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Malt-O-Meal Bags The Box

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By Kerry McNally, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One in ten bowls of breakfasts eaten every day here in the United States is made in Northfield, Minn.

The year was 1919 when Northfield resident John Campbell took $900 of poker winnings and bought a mill to make a new kind of Farina.

“(The name) Malt-O-Meal comes from the first product that he made,” said Consumer Marketing Manager Linda Fischer. “It was a farina-based cereal that he flavored with malt.”

Originally housed in the Ames Mill, which was built on the banks of the Canon River, Malt-O-Meal now employees over 2,000 Minnesotans.

Today, this privately-held breakfast behemoth makes 24 varieties of ready to eat cereals conspicuously packaged without a box.

“The box is pointless packaging. If you open up a box of cereal, it has a bag inside. So why create all those boxes in the first place,” explained Fischer.

And that’s precisely why Malt-O-Meal launched their green initiative “Bag the Box” campaign.

“Three-hundred-seventy-five million tons of paper board are used every year to make cereal boxes. And then they just get thrown away or recycled,” Fischer said.

Malt-O-Meal doesn’t spend much money on traditional advertising, so this kind of green campaign is their way of helping the planet while calling out their competitors.

Selling more 900 million pounds of cereal a year in bags adds up to one billion fewer boxes a year to create, ship and ultimately dispose of. And going bag-free has another advantage: the view.

Fischer pointed out the little window in the bag, “You can see all the almonds and granola and everything that is in that product and decide for yourself if you want to buy that.”

To compliment their Bag the Box campaign, Malt-O-Meal is running a web contest for students to show how their classroom is the “greenest.” The winner will receive $2,500 for their school.

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