Why Are Grape-Nuts Neither Grapes Nor Nuts?
Post Company founder Charles W. Post might have been good at creating popular cereals, but he wasn't the best at naming them.
One of his first breakfast treats, Post Toasties, was originally known by the more, er, zealous name, Elijah's Manna.
And then there's the misleading Grape-Nuts®, which Charles named after a key ingredient in the cereal called maltose, which tasted like nuts and, at the time, was known as "grape sugar." Hence, Grape-Nuts.
It may sound like false advertising, but it's not. According to The Straight Dope, Post would likely be protected from such allegations by that precious little hyphen. The Federal Trade Commission might consider a cereal called Grape Nuts "deceitful," but that hyphen makes the name "fanciful," which excludes it from prosecution according to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
Inspired by amateur comedians and a 1992 Saturday Night Live sketch, this Big Question originally appeared in a 2004 issue of mental_floss magazine.