Dec 20, 2011 • By

New Year rings in new products

For many, January is a time for New Year’s resolutions. Here at General Mills, it’s also a time for new products. And, one of the perks of my job is that as the calendar year comes to a close, the samples of new products start piling up on my desk.

Twice a year – in June and December – leaders at General Mills announce the company’s lineup of new product innovation for the coming half of the fiscal year.

In June we revealed plans for a big year in innovation with more than 100 new products launching in the first half of the fiscal year, such as Fiber One Brownies, Pillsbury Egg Scrambles and Grands! Biscuit Sandwiches, Totino’s Pizza Stuffers, Wanchai Ferry dim sum varieties, Fiber One 80 Calorie cereal and Betty Crocker Fun da-Middles cupcake mix.

Many of these product launches have thus far exceeded the company’s expectations – with Fiber One Brownies contributing to a double-digit increase for the Fiber One snack franchise, Pillsbury Egg Scrambles and Breakfast Sandwiches projected to have combined year-one retail sales of $40 million in all channels, and year-one retail sales for Totino’s Pizza Stuffers estimated to exceed $20 million in all channels.

This morning during General Mills’ second-quarter earnings conference call, company leaders underscored the importance of product innovation as a key growth driver for our business and previewed what some of the stars might be in the company’s lineup of 50 new products slated to launch throughout the remainder of General Mills’ fiscal year, which ends May 27, 2012.

Two themes stood out for me among the upcoming product introductions – the growing influence of multicultural consumers on American taste preferences and consumers’ desires to either add or avoid certain ingredients in their diets, whether seeking more whole grain or protein or avoiding lactose or gluten.

Here are a handful of the product announcements that caught my attention:

Dulce de Leche Cheerios. This caramel-flavored cereal is the only dulce de leche-inspired cereal in the ready-to-eat cereal category and arrives on store shelves in January. While dulce de leche is a taste profile that is popular among Hispanics, consumer testing has shown that the new flavor will also have strong general market appeal.

Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter. General Mills is adding variety to the fast-growing Multi Grain Cheerios brand in January with the introduction of Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter. Made with real peanut butter, Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter provides 16 grams of whole grain and has 110 calories per serving. According to consumer preference studies, peanut butter is a popular flavor among people looking to manage their weights. 

Yoplait Lactose Free yogurt. Yoplait Lactose Free is the first lactose-free yogurt from a major yogurt brand and will be available across the U.S. in late January. The yogurt comes in four flavors – strawberry, peach, cherry and French vanilla. Studies show that around 15 percent of U.S. consumers are lactose intolerant.

Yoplait Greek with Nature Valley Granola. Yoplait is giving consumers who love Greek yogurt more options this winter with Yoplait Greek with Nature Valley Granola and Greek yogurt in multipacks. Yoplait Greek with Nature Valley Granola is a yogurt parfait of Yoplait Greek yogurt, Nature Valley granola, and fruit on the bottom. The product, which comes in a two-pack, is available in strawberry, blueberry and peach flavors. Greek yogurt is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. yogurt category.

Nature Valley Protein Bars. With consumer interest in protein continuing to rise, Nature Valley is launching Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars – with 10 grams of protein (15 percent of the Daily Value) from all-natural sources, 5 grams of fiber, and less than 200 calories. The bars, which are launching in January, are available in two flavors – Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate & Peanut and Almond & Dark Chocolate.


Nature Valley Fruit Twists. Nature Valley Fruit Twists, sold exclusively in the convenience store channel, are available in cherry and strawberry. The snacks are made with 100 percent natural ingredients and are gluten free.  Selected as one of the top new products at the 2011  National Association of Convenience Stores Show in Chicago, Nature Valley Fruit Twists ranked No. 4 out of more than 240 products in the Cool New Products Review Room.

