General Mills re-launch: Monstrously unhealthy or good sales tactic?

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cereal partners worldwide Breakfast cereal General mills

General Mills reunites the five monster cereals for Halloween
General Mills reunites the five monster cereals for Halloween
General Mills has announced the re-launch of two of its cult-status monster cereals - bringing Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute back to US shelves in the first of a limited time run of the cereals to celebrate Halloween.

But things have changed since 1982 - the last time all five of the monsters were on sale together - and kids’ cereal brands are under increasing pressure regarding health and nutrition.

Monstrously unhealthy?

Registered dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton told that she was “not a fan of turning breakfast cereals into confectionery, which is what the monster brand seems to be doing”.

Nutrition details for the two re-additions have not yet been released but Count Chocula - the first chocolate-flavored cereal with chocolate-flavored marshmallow bits - contains 1g of dietary fibre and 1g protein per 27g serving. 

“I think cereal manufacturers are missing a trick because fibre and fruit intakes are so low amongst children, and breakfast cereal is a fantastic opportunity for boosting both of these,”​ Ruxton said.

“Cereal manufacturers have been under attack over the past few years for the high sugar and low fibre contents of children’s cereals. Some have responded and have produced great products. Others, like General Mills, have not,”​ she said.

Health conscious parents vs. nagging children

So called “pester power” has been cited as a heavy influence on grocery shopping, meaning the wishes of children may overrule increasing parent concern surrounding breakfast nutrition.  

The fun factor of products like these monster cereals that appeal to children may well be more important for sales than health and nutrition claims that are targeted at the purchasing parents.

In a Datamonitor Expert View​ report, consumer insight analyst Ramaa Chipalkatti, said “health-related claims on product packaging are primarily aimed at parents, who are the purchasing gatekeepers rather than the children themselves. [In terms of sales] it is important for cereal brands to look beyond reformulation initiatives to engage with the end consumers: that is, the children”​. 

Cereal sales

According to Euromonitor International figures, worldwide retail value of children’s breakfast cereals has risen from $7,274.2m in 2007, to $8,552.8m in 2012. It forecasts that this figure will grow to $9,148.5m by 2017, showing a steady increase each year.

Euromonitor data showed that General Mills was third within the top five companies in the global children’s cereal market, with Kellogg Company way ahead, followed by Cereal Partners Worldwide SA and Post Holdings Inc and PepsiCo Inc coming in fourth and fifth. 

General Mills was not available to comment outside of ordinary business hours.

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