Kellogg highlights advancements in health and wellness

by Eric Schroeder
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BATTLE CREEK, MICH. —The Kellogg Co. continued to make progress on delivering health and wellness to the marketplace in 2012, company executives noted in the company’s fifth global corporate responsibility report released April 22.

Among the “highlights” achieved during the year, Kellogg said it launched a variety of new products to address consumer health needs, kicked off two marketing campaigns designed to motivate children to stay fit, rolled out new “Facts Up Front” product labeling in the United States, and launched an improved version of Special K Protein Plus to make it more relevant for today’s consumers.

“Nutrition enhancements to existing products help us to succeed in the marketplace,” said John Bryant, president and chief executive officer. “Enhancements such as adding fiber, whole grains or protein to a product are good for our consumers and good for our business, as demonstrated by increased sales. With all of our products, from our kitchen to yours, we take pride in making nourishing, enjoyable foods that are sourced, produced and marketed responsibly.”

Kellogg introduced several new and updated products in 2012 and early 2013 that respond to consumer nutrition needs. A number of Special K foods with protein, including cereal, breakfast shakes, flatbread breakfast sandwiches and several snacks, such as granola bars, were developed for consumers looking to manage their weight.

In the United States, Kellogg said many varieties of Rice Krispies and Mini Wheats were reformulated to contain two times the folic acid of earlier versions.

For children, Kellogg added Scooby Doo, a cereal that is considered a good source of fiber (3 grams) with 27 grams of whole grains, and Cinnamon Jacks, which contains 12 grams of whole grains.

Two additions were made to the Eggo waffle line in the United States during 2012, including a product with added protein (8 grams in a two waffle serving) and another with 50% less fat than the original Eggo waffle.

In terms of consumer information and labeling, Kellogg is part of the Facts Up Front initiative. The Facts Up Front nutrition labeling initiative launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute in 2011. The new labeling ultimately will replace Kellogg’s front-of-pack Guideline Daily Amounts labeling, which gave consumers specifics on calories, fiber, fats, sugars and other nutrients.

“The simple and easy-to-understand Facts Up Front are designed to be a companion to the more detailed nutrition panel located on the side or back of each product package,” Kellogg said. “At the end of 2012, nearly all of our Kellogg-branded ready-to-eat cereals and about 25% of our snack bars had Facts Up Front labels.

“We also use the front of packages to flag for consumers the benefits of certain products, such as ones that are high or higher in fiber or that are heart-healthy options.”

A product reformulation project that kicked off in the spring of 2011 came to fruition last year with the launch of the reformulated Special K Protein Plus cereal. Originally introduced in 2004 as Special K Low Carb (and renamed as Special K Protein Plus in 2006), the cereal had a small following but according to Kellogg was being held back by taste because of a “chalky texture.”

“This was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on,” said a project leader. “There’s a reason there aren’t a lot of high-protein cereals on the market. It is incredibly hard to manufacture a great-tasting, high-protein flake.”

After working with various protein sources and examining their impact in a cereal flake, the cereal was re-launched in July 2012 to what Kellogg has called “phenomenal results.” Sales from each month have been consistently higher than they were the previous year, the company said.

“This product was/is all about finding ways to deliver tasty protein to consumers,” the project leader said. “A high-protein cereal that no one eats doesn’t do anyone any good. What this project allowed us to do was to take an existing item and make it more relevant for today’s consumers. We couldn’t be more excited about the results.”
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