How cheese puffs were accidentally created in an animal feed factory

The popular yellow snacks have an unexpected past... 

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 22 November 2016 13:16 GMT

For all of their flaws - from their luminous orange appearance to their odd synthetic flavour – cheese puffs are among the most popular snacks in the world.

Although it is hard to imagine a time before cheese puffs, that world did in fact exist. And the bizarre story of how they were made makes them even more intriguing. Cheese puffs are the by-product of animal feed.

The brightly coloured snacks were created by animal food manufacturer Flakall Corporation in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1935.

To make the feed, a grinder was used to flake corn. In order to clean the machinery, staff fed moist corn into the grinder. This process, to the surprise of workers at the plant, produced airy blobs of corn. And so, the first corn puffs were born.

Edward Wilson, an employee, saw potential in the little puffs and took some home to season and see if they could be eaten by humans. The result were Korn Kurls, according to Atlas Obscura.

The product was such a success that Flakall broadened its line of products to include snacks for humans and animals – changing its name to Adams Corporation to distance itself from its farm feed past.

Other firms also stake a claim in the invention of the cheese puff – including the producers of Chee Wees who developed similar snacks in the early twentieth century.

But the game changed in 1948 when Cheetos were produced, and have since become the most popular brand of cheese curl in the US.

Cheese puffs have since spread across the world - from Wotsits in the UK, Pofak in Iran and Twisties in Australia.

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