General Mills Rolling Out 200 New Products (Slideshow)

Pipeline reflects snacking, breakfast, quality indulgence, gluten-free trends

Published in Convenience Store Products

By  Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products

MINNEAPOLIS -- General Mills this week revealed a portfolio of new products 200 strong, unveiling items such as Nature Valley Greek Yogurt Protein bars, a shelf-stable breakfast shake and Betty Crocker Caramel Brownies. The brownies will be available exclusively at U.S. convenience stores.

"Product innovation is the fuel that creates category growth," said Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills, during its annual Investor Day meeting at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

"We have a robust new product plan, with more than 200 new items being introduced worldwide in the first half of the year alone."

New products already in the marketplace include Vanilla Chex cereal and Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares.

On the c-store side, Kelly Fulford, General Mills' senior category development manager, told CSP that "innovative and incremental new products" for salty, grain and sweet are a priority for the channel. "We will be introducing a combination of c-store specific innovation and select retail innovation where we are able to draft off of the strong promotional support," she said.

"One product example that was highlighted in the global news release is the Nature Valley Greek Yogurt Protein bar, which we plan on introducing in the fall," she continued. "This should be a perfect addition to the c-store channel where Nature Valley continues to be a leading brand that resonates with consumers combined with the emerging trend of Greek yogurt."   

Overall, the company has targeted a few key consumer demands as it’s developed its product pipeline, including snacking, indulgence with high-quality ingredients and gluten-free options.

Mini Meals to Maintain Energy
In the first half of fiscal 2014, General Mills will launch a number of convenient snack items that deliver protein or fiber, including:

  • Nature Valley Protein Granola cereal
  • Nature Valley Greek Yogurt Protein bars
  • Fiber One Protein Peanut Butter bars
  • Fiber One 90 Calorie Lemon Bars and Fiber One 90 Calorie Cinnamon Coffee Cake bars
  • New Yoplait Greek yogurt and Yoplait Greek 100 multipacks
  • Go-Gurt Protein
  • LARABAR ALT bars

Convenient Meals with Premium, Exotic or Global Flavors
On average, U.S. consumers devote less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook the evening meal, according to the company, and convenience is second only to taste when deciding what to make for dinner. Among General Mills’ new convenient meal options in the U.S. are: 

  • Ultimate Helper premium dinner kits
  • Old El Paso Mexican Cooking Sauces, Old El Paso Frozen Entrees and Old El Paso Stand 'N Stuff Soft Flour Tortillas
  • Progresso Heart Healthy soups

Indulgence with High-Quality Ingredients
This summer General Mills will introduce a number of products for consumers looking for chocolate indulgence, including:

  • Betty Crocker cookie mixes, cupcake mixes and frosting made with Hershey's, Reese's and Almond Joy
  • Betty Crocker Caramel Brownie, available exclusively at convenience stores in the U.S.

Gluten Free
Today, General Mills offers more than 300 products for the increasing number of consumers seeking to live gluten-free. New gluten-free products launching in the U.S. this summer include:

  • Betty Crocker Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix and Gluten Free All-Purpose Rice Flour Blend
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Gluten Free Pie and Pastry Dough and Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • LARABAR uber bars in Baklava, Sticky Bun and Coconut Macaroon flavors

On-the-Go-Breakfast
While ready-to-eat cereal remains the most popular at-home breakfast choice in the U.S., General Mills sees emerging opportunities with on-the-go consumers. The following products reflect those demands:

  • Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares
  • Pillsbury Heat-N-Go Mini Pancakes and Pillsbury Heat-N-Go Mini Waffles
  • BFAST, a shelf-stable, drinkable breakfast shake  

Other significant new product launches for the company's U.S. Retail business in the first half of the fiscal year include:

  • Totino's BOLD Rolls in Jalapeno Popper and Buffalo Chicken styles
  • Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme cereal
  • Green Giant Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips in Garden Ranch and Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips in Barbecue
  • Mott's Strawberry Apple Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn and Yellow Corn Dipping Chips  

This lineup builds on a strong year of new product innovation in fiscal 2013, according to the company, including Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt, Fiber One Protein bars and Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch cereal.  New General Mills items launched in the company's U.S. Retail division in the last 12 months contributed 5% of the U.S. Retail division's net sales in fiscal 2013.

General Mills is one of the world's leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, General Mills had fiscal 2013 worldwide sales of $17.8 billion.

By Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products
View More Articles By Abbie Westra