Sunday, April 18

Gluten-free Products Drive Sales For General Mills

After poor performance in the first half of the fiscal year, General Mills has shifted its focus to three areas of the business in hopes of improving sales. The company’s focus over the next six months will be on cereal, yogurt and healthy snacks.

Altogether, the first half of the fiscal year brought a 3.5% decrease in sales for General Mills due to poor demand for its products, according to Food Business News. The company is hoping that through a combination of new products, improvements to its current products and strong marketing and advertising efforts they will be able to improve performance.

Although General Mills’s cereal brands have grown in the market over the last six years, the first half of the fiscal year did not reflect this trend and resulted in a decrease in retail sales. To address this issue, General Mills is taking advantage of some of the growing trends in the food and beverage industry.

One trend that has resulted in an eruption of new food products in the industry is the gluten-free diet. Both those with gluten allergies and those who choose to eat gluten-free for health reasons have spurred a major change in the food industry.

General Mills took notice of gluten-free restrictions early on in the game and started introducing gluten-free versions of its Chex cereal line. So far the transition has paid off, with the company seeing a huge turn around in sales of Chex over the last few years.

“Chex was on a steady downward trend for most of the 2000s. Retail sales declined 50% between 2002 and 2009. Since fiscal 2010 when we began marketing the brand as a gluten-free cereal, Chex has grown at a 10% compounded rate,” said Executive Vice President and COO of General Mills’ U.S. retail segment Jeff Harmening, according to Food Business News.

The company plans to build off of their current success with gluten-free products in 2015 with its new gluten-free oatmeal and other types of gluten-free cereal. They will also be introducing more cereals with added protein and natural ingredients, as consumers have shown greater interest in both of these health factors as well.

General Mills is also turning to yogurt to help boost sales performance. The company’s line of Greek yogurt has had great success, prompting them to introduce a new low-calorie whipped yogurt to the current line of products in the coming months.

Healthy snacks have been another strong area for the company that they hope to build on in the future. General Mills is currently a leader in the market for grain snacks, and will expand its product lines to meet consumer interests. Sticking to the gluten-free theme, the company plans to launch a new line of gluten-free snack bars and dips in the next year.

Although General Mills was not pleased with sales performance in the first half of its fiscal year, the company has plenty of room for growth and a number of strong product lines from which to build off of.

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