In a move that illustrates the tough time the food giants face in marketing nutritious foods that still have sales appeal, the No. 2 cereal player in March will eliminate its lower-sugar versions of Trix and Cocoa Puffs, which have languished on shelves.
Big G did not return calls for comment, but one Southwest grocery executive said General Mills' 75%-less-sugar cereals were hurt by bad publicity when introduced in 2004 because they are made with Splenda instead of sugar. He said Kellogg's reduced-sugar items, one-third-less-sugar versions of Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, have fared much better.
Kellogg is sticking with its reduced-sugar items despite middling sales to "provide desirable options for some consumers," a spokeswoman said. Kraft Foods, too, continues to sell its half-sugar Post Fruity Pebbles.
Consumer shift in attitude?
General Mills has had a hard time profiting from the supposed shift in consumer attitudes toward better nutrition. Its plan to convert all of its cereals to whole grain proved a flop and prompted further market-share losses to leader Kellogg, said Neuberger Berman analyst Bill Leach.