BOCA RATON, FLA. — Teff, an ancient grain, is a key ingredient in Kellogg Co.’s comprehensive turnaround plan for its Kashi brand, which chairman and chief executive officer John Bryant called “a source of weakness for us over the last couple years.” The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company is set to launch Kashi Teff Thins, a line of savory, gluten-free crackers, as part of a spate of “progressive, pioneering innovation” executives hope will spark growth in the business.
|John Bryant, chairman and c.e.o. of Kellogg|
“We’ve taken the steps to fix (Kashi), and we’re seeing strong progress,” Mr. Bryant said during a Feb. 17 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. “We moved the team back out to California. We’ve given them a great deal of latitude and autonomy, and they are moving with incredible agility to ensure the food is on trend and they come out with great new innovation.
“Across 2015 each quarter improved, and in 2016 we expect to see the business back to growth on a full-year basis. So, some tremendous progress here.”
However, while Kashi’s cereal business is showing signs of stabilizing since efforts began, the brand’s snack category is “still in decline significantly,” said Paul Norman, senior vice-president and president, Kellogg North America, “and we require this innovation to step up and perform.”
Forthcoming launches include a line of Kashi Savory Bars in three varieties, including quinoa corn and roasted red pepper, basil white bean and olive oil, and chickpea curry and chili. Kashi Teff Thins flavors include red sea salt, lemon chickpea chili, and tomato lentil barbecue. Also on tap is a line of organic powder blends featuring 15 grams of protein and organic super greens and fruits.
|Paul Norman, senior v.p. and president of Kellogg North America|
“Powders is new and different,” Mr. Norman said. “It’s going to be all incremental, and we know that that is a space that is growing rapidly, and we have a right to play and a right to win there.”
Hitting shelves now are Kashi GoLean Plant Power nutrition bars, featuring grains, nuts, seeds and pea crisps layered with nut butter or sunflower seed butter. Varieties include salted dark chocolate and nuts, honey pecan baklava, dark chocolate cashew chia, and peanut hemp crunch.
“We will lead in plant-based nutrition with the Kashi brand going forward,” Mr. Norman said.
In addition to innovation, the company said it spent 15 to 18 months reengineering and renovating its Kashi products to become Non-GMO Project verified, with half of the portfolio now organic.
“So our food is right,” Mr. Norman said. “We can now lean in and communicate to those food forward consumers to really kick-start the growth in Kashi, something we haven’t been able to do over the past year until we got the food exactly where it needed to be.”He added: “How quick it all comes may be a challenge. But we're not talking one year or another year here; we're talking a difference of quarter to quarter how it comes back.”