February 16, 2024

A Pop-Tarts Creator’s Legacy

A Pop-Tarts Creator’s Legacy

William Post, one of the inventors of Pop-Tarts, just passed away at age 96. As a bakery manager at the company that eventually was called Keebler, he was asked by Kellogg’s executives to help them come up with a new product. He recalled he had to “break every rule in the book” to launch the toaster pastries with his team. Their fresh take on toast and jam, named for the Pop Culture movement, first hit grocery store shelves in Cleveland in 1964 and went nationwide the next year. While few would have called Pop-Tarts a healthy breakfast option, they became an iconic favorite among many Americans with a sweet tooth and come in nearly 100 flavors today. As a young boy, Pop-Tarts were a Leo Weiner favorite.

Reading Post’s story reminded me of how much innovation happens on the floors of the food & beverage companies we serve. Marcum has a very robust F&B practice, and I am constantly amazed at the creativity we see in that sphere—sometimes more than in the nation’s tech hubs. Food science has come a long way since Pop-Tarts first came out (Mega Oreo, anyone?), and there are now a number of healthier knock-off versions. And with each foodie trend, there are countless new offerings, from fermented foods to meat alternatives.

Although Post got a lot of the kudos for Pop-Tarts, his family said he would have credited his amazing team for helping him roll them out in just four months. As the Post family recognized, innovation is a team sport. It happens when people come together and bounce ideas off of one another. I often think about that when traveling to one of our offices. There’s no substitute for the magic that takes place when smart and creative people come together under one roof. And with more young people appreciating the pleasures of the analog world—whether it’s getting together in person, reading paperback books, or playing with Legos—perhaps we’ll see an influx of new talent into industries like F&B and consumer packaged goods. It’s really about the power of showing up.

We do all we can to stay innovative at Marcum. As some of you already know, we announced our merger with Powers & Sullivan earlier this month. The move will expand our government practice in New England, adding four partners and 26 associates to our more than 4,000-person firm. In today’s fast-changing business world, you can’t have too many innovative minds on your team. That’s a lesson William Post embraced decades ago in his pursuits, and it’s just as relevant to middle-market firms today.

Finally, Monday is Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday that is a time to honor our past leaders and shared history as Americans. Happy Presidents’ Day!