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The "baked taste" craze in cold cereals is crossing over into hot cereals, as Nabisco Foods introduces Banana Nut Bread hot cereal under the Cream of Wheat banner.

Nabisco will spend an estimated $3 million to $5 million on advertising for the new product.

In testing, Nabisco found consumers "wanted indulgent flavors," said Lori Halivopoulos, business director-hot cereals. "The flavors that tested best reminded people of baked goods, flavors like apple crisp and blueberry cobbler."

She said the company also took note of the success of such ready-to-eat cereals as Post's Banana Nut Crunch, Blueberry Morning and Cranberry Almond Crunch from Kraft Foods.

The more recent Betty Crocker line from General Mills is yet another example of the "baked" trend in cold cereal.

The new Nabisco variety also aims at bringing younger adults into a category that's popular with an older crowd.

"This is an adult cereal, an all-family line," said Ms. Halivopoulos, noting that women with children find it appealing as they search for an indulgent brand they can call their own.


TV and print ads that broke last week from FCB/Leber Katz Partners, New York, picture a spoon that's jealous of a knife because the knife gets to slice banana nut bread. Sampling is a big part of the introduction. Consumers across the country received samples in weekend newspapers on Oct. 5-6. Nabisco also is undertaking a major sampling effort in New York.

Nabisco could use a new-product lift. Its hot cereal sales of $104.4 million were down 3%, trailing the $108 million in sales for private-label products, up 25.8% for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8, according to Information Resources Inc.

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