General Mills Focuses on Building Out Healthy Snacks and Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2013 02:19 PM

Having scored a big hit with its Nature Valley Protein Bars last year, General Mills has gone searching for bigger shares of the better-for-you snack business. And it's enlisting some of its best-known brands, from Fiber One to Green Giant, in the hunt.

The Minneapolis-based CPG giant has done about all it can to overhaul its mainstay ready-to-eat cereal business in a more nutritious manner, including shifting nearly the entire portfolio to whole grains. But that category remains sluggish. Meanwhile, the company's Yoplait brand was caught flat-footed by the Greek-style yogurt craze and is still trying to catch up.

Focusing on its snack brands and on extending other brands into the snacking arena has become crucial for growth for General Mills. Snacks have been its strongest business for the last five years, with average annual sales growth topping 8 percent a year during that time.Continue reading...


Greek-Style Yogurt Tastes Great—But Not if You're a Fish [UPDATED]

Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2013 05:46 PM

This post has been updated with statements from Chobani and Dannon USA, both of whom are faced with disposing growing amounts of acid whey.

Greek yogurt continues to claim practically every new American yogurt eater in sight, but a fly has emerged in the ointment—or, more rather, a toxin in the culture. An article in Modern Farmer magazine about the production of "acid whey" in the making of Greek-style yogurt has been getting a lot of attention because of the potential implications of the problem.

First, the good news for Greek-style yogurt: It continues to burgeon, serving as the growth engine for what had become a relatively stagnant US yogurt business. Since occupying nearly nothing of the yogurt market six years ago, Greek-style yogurts have grown to 35 percent of the U.S yogurt trade, fueled by the success of the upstart brand Chobani as well as counter-forays by Dannon, Yoplait and others. American consumers have come to crave the substantial mouthfeel and satiety aspects of Greek-style yogurt as well as its tangy taste, compared with standard yogurt fare.

For New York state, the Greek-style bonanza has been huge because of the expansion of yogurt production by Chobani and Fage upstate in dairy country, giving New York a total of 29 yogurt plants. Dubbed the "Silicon Valley of Yogurt," New York now surpasses California in yogurt production by more than 100 million pounds.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Sprint, ConAgra, Nike and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 15, 2013 09:03 AM

In the News

Charlie Ergen's Dish Network offers to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion in a bid to one up SoftBank.

ConAgra, Heinz and Nestle lead frozen food battle to reverse negative image.

Nike seeks to regain its edge with fewer ads following Tiger Woods stumble.

Dannon uses Greek-style to leapfrog Yoplait to top of U.S. yogurt business.

Apple clearly enters post-Jobs era.

Justin Bieber sparks controversy with Anne Frank comment.

Boeing sees new inspection order on its 737s.Continue reading...

chew on this

General Mills 2013 Mantra: Improve Yourself Through Better Snacking

Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2012 03:01 PM

If innovation is the lifeblood of business, then General Mills will be pumping hard in the new year. The CPG giant released news about more than 100 new products that it will launch in its U.S. retail portfolio alone during its fiscal 2013.

General Mills would like to generate between 4 percent and 5 percent of its sales from new products "and we think we will be very much in that range," CEO Ken Powell told Wall Street analysts during a conference call this week, according to Ad Age. "We want to make sure that we are launching products that are bringing new consumers into [their brand] franchise, and we have steadily improved that number."

The new products range from new varieties of Fiber One products to a Snickerdoodles flavor of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies. And if there are some underlying themes to the whole list, they would be peanut butter and chocolate, along with fiber and protein, according to a General Mills blog post detailing the roster of new products.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: NFL, Tempur-Pedic, American Greetings and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2012 09:06 AM

In the News

NFL settlement with referees clears the way for marketers.

Tempur-Pedic goes to the mattresses to buy Sealy for $228.6 million.

American Greetings hears buyout offer from founding family and CEO.

Amazon rejects false advertising claim in Apple app store suit.

Apple-Google maps talks failed on voice navigation.

BAE proposed merger with Airbus parent EADS hits snag in Germany.

Bayer partners with feline vets.

BlackBerry 10 will determine RIM's fate as company courts app developers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AIG, BK, Chick-fil-A and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2012 09:00 AM

In the News

AIG pushes plan for independence from U.S. government.

Burger King says that menu and marketing changes have boosted bottom lilne.

Campbell Soup creates limited edition to help food bank.

Chick-fil-A supporters (and Wendy'sshow up for "Appreciation Day."

Christina Aguillera lends her voice to a good cause.

Costco experiences strong U.S. sales.

Crocs celebrates milestone a little too exuberantly.

DirecTV sees U.S. subscribers decline for first time.Continue reading...

chew on this

Life, Liberte and the Pursuit of US Greek-Yogurt Market Share

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2012 05:05 PM

Just because Chobani has opened up a huge lead in the Greek-style category it invented — and that is reshaping the U.S. yogurt business — doesn't mean that others can't try to chip away. Dannon has grabbed a significant share after sensing the opportunity with Chobani's rapid rise.

Other players, big and small, also are attempting to make more noise and get their stakes of a Greek-style market that has been calculated at about $1.5 billion a year now and still growing by strong double-digits — even coming up in discussions of Greece's Eurozone crisis. Yoplait, Hain Celestial and the Pinkberry chain are among the brands that are making their own plays. Ben & Jerry's just revamped its frozen yogurt line to make Greek Yogurt the basis of the line. Fage and Chobani have a friend in U.S. senator Chuck Schumer.

The most closely watched Greek yogurt brand is Yoplait. The General Mills line, which has shared the top of the U.S. yogurt market with Dannon for many years, got a particularly late start in the Greek segment. But now it's launching 40 new yogurt products, and Greek yogurt will be the centerpiece of that rollout this summer.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chobani Doubling Down To Extend Greek-Yogurt Dominance

Posted by Dale Buss on June 21, 2012 10:01 AM

Chobani made Greek-style yogurt part of the American food mainstream, and now the brand is trying to stay on top against catch-up efforts by every other major yogurt brand in the land.

Dannon, with its Oikos brand, has managed to join the startup Chobani brand on the top tier of the only category of yogurt consumption that is growing in the U.S. market these days. But the original Greek-yogurt brand in America, Fage, and Yoplait, which also is trying to play catch-up, are fading in their efforts to ride the boom that Chobani created.

Chobani already has become about a $1-billion concern over the past few years and owns nearly 50 percent of the category, according to a recent report by the Sanford Bernstein securities firm. Even after a furious catch-up effort, Dannon USA still has a less-than-20 percent share, and Fage 14 percent, while General Mills' Yoplait brand limps in with just 6 percent.

"We're dealing with some large organizations that aren't as nimble as Chobani," Niel Sandfort, director of marketing for Chobani, told brandchannel. "We're a billion-dollar company but still entrepreneurial. And we're continually investing in our core."Continue reading...

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