Sunday, September 28, 2008

Starbucks goes cereal

Coffee chain Starbucks has been looking for a boost for its business, and may have found it: oatmeal. Recently Starbucks introduced hot oatmeal for breakfast, served with mixed nuts, dried fruit or brown sugar according to preference. According to a Reuter's report, Michelle Gass, senior vice president of marketing is quoted as saying, "It is the single highest volume (food) item in our history". It makes sense since their highest coffee sales are in the morning.

Maybe we will see more cereal offerings in the future?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flutie Flakes returning

The MetroWest Daily News recently reported that Flutie Flakes will be returning this fall, 10 years after they originally introduced across the U.S. and Canada.

For those of you that don't know, Doug Flutie was the Heisman trophy winner who later played for the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers, after a time playing in the Canadian Football League. Ten years ago he launched his own cereal (actually rebranded generic frosted flakes) with the hope of raising money for an autism foundation he founded in honor of his son who was diagnosed with the condition. Ultimately he sold 3 million boxes.

What is even more significant about Flutie Flakes is that it made successful a new type of cereal: private label sports cereals and other foods. Since then PLB Sports has launched numerous other cereals and foods featuring such athletes as Dan Marino and John Elway, and both college and professional teams.

The 10th Anniversary relaunch of Flutie Flakes is certainly worth noting.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

More than O's

How do you build on a successful brand?

Extend it.

Without question General Mills' Cheerios is one of the most successful cereal brands, and the company has recognized this. From the original toasted O's recipe, the brand now encompasses ten different varieties.

The latest is Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch, a combination of multi-grain O's and oat clusters. Crunchie clusters are popular right now (e.g. Post's Honey Bunches of Oats) so General Mills is picking up on an important trend.

I'm not into reporting on every new cereal that crops up. Many are far from exciting or being noteworthy. What captures my attention with this new variety is the way that these new extensions may be gradually straying from the original concept. Perhaps it is good marketing strategy in the short-term, but over the long-term if General Mills continues to extend Cheerios even further the brand could easily become diluted and meaningless.

How far can they go?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

High School Musical Cereal

One of my fascinations with cereal is how it has tapped into pop culture over the years. Kellogg's latest offering is a perfect example. They just released High School Musical cereal to coincide with the highly popular Disney TV film that has a strong following among a certain segment of young teens. The vanilla-flavored, star-shaped cereal looks disgusting, but the cereal is not what this all about. Currently, Kellogg seems to be doing the best job in tying into popular themes. Early this year this also released a Kung Fu Panda Crunchers cereal, and one based on the latest Indiana Jones movie.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've been gone a lot this summer (which explains the sparse blogging), and one of my trips took me to Canada. While most Canadian cereals are the same as their U.S. counterparts (except for bilingual English and French boxes), there are some unique products worth noting.

This year I was intrigued with YogActive, a German cereal that is being imported into Canada and sold by mainstream stores like Walmart. Available in nine different flavors, including mandarin orange and strawberry-dark chocolate, what makes them truly stand out is the fact that they are a probiotic food, containing 15% yogurt pearls with active Lactobacillus acidophilous bacteria. While not the only probiotic cereal on the market, this is the first brand devoted to this type of functional food. 


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