Annie’s launching organic cereals
Annie’s is launching a line of three USDA certified organic cereal varieties, including Berry Bunnies, Cocoa Bunnies and Frosted Oat Flakes. Each new variety features whole grain oats as the first ingredient and contains only eight grams of sugar per serving. As with all Annie’s products, the cereals are made without artificial flavors, synthetic colors, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.
Jeff Harmening, executive vice president and chief operating officer for U.S. Retail, revealed the news this morning at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
The new cereals will begin appearing in natural channel retailers in April and available nationwide this summer.
We’ve got a sneak peek at all three.
Berry Bunnies – Strawberry and blueberry bunny shapes flavored with real fruit.
Cocoa Bunnies – Fair Trade cocoa sourced for fun yummy bunny shapes.
Frosted Oat Flakes – Hearty and sweet whole grain oat & wheat flakes.
Cereal is the latest category Annie’s will enter under General Mills. Earlier this fiscal year Annie’s entered the soup and yogurt categories.
According to John Foraker, president of Annie’s, the company had tried cereal before. In 2007 Annie’s introduced six varieties, including Cocoa & Vanilla Bunnies, Honey Bunnies, Cinna Bunnies and more to the natural channel – but discontinued the line five years later. (John wrote about that today, on Linkedin).
“When we originally introduced cereal, consumers were thrilled about the idea,” John says. “We were such a small company at the time, we just didn’t have the scale or manufacturing capabilities to provide consumers with the quality, taste or price points we felt they deserved. We decided to discontinue the original line back in 2012.”
He says that when Annie’s joined forces with General Mills, the company knew it had a huge opportunity to do cereal again, and do it right.
“The result is three certified organic varieties with superior ingredient quality, lower sugar content, dramatically better taste, competitive price points, and all with the same Annie’s personality parents loved our first go-around,” says John.
According to Alan Cunningham, senior marketing manager for Cereal innovation, the General Mills team of cereal developers worked in lock-step with their Annie’s counterparts in Berkeley to make sure all aspects of the new cereals were in line with Annie’s values.
Annie’s consumers also played a big role in the development of the cereals.
“Not only did we work directly with our colleagues at Annie’s, we also worked alongside some of the brand’s fans throughout the entire development process, getting feedback on everything from taste, to shape, to packaging, to ensure these new cereals were not only great tasting, but something parents could feel good about giving their kids,” says Alan.
Since 2000, General Mills has been significantly expanding its portfolio of natural and organic products with brands including Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking, Liberte, Mountain High, Annie’s and most recently meat snacks maker EPIC Provisions.
Today, General Mills is the third largest maker of natural and organic foods in the U.S.
The company now expects to reach $1 billion dollars in net sales from natural and organic products by fiscal 2019 without additional acquisitions, according to Jeff.
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