Other new products launching in the second half of the fiscal year include: Frosted Toast Crunch cereal and new flavors of Fiber One bars and Nature Valley Granola Thins in the U.S. Retail channel; Betty Crocker Oatmeal Bars and Pillsbury Mini Waffles in the K-12 channel; Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Fudge Crunch bars in the convenience store channel; and Pillsbury Warm Cinnamon Rolls and Pillsbury Warm Apple Cinnamon Pastries in the foodservice channel.

Editor’s note: Some of our new product ideas come through partnering with innovators outside our company. To learn more about that, visit our G-Win page on

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  • Tegwa

    bring back breakfast squares…..bring back breakfast squares….bring back breakfast squares

  • Sutherlandac

    GM just doesn’t get it!! People do not want these highly processed “franken”-foods! I don’t want calcium added to my foods. I don’t want brownies masqueading as ‘healthy” because it has processed protein, fake fiber, and/or China-imported vitamins added, and is branded as FiberOne. I don’t want nor need theses excess amounts of sugars and cheap GM corn based products, agressively marketed to kids.
    GM is so out of touch that they can only sell this crap with massive investment for marketing, slotting bribery, coupons and government subsidies.|GM clean up your proactices and stop po isoningthe US public, Be truthful, transparent and ashamed for producing and marketing this crap!

    • BarbieH

      Speak for yourself! Bring back Breakfast Squares from the 70’s with all of their chocolatey goodness and whatever bad for you stuff that was in them. There are thousands of us who would pay dearly just to get a case of those great chocolate squares.

  • Alamocityboy

    I agree with Tegwa  BRING BACK BREAKFAST SQUARES!!

    • BarbieH

      Did I forget to say that we don’t care about nutrition – we just want the original Breakfast Squares!! Or at least share the recipe with the world.

  • Vah365

    I have been lactose intolerant for many years and it has progressively gotten worse.  I love milk and yogurt products but have been unable to eat them.  I recently found the Yoplait lactose free 99% fat free french vanilla yogurt in the store and thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  I was amazed and pleasantly surprised!  The flavor was delicious, but best of all, I can eat it and it is virtually fat free, so I don’t have the guilt.  I have been trying to find a low fat yogurt I could eat without chewing a bunch of pills first ( that only work some of the time).  Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Gina Guillotine

       Why wouldn’t you just look to vegan products?  We enjoy yogurt and other items that are made from all kinds of delicious things like coconut, almond, and other good things.

  • Deb

    I called General Mill to see if the new protein bars are gluten free. The ingredients are but the person that I spoke with couldn’t answer my question. Are they made in a gluten free facility?
    It would be very helpful and time saving to have that info clearly stated on the box.

    • Kevin Hunt

      Hi Deb,

      The Protein bars are not labeled to be gluten free. In this case, even though there are no gluten-containing ingredients listed in the product label, factors during production do not allow us to provide the full level of assurance that a gluten free claim requires.

      Kevin Hunt
      General Mills

    • Kevin Hunt

      Hi Deb, The protein bars are not labeled to be gluten-free. In this case, even though there are no gluten-containing ingredients listed in the product label, other factors do not allow us to provide the full level of assurance that a gluten-free claim requires. 

      Kevin Hunt
      General Mills

  • Healthycommonsense7

    I have tried the new peanut butter dark chocolate protein bars and they were surprisingly good. I am including them in my healthy eating and exercise program. Maerenn Jepsen, please email me. I am starting a blog and I would like to partner in some way with Nature Valley Chewy Protein Bars. Please contact me at Thanx! 

  • Ashley

    I agree with Tegwa and Alamocityboy.  Bring back BREAKFAST SQUARES.  Yummmm!

    • Dtryon

      Yes! Please listen to your consumers ,BRING BACK GENERAL MILLS BREAKFAST SQUARES !!!

  • Gail

    Just bought the new Protein Chewy Bars. I have Celiac and I am willing to eat them as long as the ingredients are gluten free. I understand that they can’t state that on the box unless they meet strict regulations. However, there are Nature Valley bars that are labeled gluten free so it would be awesome to just make the new protein bars on that line too and call it all gluten free! :) 

  • Dennyperino

    Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares Bring back breakfast squares

  • Tkparker

    I say bring back Breakfast Squares !!!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE !!!!!!!

