General Mills' lineup: More protein and less gluten

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2014 - 5:28 AM

Hoping to tap demand, it introduces 150 new products.

A version of Cheerios is getting an infusion of protein, as General Mills tries to capitalize on diet trends.

Hoping to capitalize on consumer preferences for gluten-free and organic foods, General Mills formally introduced 150 new products Monday, from granola with pea protein to hot and spicy iterations of Chex Mix.

New products are crucial for big packaged foodmakers like General Mills, whether they be completely new items or fresh takes on existing foods. New products in General Mills’ previous fiscal year drove nearly 5 percent of its U.S. retail sales.

With protein prominent in consumers’ minds these days, General Mills’ new lineup includes two key protein-enhanced products. Protein Cheerios, a high-protein version of the leading cereal line, hit grocery stores recently.

Under its Cascadian Farms brand, General Mills has also launched a “protein granola” made with pea protein, the first mainstream product of its kind, the company says.

Golden Valley-based General Mills also aims to continue capitalizing on the popularity of gluten-free foods.

Following up on successful gluten-free versions of Chex ready-to-eat cereal, General Mills is releasing Chex gluten-free oatmeal. Under its Larabar brand, the company is launching what it says is the first national grain-free granola, Renola. Its new brown rice crackers include gluten-free grains like sesame and flaxseeds, quinoa and amaranth, available in sea salt, roasted red pepper, and tomato and basil flavors.

Spicy foods also are part of the rollout, including Chex Mix Xtreme, a snack that comes in such flavors as Habanero Lime and Sweet & Spicy Sriracha.

Other top new products include Progresso Chili, available in Southwest Style Chicken and Smokehouse Pork and Beef; and Nature Valley “Fruteria” bars, a snack designed to appeal specifically to Hispanic consumers.

Ken Powell, General Mills chairman and chief executive, will discuss the company’s plans for growth with other company executives at an investor day event at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

 

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

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