General Mills on Tuesday unveiled the products it will roll out during the first half of the year as it tries to jump-start sales.
Snacking, protein, simpler ingredients and good fats are key themes in the new products, which span the broad range of General Mills brands and amount to about dozens of products in all.
The company, which announces new products twice a year, this time is adding a new flavor of Cheerios, its top-selling cereal brand, and bringing back custard products to Yoplait yogurt.
Among major competitors, the Golden Valley-based food giant is a leader in transitioning its products to cleaner labels with more nutrient-dense formulations.
But over the past two years, General Mills has seen its sales decline at a faster rate than in the past, a reflection of changing consumer habits.
Nearly all the new products seek to address one or more of the changes. But a few — like Super Sour Fruit Gushers — are a taste innovation. Here is a sampling:
Very Berry Cheerios
A new Cheerios flavor made with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This new Cheerios variety stays true to the company’s commitment of eliminating artificial colors and flavors, is gluten free and is not made with high fructose corn syrup.
The return of this product, which was retired 10 years ago, has a thicker consistency than traditional yogurt and is made with whole milk. It is geared toward consumers who are averse to “low fat” marketing, which has fallen out of favor in recent years.
“Controlling weight used to be about counting calories, now it’s about calories that count,” said Jeanine Bassett, the company’s vice president of global consumer insights, in a statement. “Today it’s more about satiety, which is why you see increased interest in protein.”
Liberté Yogurt flavors
General Mills has been losing U.S. market share in yogurt for years to companies like Chobani or smaller, regional players. Investors have emphasized the importance of the company’s yogurt turnaround and its high-end Liberté yogurt line is a part of that.
The company has already transitioned it to USDA-certified organic, but revealed a new flavor Tuesday: Nicaraguan Coffee Bean made with organic, direct trade coffee from Chicago’s famed Intelligentsia.
Larabar Fruits and Greens
This is the first time the beloved Larabar snack brand has branched beyond fruits and nuts to include vegetables in its ingredients roster. Each bar contains about one-fourth cup of kale or spinach, in addition to its typical fruits and nuts.
The snack bar line, which started as a small independent company in Colorado before being bought by General Mills, is geared toward shoppers who want to recognize every word on a product’s ingredient list.
Nature Valley Granola Cups
These snack cups resemble a mashup of a peanut butter cup, granola bar and cookie.
“Fruit and Flowers” Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream
These premium products are for China only, but highlight the company’s intent on growing its Häagen-Dazs brand in the world’s most populous country.
The new flavors include a combination of rose, raspberry and litchi and one of elderflower and black currant.
Annie’s Organic Popcorn
Expect consistent new products from General Mills’ Annie’s Homegrown, one of its fastest-growing businesses. Pre-popped and packaged popcorn is a trendy snack option.