Nature Valley unveils gluten-free snack bars
Add Nature Valley to the list of General Mills brands to feature a gluten-free banner on the package. This summer five sublines of its snack bars will be featured as gluten-free.
Three of them – Roasted Nut Crunch, Protein and Protein Greek Yogurt bars – are already gluten-free but never advertised that fact on the label. The formula on a fourth, Nut Crisps, was tweaked to make it gluten-free. And the fifth, Simple Nut Bar, was developed as a gluten-free product from the get-go and will launch in June.
Nature Valley’s path toward labeling some products gluten-free began last summer when the brand re-launched its Roasted Nut Crunch Bar, says Jennifer Barnes, marketing manager for our Snacks division.
“The team realized that it was a gluten-free product, and knew there were others within the Nature Valley portfolio,” Jennifer says. “It just cascaded from there.”
In the midst of the growing gluten-free trend, Nature Valley reviewed its existing portfolio to see how it could better deliver on consumer needs. The brand essentially uncovered some of its products that already were gluten-free and found another way to promote them.
For the trio of bars that were gluten-free, Nature Valley had to verify with its suppliers and plant facilities that the products were made with gluten-free ingredients and that they could meet the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s definition of gluten-free.
“The team worked closely with all of our plant partners, coordinating our efforts to ensure and validate that the ingredients in our bars were gluten-free,” says Jennifer.
The brand then looked through its portfolio and found that its two varieties of Nature Valley Nut Crisps – introduced in January – were close to being gluten-free. Filled with peanuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, Nut Crisps only needed a slight reformulation by removing barley malt – just as General Mills did with Rice Chex back in 2008.
“Going gluten-free was not that difficult of a transition with this reformulation,” says Jennifer. “But it did require extensive work from a lot of areas in the company.”
Between them, these five Nature Valley sublines will offer 14 products that all should be on store shelves by August with the gluten-free stamp.
“The team is really excited about what this can do for our consumers,” Jennifer says. “Our products are found in a grocery aisle that’s surrounded by grain products. Now, we’re letting people know they no longer have to skip the grain aisle.”
With its growing portfolio of gluten-free products, General Mills continues to bring more of its products to the 30 percent of consumers who seek gluten-free food options. We now offer more than 850 gluten-free products – beginning with Rice Chex in 2008 and most recently the roll-out of gluten-free Cheerios this summer – to meet consumers increasing desire to avoid foods with gluten.
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