A University of Missouri doctoral student developed Coffee Cereal, a breakfast unlike any other.
Coffee Cereal was created in Normal, Illinois, and was founded by Andrew Gillespie, company president, and Anthony Galassi, the vice president, who are physics students at MU. Years of study and travel convinced the two students they needed a form of nourishment to not only cure their appetite, but also help them stay alert. The two experimented with cereal and mixtures, thus creating the product. The two flavors are coffee and café mocha. In addition to Gillespie and Galassi, other members of the company include marketing director Katie Gillespie, Andrew’s sister, and product manager Samantha Gillespie, Andrew’s wife.
“Anyone who has attempted to make a coffee flavored product knows that this is a really difficult flavor to infuse into just about anything,” Andrew Gillespie said. “I think that obtaining the correct balance of ingredients posed the largest difficulty in creating Coffee Cereal. We had to extract an appropriate amount of flavors and caffeine from the coffee without imparting an overly bitter flavor.”
Developing any product, especially a food product requires a background in science, specifically chemistry. Gillespie’s background is absorption physics, which helped them finely tune the temperature of the beans and other aspects to create the smooth taste.
“Food is chemical,” said Andrew Clarke, MU food science professor. “Everything has a connection to chemistry in some way.”
Even with the complex science and hours of decision making, there are still basic steps for creating a product. Clarke narrowed the production steps down to idea, feasibility, prototype development, test market and launch.
The reality of creating a product is not easy, and it is a process in which only a few succeed. Clarke suggests of the 10 percent of the products that get introduced, about only 10 percent of those product ideas are successful.
“Most of the time with this type of product, the creators design a recipe to highlight a specific flavor,” Gillespie said. “Often times they overemphasize it. I did exactly this. The original recipe had way too much coffee flavor. I loved it, but it didn’t cater to most peoples’ flavor pallet. We held several taste testing events where we made different versions of Coffee Cereal varying the amounts of coffee and sweetness.”
The company may be new, but their marketing success makes them look like old pros. Their unique cereal and the custom label they created for their brand allows companies to use their product as a giveaway at expos. While marketing and business increases, the team is looking for local coffee companies to partner-up with. The creators hope to appeal to a wider consumer base.