MINNEAPOLIS — Marking its first cereal brand launch in more than 15 years, General Mills, Inc. is introducing Tiny Toast in strawberry and blueberry flavors. Tiny Toast contains no high-fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources and is one of only a few cereals in the category to be flavored with real fruit, according to the company.
The cereal features crunchy, toast-shaped bites sprinkled with real fruit bits. Each serving contains 13 grams of whole grains and 9 grams of sugar.
“Consumers’ tastes continue to evolve, but they remain steadfast in their search for options with wholesome, pantry-friendly ingredients,” said Alan Cunningham, senior marketing manager at General Mills. “This inspired our development process, and we went where few brands in the cereal category have gone before, using real fruit. With real ingredients and a truly irresistible taste, we know consumers will agree Tiny Toast was worth the wait.”
The product was developed to have an “all-family appeal” similar to Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the company said. Work began on the product more than a year ago. At first, the company considered making a layered cereal with a fruit filling, but the concept was too costly to pursue, Mr. Cunningham said.
“The R.&D. team said, ‘Well, if fruit on the inside is good, maybe it’s just as good on the outside.’ This led to the coating of real fruit,” he said.
The development team considered a number of flavors before landing on blueberry and strawberry.
“Consumers told us that they wanted the fruit to have a uniform coverage on the cereal,” said Mike Evenson, product developer in the Innovation, Technology and Quality division at General Mills. “They didn’t want us to put in whole slices of fruit.”
Consumer testing of Tiny Toast yielded positive feedback, he said.
“People told us that both varieties tasted real, and not fake like they typically associate with fruit-flavored cereals,” Mr. Evenson said. “We heard from several consumers that the Blueberry Tiny Toast tastes like a blueberry muffin, which is just awesome praise. That’s exactly what we were going for. When we heard that, we knew we were on to something good.”
The launch of Tiny Toast follows General Mills’ announcement last year to remove artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from its cereals. Currently, more than 80% of the company’s cereals do not contain these ingredients. At the beginning of the year, General Mills released its first wave of new cereal recipes, which includes Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Chocolate Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios and Fruity Cheerios. The updated General Mills’ cereal recipes now include fruit and vegetables juices, as well as spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the red, yellow, orange and purple colors in Trix and Fruity Cheerios. Reese’s Puffs and Golden Grahams will incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same taste that adults and children have come to expect, General Mills said.Tiny Toast is hitting store shelves nationwide in June and will be supported with a social media campaign as well as digital video and in-store advertising.