Company News

General Mills refocuses North American operations

A new strategy has fueled steady improvements

Thursday, February 21, 2019

General Mills has refocused its North American Retail organization to capitalize on growth strategies. This initiative has seen steady improvements over the last 20 months.

According to Jonathan Nudi, President of North America Retail at General Mills, customer-focused innovation has been a key factor in growth – in the first half of fiscal 2019, General Mills launched its Cheerios Oat Crunch, YQ yogurt and Betty Crocker Mug Treats. Still to come in 2019 is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros, Go-Gurt Dunkers and Annie’s Sour Bunnies.

“This improved innovation performance has been driven in part by changes we’ve made to our innovation process, leveraging an agile approach we call Consumer First design. This mindset favors speed over perfection, pitching business teams to be the fastest to the first dollar by launching products in the market and getting consumer feedback much earlier in the development cycle along multiple opportunities for iteration and improvement before a full-scale roll-out. The result has been accelerating speed-to-market on products like Epic Performance Bars and stronger performance on new platform innovations like Oui by Yoplait,” explained Nudi.

Nudi had this to say about growing in the United States yogurt market:

“Our path to growth in U.S. yogurt requires we stabilize our core while bringing category-leading innovations to new segments like ‘simply better’ that are driving growth. On our core, real fruit news on original-style Yoplait has helped to churn the single-serve line to growth in fiscal 2019. And equity flavor extensions like Sour Patch Kids and Jolly Rancher are driving mid-single-digit year-to-date retail sales growth for Go-Gurt.”

Meanwhile, a large effort has been put on improving competitiveness in the U.S. snack bar market:

“We’ll improve our trends in Nature Valley in the back half of fiscal 2019 with stronger merchandising and compelling innovation, including a new crispy creamy wafer bar that’s launching in the fourth quarter. On Fiber One, we’re working to renovate the product line to get it back into the consideration set for weight managers, the brand’s core consumer. Look for that renovation early next fiscal year. In the meantime, we’ll continue to support our new Protein One launch, which has had success leveraging its high-protein, low-sugar positioning. And we’ll continue to increase awareness, broaden distribution and launch exciting innovation on Larabar, a brand that has delivered strong double-digit compound annual growth and retail sales over the past three years,” stated Nudi.

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