  • Yvetteakasuzy


  • Ibktubu2011

    Bring back the breakfast squares from the 70’s

    • BarbieH

      I heartily agree!! Bring back Breakfast Squares from the 70’s – Exact Recipe – Chocolate was my favorite. I still have a coupon for them. Couldn’t throw it away. Just looking at it reminds me of the flavor I enjoyed so much as a kid. Please bring them back.

  • Dtryon

    Go to flckr and type in “general mills breakfast squares” to see the boxes and the product.bring back G.m BREAKFAST SQUARES!!

  • Y.Atkin

    Is Cheerios peanut Butter cereal KOSHER? I could not find the sign of a Kosher product on the box   help with this ????

  • Maerenn Jepsen

    Yes, they are kosher, and should have the OUD symbol on the box. I’m told this error on the initial printing is being corrected and the next package series will have the symbol.

    Maerenn Jepsen
    General Mills

    • amber pierce

      Just bring back the breakfast squares, you will make your $$$ 10 times over since thats all companies are really worried about anyway!!! You guys see all the comments on-line not just on here but on several pages, any if you guys wont bring them back then why not just post the reciepe i mean seriously what do you guys get out of grown people begging & Yes some of us are begging including myself!!!!

      • Tamela

        I agree

  • Six6sixty

    Please,please, pretty please bring back breakfast squares.You will sell more than your chewy bars or fruity twists. There are 1000s of us old timers with money and a craving…..give us our dam breakfast squares 

  • Angie

    Please bring back breakfast squares. They were the best ever. Those that do not want them do not have to buy them. We that want and love them should not suffer. There are so many comments in different places about how good they were and people wishing for them back. Please!! Please!! Please!! bring them back they will be a great big huge hit….

  • BlueEilens

    I want breakfast squares too! Forget peanut butter cheerios, I want some breakfast squares.

  • macfia

    Breakfast Squares! Breakfast Squares!! Breakfast Squares!!!

  • amber pierce

    Come on General Mills if you don’t/won’t bring back the breakfast squares why not just give up the reciepe? You guys see all the post’s asking & no not just on here there are several pages all over the internet asking. I mean honestly it’s not like you wouldn’t make your $$$ 10x over since that’s all most companies are really worried about. Seriously what do you guys get out of seeing grown people begging & Yes if take time & pay attention you would see how we all are & have been begging!!! WE WANT ARE DAMN1970 SQUARES BACK!!!!!!
    :'( :( :'(

  • Roger

    Bring back Breakfast Squares, just like they were in the 70’s and your shareholders with thank you.

  • kelli

    how about the breakfast bars from 70s/80s.. miss them highly..

  • Patty

    Please bring back the Breakfast Squares…. Those were awesome. Please make it in the original recipe form…

  • Tamela

    Bring back the breakfast squares they were the best!!!

  • Joy

    Are Cheerios gluten free and are any others or are there plans for Gluten free regular cheerios?


    God I miss breakfast squares. I remember them fondly…

  • cchan

    GM, Please bring back Breakfast Squares! We used to purchase each flavor by the case. If you make them, we’ll take them!

  • Sonja Havely Gerding

    Please bring back Breakfast Squares! Your consumers are pleading with you to bring them back. It would be nice to have something that brings back so many good childhood memories and tastes of our youth. The children have grown up and want this product back, we are tired of all the healthy cardboard tasting products want our sweet little treat back. Just Sayin a blast from the past just may be what you need to improve perception of a company who seems to be forgetting it’s past.

  • had enough


  • Kate Jens


  • Are Vee

    I’m going to have to join the crowd on the request to bring back Breakfast Squares. These were the tastiest quick breakfast food item I’ve had to this day. I’m sure you can change whatever you need to in the recipe to appeal to modern audiences while keeping the texture and flavor intact. I specifically liked the cinnamon and chocolate flavors. Heck, vanilla was also great.

  • Mike

    Please bring back breakfast squares!