Aug 28, 2011 • By

The next best thing to eating our products

Sometimes innovation at General Mills has nothing to do with food.

Well, sort of.

Take the lip balms that feature the tastes and scents of several of our products.

We partner with Boston America to sell them in stores of all sizes — from specialty shops to convenience stores, from Walmart to Target. (You also can get them online.)

Some flavors have been on the market for several years. But they received new attention recently when a blogger at “Serious Eats” posted a review of a few of the lip balms.

That review even prompted late night host Jimmy Fallon to work them into his monologue on Aug. 15.

So I decided to talk about the General Mills lip balm line with Matt Kavet, the president of Boston America.

Kavet says cereals were the first lip balms his company created, led by Trix, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs. Boston America followed those with some Betty Crocker products (fudge brownies and whipped frosting).

Are you hungry yet?

Eventually, Kavet says, the line expanded to other frosting flavors, Fruit Gushers (which will be featured on QVC at the end of September), pancakes, and numerous Pillsbury products like cookies and caramel rolls.

“We spend a lot of time on the General Mills website to come up with new flavors and new concepts based on the products that we see coming out,” says Kavet.

In this audio clip from our conversation, Kavet explains the reaction the lip balms receive at trade shows when Boston America shows them off.

Kavet says the biggest growth in the line has come with seasonal lip balms, like Valentine’s Day cookies and other holiday products.