Jackson Sanitarium was a prominent health spa that operated into the early 20th century on the hillside overlooking Dansville. It was also known as Our Home on the Hillside; thus the company formed to sell Jackson's cereal was known as the Our Home Granula Company. Granula was composed of Graham flour and was similar to an oversized form of Grape-Nuts. A similar cereal was developed by John Harvey Kellogg. It too was initially known as Granula, but the name was changed to Granola to avoid legal problems with Jackson.
The food and name were revived in the 1960s, and fruits and nuts were added to it to make it a health food that was popular with the health and nature-oriented hippie movement. At the time, several people claim to have revived or re-invented granola. During Woodstock, a soon-to-be hippie icon known as Wavy Gravy, popularized granola as a means of feeding large numbers of people during the festival. Another major promoter was Layton Gentry, profiled in Time as "Johnny Granola-Seed". In 1964, Gentry sold the rights to a granola recipe using oats, which he claimed to have invented himself, to Sovex Natural Foods for $3,000.
The company was founded in 1953 in Holly, Michigan by the Hurlinger family with the main purpose of producing a concentrated paste of brewers yeast and soy sauce known as "Sovex". Earlier in 1964, it had been bought by John Goodbrad and moved to Collegedale, Tennessee. In 1967, Gentry bought back the rights for west of the Rockies for $1,500 and then sold the west coast rights to Wayne Schlotthauer of Lassen Foods in Chico, California, for $18,000. Lassen was founded from a health food bakery run by Schlotthauer's father-in-law. Canadian rights were ceded in 1972 to the Congregation Shalom Ba-olam, a charitable organization which produced "Layton Gentry's Original Crunchy Granola" as a fundraiser.
In 1972, an executive at Pet Milk (later Pet Incorporated) of St. Louis, Missouri, introduced Heartland Natural Cereal, the first major commercial granola. At almost the same time, the Quaker Oats Company introduced Quaker 100% Natural Granola. Quaker was threatened with legal action by Gentry, and they subsequently changed the name of their product to Harvest Crunch. Within a year, Kellogg's had introduced its "Country Morning" granola cereal and General Mills had introduced its "Nature Valley". In 1974, McKee Baking (later McKee Foods), makers of Little Debbie snack cakes, purchased Sovex. In 1998, the company also acquired the Heartland brand and moved its manufacturing to Collegedale. In 2004, Sovex's name was changed to "Blue Planet Foods".