General Mills is following consumer driven food trends with its line-up of products launching this summer around the world. Many of the new products closely align with increasing consumer interest in wellness, convenience, and snacking including new Yoplait Greek 2% Whips!, Nature Valley Nut & Seed Crunchy Granola Bars, Annie's organic cereal, Old El Paso Mini Taco Boats, Totino's Pizza Sticks and Häägen-Dazs Stick Bars.
"We're in a period of very rapid change in the food industry. And consumers are very clear about what they want – simple ingredient lists, free from artificial colors and flavors, free from gluten, less sugar, less sodium, more convenience. This translates into very a clear set of growth opportunities for us," said Ken Powell, General Mills Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We've challenged ourselves to go out and really understand our consumers, get into their homes, shop alongside them and listen to what they want. These interactions allow us to build greater intuition, which helps us move much faster. Our new product line up demonstrates our ability to listen and respond."
To keep pace with the changing needs of consumers and to deliver new products to market faster than before, General Mills has disrupted its approach to innovation.
"In order to support the growth we've planned, we have moved toward a more entrepreneurial approach to new product development, which not only speeds innovation, but helps us put our consumers first and deliver exciting, relevant new products that meet consumer needs and drive topline growth," said Peter Erickson, executive vice president of Innovation, Technology and Quality.
One of the ways the company is doing this is through "lemonade stands," where product development teams go into business for a day with a product concept, setting up a table to interact with people – whether at a cooking school, a farmers market, a fitness center or even a traditional grocery store. Lemonade stands allow teams to more quickly test new product ideas with consumers and capture learnings earlier in the new product development process.
In many cases the company's new development processes have increased speed to market from about 24 months to less than 12 months.
Consumers today want products that can help them on their wellness journey and seek out foods with simple ingredients, and harder working calories. They also want more protein, fiber and whole grains, products free from gluten and without artificial flavors or colors. And there is increasing interest in natural and organic foods. Wellness is among the top consumer trends General Mills is addressing this summer with products including:
- Yoplait Greek 2% Whips! - Yoplait's Greek 2% Whips! are made with 2% milkfat for a thicker, richer and extra creamy texture. Available in four family-pleasing flavors: Vanilla Cream, Coconut Cream, Strawberries 'n Cream and Cherries 'n Cream.
- Yoplait Petits Filous - Squeezable, smooth, on-the-go yogurt pouches made with 100% naturally sourced ingredients, gluten free, no artificial colors or sweeteners, no added preservatives and no fruit bits. Available in five flavors: Raspberry, Strawberry, Apricot, Banana and Vanilla. *Available in Europe. Nature Valley Nut & Seed Crunchy Granola Bars – Simply made with the inherent goodness of whole nuts, seeds, honey, tapioca syrup and sea salt, these naturally gluten-free bars come in two varieties: Almond, Cashew & Sea Salt, and Roasted Peanut & Honey.
- Nature Valley Chocolate Oat Bites – Chocolate Oat Bites are baked cereal squares with chocolate chunks and a light, sweet drizzle. With 10 grams of protein with milk and nearly 50% of the daily value of whole grains, each bite is a hearty crunch to help you power your day.
- Good Natured Soups by Progresso – This new line of delicious, hearty and flavorful vegetable soups are non-GMO, vegan and contain no preservatives from artificial sources. Available in Hearty Corn & Chipotle Chowder, Hearty Tomato with Spinach & Roasted Garlic, and Hearty Lentil with Garden Vegetables.
The food industry is experiencing a shift as the boundaries between meals and snacks are quickly fading. Snacks are no longer only eaten between meal-times; rather many consumers are eating traditional snack foods alongside a meal or as a meal replacement. And while consumers are adopting healthier lifestyles, they are still juggling busy schedules that often cut into meal preparation time. General Mills has a long history of helping consumers solve the meal-time dilemma with convenient and tasty solutions. Some of the newest include:
- Old El Paso Mini Taco Boat Party Pack – Taco night can now be a party! Ole! Mini size taco boats are perfect for apps and entertaining and perfect for the younger crowd. The party pack will be launched in the US, while the original Mini Tacos will be expanded to Europe.
