Big G to Roll-Out 80 New Products

Jul 16, 2002 reports that General Mills is getting ready to launch 80 new products in grocery stores by December. The new products will be in addition to a range of improvements to existing products, Chairman and CEO Steve Sanger says.

General Mills has also added 450 people to its retail sales group. Those employees will increase visibility within stores by creating more special merchandise displays, making sure stores do not run out of products and getting new items on the shelves faster, according to Jim Lawrence, chief financial officer.

The company has seen its share price fall by 17 percent from the yearlong high of $52.86 last December since General Mills acquired Pillsbury from U.K. drinks conglomerate Diageo last year. Meanwhile, Kellogg and Kraft rivals have seen their shares rise by healthy margins.

A report in the Aberdeen American News suggests that the drop in shares may be due to General Mills’ failure to concentrate resources on new product development. With increasing pressure from supermarkets to keep prices low, introducing new products may be the best way for the manufacturer to increase revenue.

General Mills is looking to grow unit volume sales rise by four percent during the next year as a result of the changes it is making.

Moderator Comment: What will be the reaction of food retailers to the rollout of 80 new products (albeit in different categories) from a single manufacturer?

New products from General Mills always promise wide consumer
acceptance. Now, where does the space come from? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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