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Quaker Oats repositions brand in health focus

By Lindsey Partos , 10-Mar-2009

Quaker Oats fully embraces the health and wellness message behind its hallmark ingredient - wholegrain oats - re-positioning all of its products under one umbrella for the first time in its 130 year history.

 

Leveraging its portfolio of snacks and breakfast products under one brand, a new single-ad marketing and advertising campaign from Quaker Oats, a division of Pepsi Co, will kick off with the theme 'Go humans go', with adverts on television, print, digital and as well as out-of-home extension ads.

 

"This repositioning helps us elevate and communicate the power of this surprising super grain - the oat - to meet the needs of the growing number of health conscious consumers,” said Mark Schiller, president of Quaker Oats.

 

Oats, well-researched for their heart health benefits and deigned as a superfood by the marketing pundits, are a good source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre beta-glucan, found in oat bran, rolled oats and whole oat flour. They also score low on the glycaemic index, helping consumers to maintain consistent blood sugar levels.

 

Food manufacturers have recognised that consumers are starting to understand the benefits of this grain ingredient, launching innovations in oat cereals, notably in breakfast cereals, that seek to grab this burgeoning market opportunity. Recent formulation developments include Weetabix' Oatibix and Oatibix bites as well as 'Nestle's Oats & More."

 

And for its part, by placing all of its wholegrain oat products on one platform, as opposed to individual product categories, Quaker Oats is putting a certain amount of faith in consumer awareness of oats' health benefits.

 

"The ‘Go humans go’ platform is more than a marketing change for Quaker as it marks the first time we’ll leverage the cohesive portfolio of breakfast and snack products under one brand,” added Annie Young-Scrivner, chief marketing officer for Quaker Oats.

 

Oats are the main ingredient in a raft of Quaker products, including its iconic 'old fashioned oats' cereal to the latter day chewy granola bars.

 

Opportunities dovetail for oats

 

Opportunities to leverage oats in the soaring heart health market multiplied last year in the US when the country's Food and Drug Administration added certain oat products to a health claim linking soluble fibre and risk of coronary heart disease.

 

Products such as sugared, oat-based cereals had been forbidden from carrying the claim because of high sugar content but the FDA has now relaxed this rule, extending the use of soluble fibre health claim to include certain whole oat products previously ineligible due to fat content.

 

Driven by a petition submitted in November 2005 from Quaker Oats Company, the food and drug agency ruled in May 2008 that the amendment exempts certain foods from the nutrient content requirement of 'low fat.'

 

In short, the exemption will apply if the food exceeds the `low fat' requirement due to fat content derived from whole oat sources.

 

In the US, where the entire fibre market was worth $192.8m (€151.0m) in 2004, insoluble fibre dominates the market with $176.2m (€138.0m), and $16.6m (€13.0m) for soluble.

 

But trend trackers Frost and Sullivan predict that by 2011 the fibre market will more than double in the US to $470m (€369m), with growth in the soluble fibre sector expected to outpace that of insoluble fibre - 26.3 per cent compared to 13.1 per cent.

 

Green light in France for beta-glucan claim

 

Across the Atlantic, market opportunities in the health domain have also picked up for oats with the French Food Health and Safety Agency (AFFSA) clearing a beta-glucan health cholesterol-lowering health claim in July 2008.

 

CreaNutrition, the Swiss-based oat bran specialist that applied for the claim and was recently granted a similar approval in the Netherlands, said claims had been applied for at European Union level, under article 14 which pertains to disease reduction submissions.

 

A similar beta-glucan claim has been in place in Sweden since 2002 and the UK approved a claim in 2004.

 

In its letter affirming the success of CreaNutrition's application, AFSSA recommended that for products to bear the claim they should contain 3g of beta-glucans per 100g, or 1.5g of beta-glucans per 100kcal.

 

CreaNutrition and Pepsi's Quaker Oats are the world's leading beta-glucan suppliers.

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