NESTLE'S NEW LINE BREAKS WITH TOLL HOUSE TRADITION: BIG DOUGH BACKS BREAK & BAKE; INTRODUCTION TO SHAKE MARKET

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Nestle is expected to spend heavily against new packaging for its Toll House line of refrigerated dough in an attempt to revolutionize the $300 million category.

Next month, the marketer introduces Toll House Break & Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rich Brownies dough wrapped in flat, rectangular packs instead of plastic-wrapped tubes. The idea: convenience-minded consumers can easily tear the perforated sheets without a knife, to bake up bar-shaped cookies or brownies.

"This is a revolutionary endeavor for Nestle and for the category," said one executive close to the company. "Within two to three years, Nestle is predicting that all refrigerated dough packaging will be transformed into this type of packaging and that their share of the category will grow considerably."

Nestle has put very little advertising against its ready-to-bake cookie dough -- less than $1 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But the Break & Bake varieties, which hit store shelves Oct. 10, are expected to spark substantial growth in ad spending -- to as much as $10 million, according to one industry observer.

ADS START IN OCTOBER

TV ads, via J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, will run from late October through April enticing time-starved consumers to "Just break . . . bake . . . and enjoy!" Newspaper inserts will offer the same message as well as coupons.

When consumers purchase rival products such as Pillsbury Co. cookie dough during October through December, they will receive coupons for Break & Bake on the back of receipts. In-store displays tying Nestle Toll House with the "Got milk?" campaign will also appear in aisles through March.

Pillsbury is the clear leader in the cookie dough category. But its sales grew less than 1% to $233 million for the year ended July 18 while Nestle's sales rose 16% to $52 million, according to Information Resources Inc. The rise is likely due to Nestle's efforts to emphasize the iconic Toll House sub-brand on its existing packages of ready-to-bake dough.

Taking convenience one step further is almost a mandate for food companies in the pre-prepared era. Kellogg Co. recently introduced a perforated version of its Pop-Tarts called Snak-Stix, for on-the-go snacking, that is selling well, and no-spoon-needed yogurt, dubbed Go-Gurt, is the new wave for General Mills'

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