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General Mills sees tasty international prospects for snack bars

By Kacey Culliney , 04-Sep-2013
Last updated the 04-Sep-2013 at 12:57 GMT

Nature Valley's latest oatmeal snack bars have driven a lot of US growth for General Mills since June launch
Nature Valley's latest oatmeal snack bars have driven a lot of US growth for General Mills since June launch

Broad popularity of grain snack bars on an international scale will underpin prospects for the future, says the CFO of General Mills.

The cereal and snack major has seen strong growth in its US snack bar business in fiscal 2014 already with retail sales up almost 10% but plans to strengthen its hold internationally, particularly in Canada and the UK.

Speaking at the Barclays Back to School Conference, chief financial officer and executive vice president of General Mills Donal Mulligan said that while US growth was “terrific”, prospects were promising beyond this market.

“Grain snacks are popular with international consumers too. Over the last five years, international sales for our Nature Valley and Fiber One snack bar lines have increased at a high single-digit rate,” Mulligan told attendees.

“…We have only just begun to tap the grain snack product pipeline we have built here in the US. So we like the prospects for international growth on our snack bar platform.”

NPD and jumping sales

New product development and launches have strengthened General Mills’ US snack bar segment so far, Mulligan said.

The sturdy US growth has been predominantly underpinned by strong early sales for Nature Valley soft-baked oatmeal squares, launched back in June, he said.

The firm intends to spark growth on an international scale in the same way – with new product developments.

Mulligan said General Mills plans to introduce new protein varieties for Fiber One and Nature Valley in Canada and new flavors of its Nature Valley Sweet & Nutty bars in the UK.

Natural and organic promise

Within the US snack bar market, Mulligan said General Mills’ efforts in the natural and organic segment had paid off. “US sales for our Larabar all-natural fruit and nut bars are growing at a robust double-digit rate,” he said.

The firm’s new ALT protein bars are also “off to a great start”, he added.

There are plans to broaden flavors and expand distribution beyond natural and organic retail channels for these two brands, Mulligan said.

All quotes used have been sourced from Seeking Alpha .

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