Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Color-changing cereal

Innovation is critical for the cereal industry, but when is it just plain gimmicky? Researchers have developed a way to make breakfast cereal change colors once it comes in contact with milk. Quaker Oats owns the patents for the technology.

Sounds like fun, and would certainly catch people's attention. But would it be enough to lead a sustainable cereal brand?

(Source: The Guardian)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cheerios tries weight loss

Is it just that it's January, or does this represent a new focus for Cheerios? General Mills announced a partnership with Fitness Magazine for a cross-promotion with Multi-Grain Cheerios. But, instead of the previous heart-health benefit claims, now the cereal is part of an online weight-loss program. This puts MG Cheerios in more direct competition with Kellogg's Special K, which has a far more comprehensive branding for weight loss.

This all raises several questions. Does this represent a potential shift for Cheerios marketing (even though this is initially just a six-month promotion)? Why is only the Multi-Grain variety touted for weight loss? Will this cause confusion for the other Cheerios' messages, such as lowering cholesterol for the regular variety? And, will people really take this campaign seriously?

Source: MarketingDaily)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's up with Quaker?

Yesterday I reported on some packaging updates from Quaker, plus one new cereal. That was pretty significant, but now I discover that there is more!

Four other new varieties have been spotted in the wild, including three new Life offerings, two of which are somewhat unusual for the brand.

The new varieties are: Maple & Brown Sugar Life, Apple Cinnamon Crunchtime Life, Strawberry Crunchtime Life, and Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares. Watch for them!

So, what's up with Quaker? That's a lot of change all at once. Maybe this thrust is a sign of their intent to ramp up their position within the cereal market. Whatever it is, it is rather impressive.

Monday, January 09, 2012

New looks at Quaker

Recently I highlighted some new developments from Kellogg and General Mills plus ownership changes coming at Post. Now, Quaker is making the news to begin 2012. Although I haven't seen any news releases or any changes showing up on their website yet, evidence is starting to appear in grocery stores. It appears that most of Quaker's leading cereal brands are going through some significant packaging design changes. Life is getting a fresh new look that is simple but stands out among the competition with its contemporary design. Also, notice that Quaker logo itself on the package is highly refined, giving a look that reinforces the company's heritage. I've also seen some images of some other re-designs, includes Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Packaging is one way for companies to carve out their identity and market position, and this is one of the most impressive design updates I've seen in the cereal industry.

Also, I spotted a new cereal, Whole Hearts. Essentially this is Quaker's version of Cheerios (although it claims to be "lightly sweetened"), but instead of just copying it like all the generic brands have, it comes in heart-shaped pieces with a much clearer message of the heart benefits of oats. Good move from an oats-driven company.