BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — The Kellogg Co. has partnered with Addison, Ill.-based Mistica Foods, L.L.C., a protein processing and innovation company, to launch ready-to-cook chicken breast bites breaded with Cheez-It original crackers. The chicken breast bites are now available to customers in Wal-Mart stores across the country and will expand to other national retailers this winter, the companies said.
|Wendy Davidson, president, U.S. Specialty Channel, Kellogg Co.|
“We are very pleased to partner with Mistica Foods and be the first to offer a cracker-breaded chicken product to the marketplace” said Wendy Davidson, president, U.S. Specialty Channel, Kellogg Co. “This new product introduction represents an opportunity to expand one of the most beloved brands to a new consumer category.”
While the use of crushed chips and crackers has been an on-trend cooking technique used for years, it has not carried over into the retail market, the companies said. For Kellogg, the partnership represents another way the company is shifting its focus from volume to value. By incorporating Cheez-It crackers into the breaded chicken breast bite product the company is building on its strategy to develop products for new eating occasions.
During a Feb. 17 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Paul Norman, senior vice-president and president of Kellogg North America, called Cheez-It a “powerhouse” based on its standing as Kellogg’s biggest brand in North America.
|Paul Norman, senior vice-president and president of Kellogg North America|
“The interesting thing about Cheez-It, it is still really a cracker brand that lives in the cracker aisle in a box in a bag,” Mr. Norman said. “There are huge opportunities for us to accelerate growth across Cheez-It if we can put Cheez-It more within arm’s reach of more people wherever they shop, where they choose to consume.”
The new partnership with Mistica seems to fit the strategy of unlocking more of the cracker brand’s potential.
Founded in 2014 by Monika R. Walas, Mistica Foods provides custom menu and supply chain solutions to food service and retail channels. The company offers products under the Mistica Ranch Meats brand name.“Mistica Foods is both excited and proud to be able to partner with the Kellogg Co. and offer an unique Cheez-It original cracker breaded, ready-to-cook chicken breast bite with a distinctive taste and amazing flavor,” said Ms. Walas, president of Mistica.