The Co-Creator Of The Pop-Tart Has Died At The Age Of 96

Several generations of afterschool snackers are mourning the death of William "Bill" Post, who co-created Pop-Tarts. He died on February 10, 2024, at 96, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after revolutionizing the snacking industry with a pastry that became a pop-culture icon.

Post's story is the quintessential "American Dream." He was the son of Dutch immigrants, and at 16, he began working part-time at Hekman Biscuit Company (which later became Keebler), washing trucks. After he graduated high school, he served in the Army Air Corps and attended a few years of college before he returned to the company full-time, working his way up the ladder. According to an interview on Kellanova, Post was approached by Kellogg's executives in 1963 with "a piece of pie, the shape of a slice of bread, fork marks around the edge, two pieces of dough with some filling in" that they wanted to go into the toaster. They called this new idea a "Fruit Scone." 

Post experimented with the 'toast and jam' concept, adding icing to the prototypes, which skeptics said would burn in the toaster. His creation, Pop-Tarts, was an instant success. At 56, Post retired from Keebler as a senior vice president but consulted for the company for another 20 years.

Although Post is credited with "inventing" Pop-Tarts, his obituary states, "To be accurate, however, Bill would say, 'I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg's concept of a shelf-stable toaster pastry into a fine product that we could bring to market in the span of just four months.'"

The rise of Pop-Tarts

The original Pop-Tarts were created in four flavors: strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and apple-currant. After 60 years, the toaster pastry has been filled with 100 flavors that, according to its tagline, are "crazy good." Seven million Pop-Tarts are manufactured daily, generating $1 billion annually for Kellanova, who now makes the snack. New Pop-Tart flavors include Frosted Apple Cinnamon Apple Jacks, Frosted Chocolatey Chip Pancake, and Frosted Cinnamon Roll Pop-Tarts Bites, a bite-sized version of the OG. 

The iconic brand continues to embed itself in pop culture history, sponsoring college football's Pop-Tarts Bowl, which featured the winning team eating the strawberry-flavored Pop-Tart mascot. Participants at the Adult Swim Festival on the Green at Comic-Con International 2023 enjoyed the toile-covered Pop-Tarts-themed "Toasting Room." The iconic breakfast pastry is also the subject of a new biopic scheduled to release in May 2024, "Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story," starring Christian Slater, Melissa McCarthy, James Marsden, and Jerry Seinfeld, who also directed the film. 

While keeping a blue box of your favorite flavor in the pantry is understandable, you can make homemade lemon curd Pop-Tarts with three ingredients: a package of frozen puff pastry, lemon curd, and an egg. If you forgot to defrost the puff pastry in time, use store-bought refrigerated pie crust. The pastry won't be as buttery but will still have the flaky texture you want. The filling can also be swapped for any jam, preserve, or spread.