BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — Forthcoming product launches from Kellogg Co. focus on three key areas, said Nigel Hughes, senior vice president of global research and development.

The first area of innovation taps into consumer desire for simple enjoyment and includes products such as Pringles Scorchin', Homestyle Rice Krispies Treats, Eggo Stuffed Pancake Bites and the return of Smorz cereal.

The second area of innovation, well-being, responds to a significant rise in overall interest in health and wellness, Mr. Hughes said.

“We’re addressing this through zero- or low-sugar variants of our foods across the globe and a range of keto-friendly and plant-based protein foods,” he said during a Feb. 17 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York virtual conference. “In addition, many consumers are turning their attention to their gut health and the support of their immune system.”

Products include Kashi cereal and Special K snack bars that were developed for the ketogenic diet, as well as Kellogg’s portfolio of ready-to-eat cereals that are high in fiber.

“And then there’s another area that even merits its own mention, our Morningstar Farms range of plant-based foods,” Mr. Hughes said. “Remember, we are extremely well placed for consumers’ move toward plant-based eating because we have an overall portfolio that is 86% pure plant-based. This includes a meat alternative, plant-based protein range in Morningstar Farms and its recently launched subline, Incogmeato.

“In 2021, we will launch innovation across the whole of this range, from Veggie Meatballs and Bites to our new Incogmeato Chik'n Nuggets and Bites.”

Experimentation and quick market feedback are central to Kellogg’s revamped approach to innovation, Mr. Hughes said. Kellogg is testing two ideas in limited markets, including a direct-to-consumer product offering focused on digestive health and a fully recyclable paper Pringles can in a partnership with a retailer in Europe.

“This will give us great firsthand feedback on how to optimize our innovation and create value for our consumers, our customers and us,” Mr. Hughes. “A great example of leveraging sustainability with a learning-by-doing approach.”

Changes to Kellogg’s product development capabilities provide a competitive advantage to keep pace with consumer trends and innovate more quickly. The pandemic accelerated the use and effectiveness of these new capabilities, Mr. Hughes said.

“We've revamped our whole end-to-end innovation capability to focus on our core food design skills: investing in culinary to get closer to the real food experience; sensory, to equitably learn with the consumer; a design studio and rapid process lab to speed up our prototyping; a scaled-up pilot, which is now certified to make salable food; and finally, our Menuvation Center at The Hatchery in Chicago to showcase our foods with partners and customers,” Mr. Hughes said. “These changes give us a real leg up on the competition because they allow us to hit trends, influence new trends and grow our business. They've transformed our ability to innovate.”