Last week the Minnesota-based multinational presented four new additions to its packaged bakery, nutrition bar, salty and snack ranges at the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) in Las Vegas, which form part of a lineup of 50+ new products announced last December and slated for launch in 2015.
Kelly Fulford, senior category development manager, General Mills Convenience told BakeryandSnacks.com: “The Pillsbury Minis were the big buzz at AWMA. Our distributor partners were very excited to have new innovation coming into the Packaged Bakery category, especially with such an iconic brand as Pillsbury. We had so much demand from customers, we ran out of product for sampling.”
‘Customers were excited by the taste, packaging, brand, price point…’
“Customers were really excited about the taste, the packaging, branding and price point. Plus, they were delighted when they found a surprise message inside the package. Everyone loves [well-known Pillsbury character] the Doughboy. They can’t wait for this product to be available for their customers,” Fulford said.
“The other product that created a lot of excitement was the Ranch Bugles. Bugles is a top selling brand in the channel – and customers were excited to see another flavor addition to the line. They commented that we really hit the mark with the ranch flavor – and expect this to be a big hit with customers.”
Last May, Fulford told site editor Kacey Culliney at Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago that people were consuming less traditional meals and eating smaller meals throughout the day. She said that c-stores were the perfect channel to capitalize on this trend.
This week, we asked Fulford why the company introduced products like Pillsbury Minis as ‘c-store’ exclusives. Naturally, retail customers like the exclusivity that a popular product can bring – and food manufacturers can strengthen relations with key customers. But were there any other benefits for General Mills?
C-store shoppers were ‘looking for something sweet at breakfast’
“The benefit to c-store exclusives is really about the fact that these products, such as the Pillsbury Minis, have been developed specifically with c-store consumers in mind,” Fulford said.
“For instance, our research told us that busy c-store shoppers are looking for something sweet at breakfast that is in convenient packaging that they can eat on-the-go. Pillsbury Minis fit the bill, offering a great tasting product in a mini size with less mess.”
And once General Mills has drawn up a list of products it wants to launch, how does it schedule their release – does the seasonality of a particular product or flavor come into it?
“An important factor is determining what makes the most sense for c-store retailers. General Mills Convenience typically rolls out several new products by early April to help retailers prepare for the busy summer road trip season,” Fulford replied.