Redefining Healthy Snacking: Case Studies in Growth and Innovation

Healthy snacking is at the dawn of a new era of opportunity. Consumers are more willing than ever to experiment with flavours, ingredients, product formats and textures.

This report delivers practical insights and examples for companies large or small aiming to create a successful healthier snacking proposition.

It sets out the five success factors of healthy snacking strategy and uses 20 Case Studies to map out in detail the product developments and strategies that companies are using to succeed in snacking.

    Read more
Recent Case Studies Growth spurt ahead for plant protein? The acquisition of Vega by the owner of the Alpro and Silk brands is a sign of how vegetable proteins are becoming more established in the strategies of many ambitious companies as a high-growth, high-margin business that they believe has the potential to grow much further and faster. read more Protein innovation or a case of the emperor’s new clothes? It’s certainly possible for a company spawned in Silicon Valley to achieve the same kind of success in the better-for-you food business that its startups achieve in the personal-technology industry. read more Pharma: a competitive advantage in functional foods and beverages? Has a consultant told you that food and pharma are converging? That pharma companies have a competitive advantage in healthier foods? That close collaboration between food and pharma is the way ahead? You would be wise to take any such advice with a large pinch of salt. For the evidence is that food companies not only don’t need pharma companies, pharma companies don’t know how to succeed in the world of food and drink. read more Seaweed in Europe: from hippy to mainstream? For most Europeans, seaweed still belongs on a beach, not on a plate. But as Paul Gander discovers, that could all change very soon as a new breed of entrepreneur prises open markets in Europe for dried and fresh seaweed ingredients, healthy foods proclaiming their seaweed content, and seaveg snacks. read more New challenges for coconut water Coconut water is one of the biggest success stories of the better-for-you era in US foods and beverages. But now that the all-natural hydration drink has moved into the American beverage mainstream, coconut-water marketers face new challenges in extending their momentum and staving off the day when the category makes a transition from vibrant and expanding to mature and slow-growing. read more
Food giant shows it can deliver a game-changer

Food giant shows it can deliver a game-changer

It’s become fashionable among some people to say that the established food companies are too big and too slow to respond to changing trends and that the future lies with nimble start-ups.

General Mills – one of the world’s biggest food companies – is showing that in fact big companies can not only respond, they can do so in a way that potentially redefines a market.

General Mills owns Cheerios, America’s biggest breakfast cereal brand. Cheerios several years ago found itself – in common with many mass-market cereal brands – increasingly left behind by the evolution of the Key Trends, specifically:

  1. the rising consumer interest in “good carbs and bad carbs”
  2. the snackification of breakfast – which has lead to unexpected developments such as the sudden and disruptive success of Belvita
  3. more and more people self-diagnosing that gluten-free is better for their health

From its peak in 2011, when it had $1.25 billion (€1.13 billion) in sales, Cheerios has seen sales fall every year, and in the 52 weeks to June 2015 they were down to $1 billion, according to IRI supermarket scanning data.

General Mills has done many things to slow the decline of Cheerios, some of which – such as the launch of a high protein variant – have been effective. Others, such as going GMO-free, have had no positive effect on sales.

But now General Mills is changing the rules of the game. In 2015 America’s biggest breakfast cereal brand is going gluten-free. From July 2015 five gluten-free variants of Cheerios went onto supermarket shelves in America. They include Original and Honey Nut, two of the best-sellers.

With Cheerios holding an 11% share of the US breakfast cereal market, it’s a game changer.

Admittedly it’s easier for Cheerios many other brands – Cheerios have always been made entirely with oats, which are naturally gluten-free. But problems with the supply chain meant that General Mills couldn’t guarantee that products would be free of wheat, barley or rye. Simply by cleaning up the supply chain, General Mills is able to re-position its biggest brand and bring it back in line with the most powerful consumer trends.

The game-changer is that gluten-free in one move goes free from being a distinct positioning and point of difference for lots of small brands to almost a category standard.

While some consumers will still hunt out small brands, the fact is that many more will respond to the marketing power and the re-assurance of well-known brand – a brand whose identity is even more re-assuring now that it’s free-from the “bad ingredient” called gluten and the “naturally healthy” benefits of oats are easier to see and enjoy.

Increasingly often, in many categories, companies will take the same road as Cheerio, taking existing products and reinventing them as gluten-free (or whatever it is consumers want).

The repositioning of Cheerios is a reminder that it’s not just starts-ups that can change markets – when big food companies embrace new consumer trends they can take steps that redefine a market.

It’s a company’s culture that determines whether it can embrace change. But with increasing pressure from changing markets and the example of General Mills before them, many more large companies will be changing their culture so that they can better compete.

Start-ups can drive change in food and beverage markets, and have done so for a decade now. But don’t assume that they are holding all the best cards.

Read more on the blog

Julian Mellentin

Industry Events
In-depth analysis of trends and excellent insights. The case studies provide solid market data and I refer to them often and in particular when starting new initiatives. Mary Parsons VP Global Platform Development, The Hershey Company

Latest Editions

New Nutrition Business
Kids Nutrition Report
NNB JULY 2015 Issue 1 2015

Bestselling Reports

10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2015

Read more

The Snackification of Breakfast

Read more

Failures in Functional Foods and Beverages

Read more

Latest Edition of NNB

The Latest edition edition is currently available online

close this frame

Latest Edition of Kids Nutrition Report

Issue 1 2015 is currently available online

Visit the Kids Nutrition Report website

I regard NNB as a reliable, unbiased source of information. Also it is one of the very few publications which try to analyze and understand markets, not only report what has happened. Kalle Leporanta Valio Ltd