Kellogg: Shoppers expect gluten-free in the free-from aisle
The organic puffed corn breakfast cereal will be rolled-out as part of Kellogg’s £7m ($10.6m) investment in its master brand for 2015.
Despite being a mainstream cereal brand, Kellogg has opted to specifically target the free-from aisle – a lucrative sector in UK retail with an annual net worth of around £355m ($537.7m), according to Mintel and Kantar data.
“Puffed Corn Cereal will be available in major retailers in the ‘free-from’ aisle after Kellogg’s research revealed that’s where shoppers would expect to find it rather than the cereal aisle,” the company said.
Mainstream v. free-from
Kellogg said: “More and more shoppers want to make health choices, but most gluten-free products are manufactured by unfamiliar brands they’re not sure they can trust.”
Bringing its puffed corn line into the free-from aisle, therefore, presented consumers with an established brand they could trust, it said.
In November last year, Nestlé launched its own gluten-free cornflakes variety across a handful of European countries but chose to target the mainstream cereal aisle, rather than the free-from section.
Similarly in the US, General Mills’ Chex gluten-free line can be found in the mainstream aisle.
The decision to place gluten-free products in free-from or mainstream has been hotly debated in recent years.
Food marketing expert Professor Richard George previously told this site separate gluten-free sections were favorable because there were “riches in niches”.
However, business innovation manager of Leatherhead Food Research Steve Osborn disagreed, suggesting gluten-free should target broader appeal and move mainstream like organic, fair trade and vegetarian had.
Sarah Sleet, CEO of Coeliac UK, said the aim for industry had to be about normalizing gluten-free for celiac consumers but that the jury was still out on where in the store that had to happen.
“There’s not a simple answer to be honest. Some people like the free-from because they can go straight there and it’s easy to spot. On the other hand, some people are more than happy to see it normalized and mixed in with everything else,” she said.