- Totino's Pizza Sticks – 60 seconds is all you need to cook up new Totino's Pizza Sticks. Imagine a pizza rolled up and individually wrapped for mess-free microwave prep. These sticks are bigger than a pizza roll, so they're perfect for an on-the-go snack. Available in Pepperoni and Cheese varieties.
- Parampara Dinner Kits – In Europe, consumers can enjoy restaurant quality Indian-inspired dishes at home with this new line of dinner kits in three distinctive flavors: Butter Chicken, Chicken Shahi Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala. The kits include spices, Basmati rice and chutney, so all you have to add is chicken and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.
- Good Table Freezer to Plate – This innovative new meal kit lets consumers use frozen chicken to make well-rounded, flavorful meals in a pinch. Available in Teriyaki, Lemon Garlic Herb, Southwestern and Marsala flavors.
Snacks that used to be considered special treats are becoming a bigger part of consumers' meals and traditional snacks are becoming more nutritious. Consumers are looking for harder working ingredients in their snacks, which means more nuts, fruits and seeds. The combination of these trends reveals that consumers are experiencing a "permission to indulge" on a more regular basis.
General Mills is introducing a whole host of snacks ranging from indulgent all the way to better-for-you to meet consumer's cravings regardless of the time of day or occasion, including:
- LÄRABAR™ Bites - Delicious truffle-like bites made from real food to satisfy your sweet craving! All four indulgent flavors are made from just 5-6 simple ingredients and are gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy free, Kosher and made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients. Available in Chocolate Macaroon, Mint Chocolate Truffle, Double Chocolate Brownie and Cherry Chocolate Chip flavors.
- Häägen-Dazs Stick Bars – Häägen-Dazs stick bars are launching beyond France into a number of markets including the UK, Spain, Belgium, and Italy among others. Two new flavors have been added: White & Almond and Strawberries & Cream.
- Annie's Refrigerated Dough - Sweet organic treats including Cinnamon Rolls, Crescent Rolls, Flaky Biscuits, Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Vanilla Sugar Cookies all made with the goodness of Annie's ingredient promise. Products are made with unbleached flour and without artificial flavors, synthetic colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup, so families can enjoy their favorites at home without compromising great taste for quality ingredients.
- Yoki Popcorn – Yoki snackers in Brazil will have three new ready-to-eat popcorn flavors to experience including cheddar, bacon and butter. Some are first-to-market savory popcorn flavors and give consumers something more exciting than their traditional popcorn snacks.
General Mills is launching products that appeal to younger consumers and discerning tweens and teens alike that prefer differentiated products created just for them. With the introduction of Yoplait Go BIG yogurt, Nature Valley Backpacker, Yoplait Yop and Tiny Toast, the bases are covered for the whole family.
Most notable new products to hit store shelves this summer will include:
- Yoplait Go Big – Yoplait Go Big in a grip-and-rip package lets tweens and teens single-handedly crush yogurt. Go Big yogurt, in a 4-ounce wider tube, is enough to satisfy older kids' bigger appetites. Flavors include Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Peach Mango and Cherry.
- Nature Valley Backpacker - Poppable oatmeal bites that are ideal for grab-and-go. Perfect for snacking and meal time, these chewy bites bring together fun flavor and wholesome ingredients. Available in two mouth-watering flavors: Chocolate Chip and S'mores.
- Tiny Toast – The first new General Mills cereal brand in 15 years! Miniature toast shaped cereal flavored with real fruit in Strawberry and Blueberry flavors. Tiny Toast contains just 9 grams of sugar per serving with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
- Yoplait Yop – In Canada, teens can enjoy Yoplait Yop drinkable yogurt now in an indulgent Chocolate variety.
- Pillsbury Hot Breakfasts – General Mills popular line of Pillsbury products are now available with no artificial flavors and no colors from artificial sources for school menus.