Recipe for higher sales: Add fiber, cinnamon - WKRN News 2

Recipe for higher sales: Add fiber, cinnamon

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this July 8, 2014 file photo, General Mills Chairman & CEO Kendall Powell, second from right, joins in applause as he rings the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday opening bell, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this July 8, 2014 file photo, General Mills Chairman & CEO Kendall Powell, second from right, joins in applause as he rings the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday opening bell, July 8, 2014.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File). FILE - This March 22, 2011 file photo shows boxes of General Mills cereals in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File). FILE - This March 22, 2011 file photo shows boxes of General Mills cereals in Portland, Ore.
By CANDICE CHOI
AP Food Industry Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - General Mills hopes a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of fiber will be a recipe for stronger sales.

The Minneapolis-based company is doing things like adding more cinnamon to its Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and rolling out fiber-packed "better for you" cookies to boost the performance of its brands, which include Pillsbury dough, Betty Crocker baking mixes and Progresso soups.

General Mills executives sat down with The Associated Press this week to discuss these and other ways the company is trying to increase sales, which were essentially flat in its last fiscal year.

The company, which last month announced a cost-cutting plan that will include a review of its manufacturing plants, is working to adapt its offerings as it grapples with the changing eating habits of Americans.

The surging popularity of Greek yogurt in recent years, for instance, blindsided the company's Yoplait yogurts. And the move toward foods that people think are fresher has hurt Hamburger Helper, which last year was renamed "Helper" in a nod to people who prefer chicken.

Here are some insights executives shared with AP ahead of the company's investor day in New York City:

CONQUERING THE COOKIE AISLE

General Mills is entering the cookie aisle for the first time with a "better-for-you" cookie. Its new Fiber One cookie has 5 grams of fiber and 120 calories. A Pepperidge Farm chocolate chip cookie, by contrast, has no fiber and 140 calories.

Food makers have been adding nutritional benefits - particularly fiber and protein - to a wide variety of products to ease the guilt often associated with snacking. Fiber One, for instance, started as a cereal but has since expanded to a variety of snacks, including brownies and more recently, a blueberry streusel bar.

General Mills isn't the first to bet people want healthier cookies; Kellogg's Kashi cookies list 12 grams of whole grains and 4 grams of fiber.

REMINDING PEOPLE WHY THEY LOVE CEREAL

General Mills is adding more cinnamon to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and reformulating Trix cereal to make them taste fruitier. The tweaks will be broadcast in TV ads this summer.

"What consumers often need is a reminder to come back and try brands they've always loved," said Sean O'Grady, senior vice president of sales at General Mills.

It sounds simple, but the strategy apparently works. Last year, General Mills said it was able to boost sales of Cocoa Puffs by touting their more chocolatey taste.

Still, overall cereal sales in the U.S. have been sluggish in recent years, with people increasingly turning to alternatives like Greek yogurt and breakfast sandwiches from fast-food chains.

CEREAL IN CHINA: NOT A THING YET

Figuring out how to get the Chinese to love a bowl of cold cereal in the morning is turning out to be a difficult task.

The problem is that the typical breakfast in China is warm and savory, said Chris O'Leary, chief operating officer for General Mills' international division. As such, he said cereal in China is "not a top priority" for General Mills at the moment, but that the company still hopes to crack the market one day.

For now, O'Leary said General Mills has switched to testing in select markets in China, rather than trying to tackle the country as a whole. Without providing details, he said the company is selling a version of Cheerios in those markets.

LESS SMOKING MEANS ... A CASE OF THE MUNCHIES?

General Mills executives say convenience stores are turning to packaged foods and drinks as a way to make up for the steep declines in cigarette sales over the years.

So the company is hoping to capitalize by developing products specifically for convenience stores. In Iowa, for instance, it recently tested ready-to-eat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that come four to a package for about $2. Bethany Quam, president of the company's convenience & foodservice unit, said the idea is to make foods portable and easy to eat on the go: she noted that 60 percent of the food purchased at convenience stores gets eaten within 15 minutes in the car.

____

Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Carjacked SUV hits crowd, killing 3 young siblings

    Carjacked SUV hits crowd, killing 3 young siblings

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:13:51 GMT
    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
    Two men forced a woman into her sport utility vehicle at gunpoint and drove off but soon lost control of it and plowed into a group of people selling fruit at a street corner to raise money for their church, killing two...More >>
  • California state senator facing additional charge

    California state senator facing additional charge

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:06:51 GMT
    A California state senator charged in a sweeping organized crime and public corruption case centered in San Francisco's Chinatown was also charged Friday with racketeering.More >>
    A California state senator charged in a sweeping organized crime and public corruption case centered in San Francisco's Chinatown was also charged Friday with racketeering.More >>
  • Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:06:45 GMT
    Fast food workers say they're prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to...More >>
    Fast food workers say they're prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers will discuss the future...More >>
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

    Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:07:26 GMT
    President Barack Obama is summoning Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress...More >>
    Pressing for swift action, President Barack Obama on Friday urged Central American presidents and congressional Republicans to help ease the influx of minors and migrant families crossing the southwest border of the U.S.More >>
  • Russia: McDonald's food has 'too many calories'

    Russia: McDonald's food has 'too many calories'

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:33:37 GMT
    Russia's consumer protection agency has filed a suit against McDonald's for allegedly selling food that does not meet legal standards.More >>
    Nearly a quarter-century after McDonald's startled and delighted Soviets with their first taste of American fast-food culture, the company's now facing a suit that could ban it from selling some of its signature...More >>
  • Venezuela official seeks immunity in Aruba ruling

    Venezuela official seeks immunity in Aruba ruling

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:24:09 GMT
    A judge in Aruba is expected to rule today whether the highest-ranking Venezuelan official ever arrested on a U.S. warrant will remain in jail pending an extradition request.More >>
    A judge in Aruba was expected to rule Friday on whether the highest-ranking Venezuelan official ever arrested on a U.S. warrant will remain behind bars pending an extradition request on drug charges.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

441 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210

Telephone: 615.369.7222
Fax: 615.369.7329
Email: news@wkrn.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Nashville, LLC. A Media General Company.