MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. will expand its Cheerios franchise early next year with the launch of Cheerios + Ancient Grains.

“We have a variety of Cheerios products to meet consumers' changing taste preferences,” said Alan Cunningham, marketing manager for innovation in the cereal division of General Mills. “Our new product was created to provide consumers with a great tasting cereal that contains ancient grains. We are confident that the nutrition panel will be accepted by consumers.”

Cheerios + Ancient Grains contains 17 grams of whole grain, 12 vitamins and minerals and 5 grams of sugar per serving.

 In launching the product, Mr. Cunningham said General Mills is looking to meet consumers’ changing needs.

“Ancient grains are a fast-growing trend across all categories of food,” he said. “In fact, Nielsen noted in a study that this category grew by 50% over the prior year. While ancient grains are primarily in natural and organic cereals, Cheerios will be the first large cereal brand to bring it mainstream.”

Cheerios + Ancient Grains includes quinoa and oat clusters, spelt and Kamut wheat combined with Cheerios. The cereal will have a suggested retail price of $4.39.

It is the second major addition to the Cheerios franchise in the past year. In May, General Mills debuted Cheerios Protein, a cereal featuring 7 grams of protein (11 grams with milk), 13 vitamins and minerals, more than half the daily value of whole grain, and a good source of fiber.

Cheerios Protein combines toasted “O”s with crunchy granola clusters in two flavors: oats and honey, and cinnamon almond.