Health & Wellness


Cereal Wars: General Mills And Kellogg’s Use Marketing Innovations To Stay Competitive

February 20, 2020 Digital Media Solutions

There’s no denying Americans love their cereals, and it shows. In 2019, the revenue for breakfast cereals in the U.S. was $15.6 million, and steady growth is projected for the cereal market. Across all cereal brands, General Mills and Kellogg’s collectively accounted for $7.3 billion of cereal sales. Cereal is a beloved household staple, so grab your spoons and dig in to see how General Mills and Kellogg’s have duked it out for the top spot in the cereal industry.

General Mills And Kellogg’s Take Jabs At One Another By Launching New Cereals

General Mills’ Lucky Charms and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are arguably two of the most iconic cereals on the market. So, when General Mills introduced their Lucky Charms Frosted Flakes cereal, many consumers were thrilled. However, the mashup was not exactly a partnership between the two brands. General Mills not-so-subtly trolled their rival Kellogg’s by creating a cereal that has Lucky Charms with the non-marshmallow portion (the part you most likely didn’t eat as a kid) replaced by frosted corn flakes. General Mills also made the “Frosted Flakes” text of the box look very similar to the text on the box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. Snack food reviewer, Junk Banter, posted on Instagram a picture of the Lucky Charms Frosted Flakes cereal with the caption, “They [General Mills] absolutely eviscerated Tony the Tiger when they made this cereal. Apparently ‘Frosted Flakes’ is too generic of a term to be trademarked. General Mills even went with a blue box and white font, just like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.”

Kellogg’s clapped back at General Mills by creating a cereal of their own called Honey Nut Frosted Flakes, a blatant rip on General Mills’ iconic Cheerios flavor. The yellow, honeycomb-patterned box features the Frosted Flakes logo, along with Kellogg’s beloved mascot, Tony the Tiger. Above the logo, are the words “Honey Nut” and an image of a tiny bee — all of which are on the General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios cereal box. “It was such a fun challenge to combine the two well-known flavors of honey-nut and Frosted Flakes to make something completely unique and quite frankly, g-r-reat.” said Brant Wheaton, Senior Brand Manager for Frosted Flakes.

General Mills And Kellogg’s Put New Spins On Their Cereal Brands

In an effort to bolster sales and appeal to consumers in creative and exciting ways, General Mills and Kellogg’s also revamped beloved favorite cereals with new and fun flavors. General Mills rolled out Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros, a spin on the classic Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand with bite-sized churros. The company also introduced a magical twist on Lucky Charms, called Fruity Lucky Charms, mixing in colorful and fruity cereal pieces with its famous marshmallows. With the newly-released cereal brand extensions, General Mills’ sales grew by 5% in 2019. “On cereal, we feel really, really good about our performance to date.” said Jon Nudi, President of North America Retail for General Mills.

Following a similar expansion strategy, Kellogg’s released Strawberry Krispies, a spin on their Rice Krispies cereal and Wild Berry Froot Loops, a fun and more vibrant twist on Froot Loops. In 2018, to celebrate the new flavor of Wild Berry Froot Loops, Kellogg’s teamed up with British clothing brand Awaytomars, to create a fashion capsule collection. Inspired by the Wild Berry Froot Loops, the #WhateverFrootsYourLoops collection was comprised of bright colors including red, green, blue, orange and purple.

General Mills And Kellogg’s Introduce New Cereals To Support Digestive Health

To reach more health-conscious consumers, General Mills and Kellogg’s each rolled out cereals designed to optimize digestive wellness with probiotics and prebiotics. According to a Research And Markets report, the global prebiotic market is projected to grow from $4.07 billion in 2017 to $7.37 billion by 2023, with an annual growth rate of 10.4%. Due to the bright future projected for the prebiotics, in 2018, Kellogg’s introduced a new cereal called HI! Happy Inside featuring prebiotics, probiotics and fiber. “This cereal [HI! Happy Inside] provides a proactive real food solution to people who want to incorporate more prebiotics and probiotics into their diet.” said Aleta Chase, Marketing Director for HI! Happy Inside. By using the hashtag, #GetHappyInside, consumers on Instagram and Twitter can find information about HI! Happy Inside and digestive health and wellness.

In 2019, General Mills followed Kellogg’s footsteps by partnering up with GoodBelly, a probiotic juice drink company, to launch a single probiotic-infused cereal along with a lactose-free yogurt line. This strategic partnership benefits both parties, as General Mills has the distribution resources and brand marketing expertise to help GoodBelly reach larger audiences. In turn, smaller startup GoodBelly brings new ideas and perspectives for product innovation to General Mills that can be used to grow sales and, potentially, put fresh spins on some of its older products.

For Cereal Companies, Capturing Consumer Attention Is Crucial

The majority of U.S. consumers purchase cereal during each shopping trip, so whether consumers enjoy their cereal soggy, crunchy, sweet or plain, it is important for major cereal brands, and food brands at large, to be eye catching and connect with their audiences. Jeff Harmening, Chief Executive of General Mills says, “There’s a lot more competition for breakfast cereals than there ever has been.”

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