6637e9cb55bf410008f767cc Unfrosted

‘Unfrosted’ Is a Fun Movie About the Kellogg-Post Race to Create Pop-Tarts

May 5, 2024
It’s based on fact, but Jerry Seinfeld takes liberties in creating intrigue between the two Battle Creek behemoths.

We don’t think we’ve ever written a movie review before. If you have Netflix, that streaming service last week released “Unfrosted,” about the apparently true competition in the 1960s between Kellogg Co. and Post Cereals Co. to create the first shelf-stable breakfast toaster pastry.

Spoiler alert: Kellogg’s Pop-Tart wins.

It won’t get an Oscars nomination but it’s a fun 1 hour 33 minute diversion, especially for people in the food & beverage industry.

Directed and co-written by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, it’s set in 1963 Battle Creek, Mich., when both companies were headquartered there. (Post moved to St. Louis but Kellogg remains, albeit under the new corporate monicker WK Kellogg Co.) And it’s full of the intrigue (whether true or not) you’d expect from top category rivals that share the same hometown.

"Unfrosted" is a comedy and, while based on real events, takes liberal liberties with business history. The film has an interesting and B-list star-studded cast, including Jim Gaffigan as fictional Edsel Kellogg III and Amy Schumer as the real Marjorie Post. Seinfeld stars as Kellogg’s head of product development.

Melissa McCarthy plays an outside product development whiz called in to hasten Pop-Tarts’ development when Post is ahead in the race. That’s Hugh Grant under the Tony the Tiger costume. Christian Slater plays an evil milkman. When it’s time for Kellogg to up its marketing game, “Mad Men” stars Jon Hamm and John Slattery are called in.

There’s a host of recognizable supporting actors, many of them from Saturday Night Live, playing President John F. Kennedy, Jack LaLanne, Chef Boyardee, the Quaker Oats Quaker, the head of Schwinn bicycles, the head of Carvel ice cream, Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson.

Post launches its toaster pastry, Country Squares, first – apparent fact in timing and name – but within a few months, shoppers shun it in favor of Pop-Tarts. The rest really is history. It’s worth a watch.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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