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Fiber may give cereal healthy boost

BY DSN STAFF

Faced with slow growth and nearly total household penetration, cereal manufacturers face a big challenge in finding new ways to appeal to consumers. They may have found a hit with products positioned for good digestive health.

It sure isn’t a sexy angle, but as more Americans reach their senior years, they are likely to be thinking more seriously about gastrointestinal issues and the importance of fiber and whole grains in their diet.

“Fiber has been hot for a year or so,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel, a market research firm in Chicago. “In a recent study we did on cereal, 58 percent of respondents said that fiber is important to them in a cereal, and two-thirds said whole grains are important.”

Mintel research indicated that “health halos,” such as cholesterol reduction, heart health and intestinal health, drive the adult cereal market. By boosting fiber content or adding whole grains, products are hitting a new hot spot with consumers.

“Consumers are looking at food in a new way, and they are more interested in products that offer an ‘added’ benefit. Foods that are ‘full’ of something have a psychological advantage over those that are ‘free’ of something,” Mogelonsky said. “It’s a proactive, positive spin that doesn’t make consumers think they are depriving themselves of something.”

Manufacturers of mass cereal brands have gotten the message. General Mills has made “improving the nutritional profile” of its products a priority by adding “ingredients such as fiber, whole grain and calcium.”

The company was one of the first big cereal manufacturers to add whole grains to its cereals—all of the company’s Big G cereals contain whole grains. GM’s Fiber One cereal franchise grew 15 percent in 2007, according to the company, partly due to the introduction of Fiber One Raisin Bran Clusters. GM recently launched Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch with Five Whole Grains, Fiber One Caramel Delight Cereal and Strawberry Chex.

“We are delivering on what consumers are looking for by bringing great taste, as well as the benefits of fiber together in a convenient and satisfying way,” said associate marketing manager Dan Stangler.

Kellogg, in an attempt to help Americans “knock down the barriers…to consuming enough fiber,” recently introduced the All-Bran 10-Day Challenge to eating more fiber—a goal Kellogg claims is as easy as consuming All-Bran for 10 days.

According to Kellogg, the recommended amount of daily fiber for women is 25 grams and 38 grams for men, but most people don’t get enough fiber. Fiber supplements are one way to close the gap, but experts say it’s preferable to get fiber from food sources as opposed to supplements.

Along with the challenge, Kellogg introduced All-Bran Strawberry Medley Cereal, which features clusters of granola and real strawberries, and provides 40 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber for women.

Kellogg also has added whole grains to its Pop-Tarts Toaster pastries line with PopTarts Toaster Pastries with One Serving of Whole Grain, available in strawberry and brown sugar cinnamon.

Kraft recently added two new cereals to its Post brand, LiveActive Mixed Berry Crunch and LiveActive Nut Harvest. Adding the LiveActive banner to the products places them in Kraft’s digestive health line, which Kraft is focusing heavily on. The cereals are billed as being an excellent source of fiber and whole grains, while providing “great tastes missing from other high-fiber cereals.”

Improving the taste of high-fiber foods is a key issue. Mintel research revealed that taste remains the most important attribute consumers look for in a cereal.

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Coca-Cola continues efforts in being environmentally friendly

BY Diana Alickaj

SAN FRANCISCO Eaton Corp. announced that Coca-Cola Enterprises will order new hybrid trucks, making it the largest North American commercial order for the hybrid systems. Based on this information, Eaton shares rose 9 cents to $84.01.

Coca-Cola will be purchasing 120 new trucks in 2008. According to published reports, the trucks are powered by Eaton’s hybrid electric drivetrain systems. It has also been recorded by Coca-Cola that the trucks decrease emissions by 32 percent and fuel consumption by 37 percent compared to the conventional trucks Coca-Cola are using today. This is a big effort for the company in following the trend to conserve energy and limit pollution.

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Purple Beverage Co. announces “Mix It Up” bartender contest

BY Jim Wright

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Purple Beverage Co. is inviting professional and amateur bartenders nationwide to submit their best Purple-based cocktails for a chance to win a free weekend for two on Miami’s fabulous South Beach.

Purple is a unique blend of seven antioxidant-rich juices, including the exotic acai berry, black cherry, pomegranate, black currant, purple plum, cranberry and blueberry. Because adding alcohol to antioxidant-rich berries increases their antioxidant power—a fact confirmed by researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture and by a study at Kasetsart University in Thailand—Purple is destined to become one of the hottest cocktail trends in nightclubs and lounges.

The Palm Restaurant on the City’s West Side has been mixing the Palm Purple Martini for customers since August of last year. Purple blends especially well to make a great-tasting berry-flavored martini, according to the company.

“The ‘Mix It Up’ contest will allow bartenders nationwide to have fun and become a part of a hot new trend by creating their own antioxidant-rich, Purple-based cocktails,” said Purple Beverage Co. chief executive officer Ted Farnsworth. “We have already heard about bars in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia coming up with their own signature cocktails featuring Purple and we are excited to see the unique creations that bartenders across the country will concoct.”

Bartenders are invited to submit their original cocktail recipes for an array of Purple-themed cocktails in various categories: “Purple Summer,” for tropical-themed thirst quenchers; “Purple Elegance,” for martini-style or high-end cocktails; and “Purple Breeze,” for non-alcoholic Purple concoctions.

The contest will run through May 31, 2008. The drinks will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges; the cocktail maker who receives the highest score will win a weekend for two at the famous Delano Hotel on Miami’s beautiful South Beach plus a weekend full of activities and entertainment, including dinner for two at renowned Nobu Restaurant and a night on the town at the well-known hotspot, Mansion.

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