Health and wellness at the heart of Post innovation efforts

by Keith Nunes
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ST. LOUIS — During the 13-week period ended Dec. 29, 2012, Post Holdings L.L.C. saw its share of the cereal market decline 0.5 points vs. the first quarter of the previous year. In an effort to regain that share and more, the company is focusing on targeting different consumer segments. One category is health and wellness.

“New Grape Nuts Fit is Grape Nuts for today’s consumers who are looking for their food not only to taste good, but also for their food to give them sustained energy,” said Terry Block, president and chief operating officer. “Grape Nuts Fit has all the whole grain goodness of Grape Nuts plus vanilla-sweetened protein clusters and delicious cranberries with 6 grams of protein per serving.

“It is brought to you by the same cereal that fueled Sir Edmund Hillary to summit the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, 60 years ago. Our new marketing campaign also plays on Sir Edmund’s heroic achievement and encourages us all, with the callout, what’s your mountain?”

The company also plans to put additional marketing muscle behind its Shredded Wheat brand by promoting the results of a survey of doctors that found 9 out of 10 said they would recommend Shredded Wheat as part of a healthy diet to reduce the risk of heart disease.

“The 100-year-old recipe for Post Shredded Wheat includes only one ingredient: whole-grain wheat,” Mr. Block said. “It is a powerful and meaningful message, and we will be telling it on TV, print and digitally.”

Post also has plans in the health and wellness space for the recently acquired Attune Foods business, for which it paid $9.2 million. Attune is a maker of high-fiber and gluten-free cereals as well as organic crackers and bars featuring probiotics.

Mr. Block said the acquisition of Attune gives Post a foothold in the natural foods channel, where he considers the company underrepresented, and Attune’s organic and probiotic platforms offer the company future options.

Mergers and acquisitions will also remain a focus for Post’s management team. As of Dec. 31, the company had approximately $300 million in cash available.

“M.&A. remains a central piece to Post’s value building,” said Robert Vitale, chief financial officer. “Obtaining long-term capital enhances our M.&A. capacity, but it has a carrying cost while un-deployed. Our M.&A. efforts are aggressive but disciplined, so the timing of utilizing the cash remains uncertain.”
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