A WHOLE GRAIN AND A DOCTOR'S NAME
People didn't know much about nutrition in 1898, and the word "vitamin" didn't exist. Just the same, Will Danforth was convinced that food had a big effect on health. The germ was always removed from whole wheat cereals of the day. On a buying trip in Kansas, Danforth met a miller who had discovered a way to prevent rancidity.
He packaged the miller's cracked wheat and sold it to St. Louis grocers under the name Purina Whole Wheat Cereal. The word Purina had been coined from the company slogan, "where purity is paramount."
At that same time, the health ideas of Dr. Ralston were gaining in popularity. Clubs of his followers boasted 800,000 members. In his book, "Life Building," Dr. Ralston recommended a whole wheat cereal similar to Purina's product. Danforth approached Dr. Ralston, who agreed to endorse the Purina cereal, provided it was renamed Ralston Wheat Cereal. The arrangement benefited both, and the name stuck. By 1902, the names Ralston and Purina had become so widely known that the name of the firm was changed to Ralston Purina Company.