How we created a new cereal brand
Tiny Toast, our first new cereal brand in 15 years, arrives this month in Blueberry and Strawberry varieties.
Shaped like small pieces of toast and sprinkled with blueberries and strawberries, Tiny Toast arouses the senses of taste and smell thanks to real fruit, says Mike Evenson, product developer in our Innovation, Technology and Quality division.
“People told us that both varieties tasted real, and not fake like they typically associate with fruit-flavored cereals,” Mike says. “We heard from several consumers that the Blueberry Tiny Toast tastes like a blueberry muffin, which is just awesome praise. That’s exactly what we were going for. When we heard that, we knew we were on to something good.”
Tiny Toast was created to have an all-family appeal similar to Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
It is is General Mills’ first new cereal brand since 2001, when we introduced the since discontinued Harmony cereal. Basic 4, which debuted in 1991, is the last newly branded cereal that remains part of our cereal portfolio.
During the last 25 years, General Mills has launched dozens of new cereals. However, those cereals arrived via extensions of existing brands or licensing agreements, such as Reese’s Puffs.
Work began on Tiny Toast more than a year ago. Early on, the team considered a layered cereal. Mike says people were receptive to this idea in which the cereal pieces would sandwich either a cherry filling or a spread.
But this concept proved too expensive and too dense to pursue.
“The R&D team said, ‘Well, if fruit on the inside is good, maybe it’s just as good on the outside.’ This led to the coating of real fruit,” says Alan Cunningham, senior marketing manager for Cereal Innovation.
The team marched forward with the new idea, considering a number of flavors before settling on blueberry and strawberry.
“Consumers told us that they wanted the fruit to have a uniform coverage on the cereal,” says Mike. “They didn’t want us to put in whole slices of fruit.”
The fruity flavors come from blueberry and strawberry powders.
It’s actually a coarse powder more closely resembling a flake that provides the great taste and appearance for Tiny Toast, Mike says.
“Tiny Toast gives you this really large pop of aroma that’s missing from those other fruit cereals,” he adds. “We watched how consumers responded when they first opened a box, and they were stunned at how good it smelled.”
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