Kellogg Q&A: Toasting innovation at Pop-Tarts

by Monica Watrous
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Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty!

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — Pop-Tarts turns 50 this year, and the brand has reason to celebrate: The Kellogg Co.’s iconic toaster pastry franchise grew consumption and share last year on the strength of a pair of peanut butter flavors launched in May.

Packaged in gold foil (rather than the brand’s signature silver wrapper), the two Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! varieties are Peanut Butter, which has a peanut butter-flavored crust sprinkled with sugar and a creamy peanut butter filling, and Chocolate Peanut Butter, with a chocolate-flavored crust and peanut butter filling topped with chocolate frosting.

Since the launch, Kellogg said the two flavors have performed very well.

In an interview with Food Business News, Aleta Chase, marketing director for Kellogg’s U.S. Morning Foods business, discussed the product development and performance of the peanut butter varieties in their first year.

FBN: Over the years, Pop-Tart has launched a number of flavors and special-edition varieties. Can you provide insight on how these flavors are developed for the brand?

Ms. Chase: While traditional favorite Pop-Tart varieties, such as Frosted Strawberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon, are the core of our lineup, Pop-Tarts fans like the variety presented by the more than 23 Pop-Tarts flavors. Some of these flavors are seasonal favorites such as our strong-selling Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tart. In the end, consumer response is the main driver in determining what varieties become permanent parts of our lineup or our regular seasonal rotation.

FBN: What is the story behind the peanut butter flavors?

Ms. Chase: We spend a lot of time with our consumers, and their No. 1 flavor request was for peanut butter.

FBN: What challenges did you face in developing the product?

Ms. Chase: In bringing this product to market, we needed to be careful with allergen concerns associated with any product containing nuts. This required us to utilize an entirely separate manufacturing location for our two Gone Nutty! varieties. We also developed a distinctive orange box and gold foil wrappers to both celebrate the unique taste and to draw attention to the fact that it contains nuts.

FBN: How have the peanut butter varieties been received?

Ms. Chase: The launch of the Gone Nutty! Peanut Butter Pop-Tarts went very well, and our consumers were thrilled by the new addition to our portfolio.  They continue to be very popular.

FBN: Has there been any consideration to expand the peanut butter platform to include other varieties?

Ms. Chase: We are always listening to our consumers and could develop additional peanut butter varieties, but we have nothing to announce at this time.
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