Kellogg Co. is introducing a cinnamon version of Frosted Flakes after strong demand from consumers, the latest addition to the company's long list of varieties as it tries to keep momentum going with one of its six core cereal brands.
The debut comes more than a decade after a different cereal, Tony's Cinnamon Krunchers, failed. This time, Kellogg believes it has the right mix of flavoring and coating to ensure diners will be pleased with the product.
Kellogg has seen demand for a cinnamon-flavored Frosted Flakes product for the past couple of years through social media and other channels and started "working very aggressively" on plans about a year ago, according to Brad Schwan, the company's senior director of morning foods marketing.
It took about a year of development before the product, made with ingredients including korintje cinnamon, was completed. Consumer feedback along the way was part of the process.
"We screened about 100 different flavor variations to get the right combination of cinnamon and sugar to really support the Frosted Flakes brand," said Joanna Grennes, senior director, morning foods R&D at Kellogg. "Given that it was a fan request, it was very important for us to get the right flavor combination."
According to Ms. Grennes, the delivery of the cinnamon flavor within the coating of the flakes in the new product is very different from Tony's Cinnamon Krunchers, which were on the market from 2003 to 2005.
The introduction comes as Frosted Flakes has started to post sales gains, a welcome sign in any category, but particularly in cereal, which has long been challenged by other breakfast options. Sales in Kellogg's U.S. morning foods division, which includes cereal, fell 3.8% in the third quarter.
"What we're seeing on Frosted Flakes is that the 'Let Your Gr-r-reat Out' campaign that we launched this summer is working. The results are very encouraging so far and we've actually restored the Frosted Flakes brand to growth," Mr. Schwan said.
Cinnamon Frosted Flakes will be introduced with a November rollout at Walmart followed by a broader national release in January 2017. The advertising push will include Tony the Tiger and there are plans for TV spots from Leo Burnett and digital elements from VML. Edelman's Krispr team dedicated to Kellogg is handling public relations. Kellogg declined to disclose details of its marketing budget, though Mr. Schwan said it has "a very robust plan behind Cinnamon Frosted Flakes."
The target audience for the product is the dads and tweens that Frosted Flakes is already trying to reach with the "Let Your Gr-r-reat Out" messaging it began using this summer.
Frosted Flakes sees about 60% of consumption coming from kids and about 40% from adults, Mr. Schwan said.
Other Frosted Flakes flavors have had mixed results. Past varieties included Banana Frosted Flakes, which were around from 1981 to 1984; Cocoa Frosted Flakes, on shelves from 1997 to 2001; and Frosted Flakes Gold, a honey flavor that was for sale from 2008 to 2009. Newer versions include Frosted Flakes Energy Clusters, introduced in 2015, and Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows, introduced earlier this year. Those two remain on the market along with Choco Zucaritas, a chocolate version introduced in 2012.