William Post, Who Helped Create Pop-Tarts, Dies at 96

William Post, Who Helped Create Pop-Tarts, Dies at 96

William Post, a businessman who was credited with a major position in inventing Pop-Tarts, a basic American snack and cultural touchstone with an attractive sweetness and ease, died on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was 96.

His son, Dan Post, stated he died of coronary heart failure in a senior residing group.

Mr. Post led the bakery plant that developed the primary Pop-Tarts for Kellogg’s in 1964, his son stated. The snack rapidly turned a well-liked deal with for many individuals within the United States, together with Mr. Post’s kids, who had been among the many first style testers.

Today, billions of Pop-Tarts are offered annually, in response to Kellogg’s. They have additionally been depicted on murals, showcased in museums and parodied by “Saturday Night Live.” And later this yr, they are going to star in “Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story,” a farcical chronicle of the Sixties race to win the breakfast-pastry wars, directed by the comic (and Pop-Tarts fanatic) Jerry Seinfeld.

Over the previous 60 years, Pop-Tarts have expanded from 4 flavors to greater than 30. But they’ve additionally maintained the basic type that has made them an American establishment: two skinny layers of dry, rectangular pastry with a candy filling and frosting.

William Post was born on June 27, 1927, in Grand Rapids. He was one in all seven kids born to Henry Post and Johanna Jongsta, Dutch immigrants. His father, who was self-employed, drove a truck that he used to empty the ashes that folks would take out of their coal furnaces.

He attended Grand Rapids Christian High School whereas working part-time at Hekman Biscuit Company washing vans. A yr after his commencement in 1945, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps in occupied Japan.

After finishing his navy service, he returned to his part-time job, started finding out at Calvin College and commenced a 72-year marriage to Florence Schut, who died in 2020, his son stated. Mr. Post left faculty in 1950 and have become a full-time personnel manager at Hekman, which later turned a part of the Keebler Company.

When Kellogg’s approached Mr. Post in 1964, he was managing Hekman’s plant in Grand Rapids. At the time Kellogg’s competitor, Post, was making a toaster pastry referred to as “Country Squares,” which was later named “Toast’em Pop Ups.” Executives from Kellogg’s, which offered cereal, requested Mr. Post if his plant would have the capabilities to create an analogous product.

“Being the completely optimistic person who he was,” his son Dan recalled, “he stated, ‘completely, give me two weeks.’”

There had been “many naysayers,” and a few of his pals stated that Pop-Tarts had been “not such a good suggestion,” Mr. Post advised WWMT, a tv station that serves West Michigan, in 2021. He ignored them, and put collectively a crew to create what Kellogg’s wished.

During these two weeks, he supplied prototypes to his kids at numerous phases of the product’s growth, his son stated.

“They went from cardboard to a pastry,” he stated. “He would carry samples dwelling nearly day by day and say, ‘Kids, attempt these,’” he added. “We’d say, ‘This isn’t so nice.’ After two weeks, we stated, ‘Hey, these are fairly good.’”

After Mr. Post introduced the recipe to Kellogg’s, the corporate offered its first cargo in Cleveland.

Kellogg’s had initially thought-about calling Pop-Tarts “fruit scones.” But their last title, coined by one of many Kellogg’s executives, William LaMothe, was impressed by the popular culture motion of the day: “Pop Art.”

The earliest Pop-Tarts weren’t frosted. The icing was added a number of years later when Mr. Post got here up with the concept, in response to his son.

“I stated to our superintendent, Hey, why don’t you’re taking some Pop Tarts and run them underneath that icer?” Mr. Post stated in a video posted earlier this yr by Kellanova, the company title at the moment utilized by Kellogg’s. He confronted skeptics who believed that the icing would soften within the toaster, however it didn’t. “The choice to make all 4 flavors iced took in the future,” he stated.

As Pop-Tarts turned an more and more vital a part of his work, Mr. Post moved to Illinois in 1967 to start working on the company workplaces of Keebler, the place he turned senior vp.

He retired at 56, however continued working as a advisor for Kellogg’s till he was 76. He was additionally concerned in his church and served as a board member for colleges, church buildings and a neighborhood YMCA.

In addition to his son, Mr. Post is survived by his daughter, Rachel DeYoung, in addition to 4 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Kellogg’s historical past of the Pop-Tart on its web site cites Mr. LaMothe, the chairman, for developing with the concept for a “toaster-ready rectangle” and asking Joe Thompson to create it. It doesn’t point out Mr. Post.

But after Mr. Post’s demise, the corporate stated in an announcement, “He performed an vital position in co-creating the long-lasting Pop-Tarts model.”

Mr. Post advised his Pop-Tarts story to college students into his 80s, his son stated. He usually talked about being the son of immigrants who might barely converse English, and challenged college students to do their greatest and work arduous. He would additionally carry them samples from his limitless provide of Pop-Tarts.

Every time he went right into a classroom, his son recalled, he would inform the scholars: “‘If you wish to be observed, all the time do greater than is anticipated.’”

Victor Mather contributed reporting.



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