Snap, Crackle and Pop! — the ageless Rice Krispies elves — are on a health kick these days. The familiar breakfast cereal has been reformulated to meet Kellogg’s Global Nutrient Criteria, which were announced a year ago to firm up the company’s commitment to deliver more healthful products to a key consumer group for breakfast cereals: kids 12 and younger.
Kellogg’s declared then that it would no longer market to this age group any products that do not meet the criteria, which set an upper limit of 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 12 grams of sugar per serving.
Along with Rice Krispies, Kellogg’s Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Corn Pops and Froot Loops arrived on U.S. shelves last month with improved nutrition profiles.
Several new cereals were recently announced as well, including All- Bran Strawberry Medley; Frosted Flakes Gold, made with whole grains; Mini-Wheats Unfrosted; and Special K Cinnamon Pecan.
As president and chief executive officer, David Mackay, 52, a native Australian, has overseen the kids’ nutrition initiative here in the U.S., but he also has a vast global enterprise to oversee.
“Today, we manufacture products in 18 countries and market them in over 180 countries around the globe,” Mackay told SN.
He said the company has been working hard during the past year to minimize the impact of rising commodity prices on its consumers.
“Like many other food manufacturers, we’ve made select price adjustments,” he said. But items like its breakfast cereals still offer “a great nutritional value at about 36 cents a serving, including milk.”
Last month, Kellogg’s began shipping several of its breakfast cereals, including Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks, in packages whose contents have been reduced by an average of 2.4 ounces for the same price, according to published reports.
Roughly half of Kellogg’s business involves cereals; the rest is represented by a number of brands, including Kellogg’s Snacks, natural foods brand Kashi, Keebler, Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger.
The company’s all-natural Kashi brand, which it purchased in 2000, has established strong credentials with health-conscious consumers.
Items in the Kashi lines address a broad spectrum of dietary needs and preferences, from healthy frozen entrees based on whole grains to its Vive cereal, which is formulated with a probiotic culture.
Last year, Kellogg’s Kashi division purchased granola maker Bear Naked, while Kellogg’s bought meat substitutes maker Gardenburger, further rounding out the offerings for the health-conscious consumer.
“Kellogg offers product innovations to meet consumers’ health needs such as digestive health, heart health and shape management,” Mackay told SN. “We also offer consumers a wide variety of choices, including lowfat, low-salt, reduced-calorie, reduced-sugar, nutrient-enriched and portion-control options.”
For 2007, Kellogg’s posted a 6% gain in net sales to $11.8 billion, and a 10% increase in net earnings to $1.1 billion.
— GEORGE ELLIS