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Every recipe begins with a list of ingredients, and Cheerios are no different. Food products are required by law to list ingredients on the packaging. The order of these ingredients is very important since the most predominant ingredient is listed first and the rest are listed in descending order. Cheerios are popular with consumers seeking good sources of whole grains since whole grain oats is the most predominant ingredient in the breakfast cereal. The remaining ingredients include modified corn starch, corn starch, sugar, and salt. Mothers who are concerned about the high sugar content in cereal prefer Cheerios since sugar is the fourth listed ingredient. A number of breakfast cereals on the market today list sugar as the second most predominant ingredient. Other ingredients in Cheerios include the preservative tocopherols, the leavening ingredient calcium carbonate, the additive trisodium phosphate, and additional vitamins, nutrients, and additives.
To make Cheerios, the dry ingredients are first mixed with water resulting in a raw batter that will eventually become the familiar O-shaped cereal. Cheerios get their classic shape when the batter is pressed through special molds. Each tiny circle is then put through a drying process. Following this drying period, hot steam is applied to the cereal in a special pressure cylinder. When the cereal is removed from the high pressure cylinder and returned to a normal atmosphere, the water inside turns to steam and causes the Cheerios to puff up. At this point, the cereal is almost done. A little more drying time, as well as the addition of sprayed on vitamins and minerals, completes the process.
First called "Cheerioats," Cheerios debuted in 1941 and were marketed as the first ready to eat cereal. Still popular decades later, the Cheerio family has grown to include a number of tasty varieties such as Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut and Berry Burst. A multi-grain version, as well as Frosted, Fruity, and Yogurt Burst Cheerios are also on the market.