General Mills Plans Cheerios Ancient Grains

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Oct 31, 2014

General Mills Inc. plans to start selling in January a version of Cheerios with quinoa and two wheat varieties, spelt and kamut, as well as its signature oats.

The company made no announcement about the product, to be called Cheerios Ancient Grains, but it carried a Wall Street Journal story on its own website. The Journal quoted Alan Cunningham, marketing manager for innovation in the cereal division, as saying grocery shoppers equate the words "ancient grains" with healthy, simple, nutrient dense food – even if they don’t know exactly what an ancient grain is.

The Journal said the number of foods that use the words "ancient grains" on packaging rose 50 percent this year compared to last, according to a spokesman for General Mills, citing Nielsen data. But the newspaper pointed out Cheerios Ancient Grains is no more nutritious than regular Cheerios.

Research by General Mills showed consumers find the words “ancient grains” more appealing than highlighting a single grain. “It’s not coincidence that this isn’t just Cheerios Plus Quinoa,” says Cunningham.

General Mills started selling another Cheerios spinoff, Cheerios Protein, in June.

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