General Mills taps weight management trend with latest launches

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

General Mills is answering the consumer call for nutritious, wholesome yet indulgent snacks that fall within the daily calorie count. Pic: General Mills
General Mills is answering the consumer call for nutritious, wholesome yet indulgent snacks that fall within the daily calorie count. Pic: General Mills

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General Mills has launched a host of new snacks that address a range of modern snacking trends focused on health around the world.

New flavors of the popular Häagen-Dazs green tea almond stick bars, nutrient dense Fiber One layered chewy bars, naturally gluten-free Annie’s popcorn and the return of Yoplait Custard due to popular demand are all featured in the multiple product launch.

Nutritious, delicious yet calorie crunching and protein boosted are what consumers want.

In fact, revealed Packaged Facts, wholesome snacks are the fastest-growing segment, surpassing even the overall food and beverage market in 2016. 

Counting calories

One of the biggest shifts in consumer eating habits is in the area of weight management, stated Jeanine Basset, VP of Global Consumer Insights at General Mills.

“Controlling weight used to be about counting calories, now it's about calories that count​. Today it's more about satiety, which is why you see increased interest in protein.

“Snacking is now the primary occasion when people get most of their calories during the day,”​ she added.

 This is giving products, such as General Mills’ new Yoplain Dippers, the opportunity to be viewed as a snack, but stay within the healthy realm of a yogurt.

The $17.5bn global food manufacturer has also developed an indulgent snacking range of Nature Valley cereal bars, Super Hero Girls Fruit-Flavored Snacks and Häagen-Dazs ice cream featuring natural, organic ingredients, the use of flavors and colors from natural sources, and devoid of high fructose corn sugars, artificial sweeteners and preservatives.

The important launch includes a solid lineup of new products aligned with the consumer’s growing interest in boosting health, including a super-sized version of Nature’s Valley Sweet & Salty bar, and a yogurt that contains 14g of protein per serving.

“Snacking presents a tremendous growth opportunity for General Mills,”​ said Ken Powell, General Mills chairman and CEO.

“While preferences are changing faster than ever, what hasn't changed is the desire for food that tastes great, is convenient and affordable.”

Simple and instantly recognisable

Organic ingredients are the focus of attention, along with the free from items, like gluten, artificial colors and flavours, and preservatives.

According to General Mills, consumers also want more information about where the ingredients were grown

“Products like Liberté yogurt are providing transparency around the ingredients they use. For example, they aren’t just using vanilla beans, but vanilla beans from Indonesia,”​ commented Bassett.

Indulgence still a priority

But, while interest lies in simple, wholesome snacks, consumers still want tasty treats.

“Oftentimes, consumers talk about eating healthy as a presentation of their best selves and their aspirations, but in reality, they simply want something that tastes good,” ​she added.

A General Mills spokesperson told BakeryAndSnacks that, while some of the launches are country-specific, the majority will rolled out worldwide.

Here is a sampling of the new products: 

Very Berry Cheerio

Gluten-free, no artificial colors or flavors and no fructose corn syrup.

Yoplait Custard

Made with whole milk and free of rBGH/rBST growth hormones.

Nature Valley Granola Cups

No artificial sweeteners, two flavour variants: Peanut Butter Chocolate and Almond Butter.

Nature Valley XL Bars

Pretzel, Peanut & Chocolate; Peanut; and Chocolate Nut & Seed.

Fiber One Layered Chewy Bars

Each bar contains 7g of fiber (28% of RDO); Double Chocolate Almond; and Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate.

Annie’s Popcorn

Naturally gluten-free. in Organic Butter & Sea Salt; and Organic White Cheddar.

Super Hero Girls Fruit-Flavored Snacks 

No artificial flavors or colors.

Super Sour Gushers

Crabby Apple; Grumpy Grape; and Scary Cherry. Gelatin-free, no artificial flavors.

Yoplain Dippers

Chocolate Raspberry Chunk Yogurt with Chocolate Pretzels; Caramelized Banana Yogurt with Chocolate Pretzels; Vanilla Bean Yogurt with Honey Oat Bites; Toasted Coconut Yogurt with Honey Oat Bites; Chipotle Ranch Yogurt with Tortilla Chips; and Coffee Chocolate Chunk Yogurt with Cinnamon Crisps. No artificial colors/flavors, no high fructose corn syrup.

LÄRABAR Fruit and Greens bar

Nutritional kale or spinach combined with fruits and nuts. Strawberry Spinach Cashew; Pineapple Kale Cashew; and Mango Spinach Cashew. GMO-free, vegan.

Liberté Yogurt

USDA certified organic. New flavors to include Indonesia Vanilla Bean, and a limited batch of Nicaraguan Coffee Bean.

Yoplait Whole Milk yogurt (in Canada only)

Made from whole milk.

Wanchai Ferry Kids (in China only)

Smaller sized dumplings containing pork, salmon and shrimp in colourful wrappers for kids.

Häagen-Dazs Fruit and Flowers ice cream (in China only)

Rose; Raspberry & Lychee; and Elderflower & Blackcurrant.

Old El Paso Stand 'N' Stuff Minis (in Europe and Australia)

Known as Mini Taco Boats in the US.


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