Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why General Mills Just Released Its First New Cereal in 15 Years

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why General Mills Just Released Its First New Cereal in 15 Years

Article excerpt

General Mills has big expectations for Tiny Toast.

Tiny Toast is General Mills' first new cereal brand since 2001, when the company released the now discontinued Harmony cereal. But it has been 25 years since General Mills' introduced a cereal brand that remains on shelves today - Basic 4 was released in 1991.

"We heard from several consumers that the Blueberry Tiny Toast tastes like a blueberry muffin, which is just awesome praise," Mike Evenson, product developer in General Mills' Innovation, Technology and Quality division, says in a press release. "That's exactly what we were going for. When we heard that, we knew we were on to something good."

Euromonitor International reports a 10.7 percent decline for all types of cereal sales between 2003 and 2013. And according to market researcher Nielson, all cereal sales fell by 9 percent between 2011 and 2015 with a slight uptick this year.

"Some of my business has definitely gone to my colleague running yogurt," Jim Murphy, president of General Mills' cereals unit, tells The New York Times. To revive declining cereal sales, General Mills began marketing Cheerios and Chex as Gluten Free. "We had tried everything to move the needle: new advertising, new flavors - and then we marketed it as gluten-free, and it took off."

And General Mills has seen some financial success from revamping old recipes like that of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as well as expanding the Nature Valley and Annie's franchises. With real fruit and no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors, General Mills created Tiny Toast with young, health-conscious consumers in mind.

But both flavors of Tiny Toast contains 9 grams of sugar - the same amount as General Mills' other cereals Reese's Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams, Cookie Crisp, Frosted Cheerios, and Honey Nut Cheerios. Lucky Charms and Trix contain 10 grams of sugar and Raisin Nut Bran contains 14 grams.

Comparatively original Cheerios, one of the brand's healthier options, contains 1 gram of sugar.

"You realize that it's just a sugar delivery vehicle," Adam Feuerstein, who prefers juice to cereal for breakfast, told The New York Times in 2013. …

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