General Mills Unveils New-Product Look Book (Slideshow)

Lineup reflects trends from protein to indulgence, whole grains to no grains

MINNEAPOLIS -- With more than a few products that could do well in the convenience-store sector, General Mills has revealed its latest batch of rollouts—more than 150 globally. The new additions include Chex Mix Xtreme, a granola bar geared to Hispanic shoppers, a number of products that use pea protein, and Totino’s Pizza Chips—the latter available exclusively in c-stores.

New items launched in fiscal 2014 drove nearly 5% of the company’s net sales in U.S. retail, according to A.C. Nielsen numbers presented by the company. In addition, 11 General Mills products, including Yoplait Greek 100, Fiber One Protein Bars, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch and Green Giant Frozen Steamers, were ranked among the top-selling 100 new food products of 2013, according to IRI.

This year, the new portfolio directly reflects some top trends occupying the minds of consumers—and marketers. “Through a deep understanding of our consumers—what foods they like, where they shop and how they like to cook—we are rapidly addressing their needs with products that offer relevant health news, increased convenience, superior taste and product quality,” Ken Powell, chairman and CEO, said in a statement released by the company.

Protein Power

Today, more than 50% of consumers are looking to add more protein to their diets, according to the company. It’s responding with a few products pumped with extra protein:

  • Cheerios Protein. General Mills expands the Cheerios franchise with new Cheerios Protein featuring crunchy granola clusters.
  • Yoplait Greek. New flavors in the line include Lemon Meringue, Key Lime, Peaches ‘n Cream, Honey, Pina Colada, Caffe Mocha and Caramel.
  • Cascadian Farm Protein Granola. It is the first mainstream organic protein granola made from pea protein.

Bold Flavors

Consumers today want flavors that are big, bold and authentic. General Mills is capitalizing on that trend in the snack and grocery aisles.

  • Chex Mix Xtreme. New Xtreme flavors include Habanero Lime and Sweet & Spicy Sriracha.
  • Old El Paso Nacho Cheese Taco Shells. Blasted with nacho cheese flavoring inside and out.

Gluten-Free Needs

Approximately 30% of consumers are trying to cut back on gluten, according to General Mills. It’s adding to its already extensive gluten-free portfolio with a handful of new items.

  • Chex Gluten Free Oatmeal. Available in Maple Brown Sugar, Apple Cinnamon, and Original flavors.
  • Larabar Renola. Larabar is reinventing granola with the launch of the first nationally distributed, grain-free granola, called Renola. Made with simple ingredients including nuts, fruit and seeds, it is available in three flavors: Cinnamon Nut, Cocoa Coconut and Berry.
  • Food Should Taste Good Brown Rice Crackers. Made with gluten-free grains like sesame and flax seeds, quinoa and amaranth, these crackers are available in Sea Salt, Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Basil.

Whole Grains

While a subset of people are turning to gluten-free foods, 81% of consumers say they are trying to eat more whole grains, according to General Mills.

  • Suddenly Grain Salad. Every box includes more than 27 grams of grain blends like brown rice, wild rice and quinoa paired with flavorful dressings like Tuscan, Southwest and Mediterranean.
  • Nature Valley Fruteria. These new chewy granola bars combine real fruit pieces and chewy oats for a 100-calorie snack designed to appeal specifically to Hispanic consumers. Available in Mango Strawberry and Strawberry Apple.

Indulgent Treats

Balancing the functional-food rollouts are a number of items that focus on indulgence.

  • Fiber One Streusel. Weight-conscious consumers who don’t want to indulge in high-calorie coffee shop treats will enjoy new Fiber One Streuselbars in Strawberry and Blueberry.
  • Pillsbury Melts. These ready-to-bake filled cookies can be topped with a drizzle of chocolate in two varieties: Molten Fudge Cake and S’more Sensation.