Special K US annual sales slump 9.7%

Special K sales slump: 'Obviously there’s a concern… They need to do something to keep people interesting in the brand, says Mintel innovation head

US total sales for Special K dropped $56m for the year; a slump that could be rescued with lifestyle-focused NPD, says the head of innovation at Mintel.

Total sales for the 52 weeks ending August 10, 2014 were $521,636,864 - down 9.7% from the same period in 2013, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI.

While sales for its flagship Special K brand were up 14%, the majority of its portfolio was down.

Red Berries sales dropped 13.57%; Multi Grain was down 58.66% and Cinnamon Pecan sales fell even further (70.59%). Special K Blueberry posted sales drops of close to 100% - 98.15%.

Discussing the total 9.7% slump, David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, said it was “a reasonable drop off”.

“Obviously there’s a concern… They need to do something to keep people interested in the brand,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Packaging innovation versus product change

Over the past few years Kellogg had done little to alter the formulation and product of its Special K cereal line, Jago said, choosing to stick to package redesigns instead – some of which had proved successful.

Kellogg launched night-themed packs this summer, for example, promoting its cereals as a night-time snack, he said. “It’s quite interesting – that’s going to stand out in the Special K line. And the pack re-design is actually a really low-cost way of keeping consumers interested in the brand. You change the pack but there are no formulation costs – it’s just a bit of printing.”

However, Jago said Kellogg would need to do more to spark increased interest in Special K and turnaround waning sales.

“I don’t think they want to do anything too radical, because let’s not forget it’s still a multi-million brand. But they need to think about some of the varieties – maybe editing the range just to keep consumers interested,” he said.

Red Berries for example was perhaps not as interesting for consumers as it was a few years ago, he said. “Most flavors in any range have a certain life cycle – that’s not unusual. It might pick up again; it might just be a bit tired.”

Forget dieting, think lifestyle

Kellogg had long positioned its Special K line as more of a good lifestyle choice as consumers lost interest in dieting, and this was a strategy the company should keep, Jago said.

“The number of consumers in any country on a diet has typically been falling, not growing. They don’t have the same believability in those diet plans; Weight Watchers has struggled and you’ve seen Slim Fast fall through the floor. Special K has traditionally been the one that’s survived that, by getting in quite early on with a lifestyle branding.”

US sales of some Special K variants were indicative of the success lifestyle positioning had, he said.

Special K Protein had done exceptionally well with a sales growth of 531% for the period, IRI data indicated, and Special K Oats & Honey also posted a 152% rise in sales.

“Oat is a destination ingredient; consumers are really turned on by oats. Anything with oats and protein is doing really well,” he said.

“…For the longer term, focusing on healthy lifestyle is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Related News

Kellogg compared its Special K Red Berry multigrain porridge to other market-leading porridges

Kellogg UK '30% less fat’ Special K porridge ad banned

Special K Protein delivers 10 g protein per 22 serving - made possible using wheat gluten, soy protein isolates and added lysine

Kellogg NPD scientist: Protein has plenty of challenges

Kellogg CEO on Special K: 'We really need to move that to a weight wellness discussion, really away from reduced calories to the food itself which has tremendous nutrient benefits'

Special K global rebrand set for 2015

Special K's snacks are being rolled out across the US

Special K targets female New Year snacking

Kellogg identifies poor performances in its US cereal portfolio: 'FiberPlus and Crunchy Nut are brands that, quite frankly, have not worked out for us,' says CEO

Kellogg profits slump 16%: ‘Failed innovation’ in US cereal a problem

Kellogg has taken breakfast innovation beyond traditional cereal. Its To Go Shakes are an example of the NPD direction the cereal firm has taken.

Kellogg CEO: Innovation means beverages, hot cereals and breakfast sandwiches

The on-the-go hot cereal Special K Nourish pots are pegged for success in the US, says analyst

Special K Nourish: ‘The concept of hot cereal in the US is a cultural change’, says analyst

Kellogg's Special K multi-grain porridge comes in single-serve sachets and pots

Hot stuff: Special K multi-grain porridge has a competitive edge, says analyst

Special K Nourish is part of Kellogg Australia's healthier 2014 direction, its brand manager says

Kellogg launches Special K Nourish in Australia

Kellogg is making a '60% less fat' claim on pack to appeal to health conscious consumers

Special K targets Swedish women with Cracker Crisps launch

Special K Pastry Crisps pulled in sales of $100.6 million for 2013, ranking third behind Yoplait and Dannon yogurt products

Top 10 CPG brands 2013: Special K and Tostitos make the cut

Kellogg's new three-grain Special K recipe contains 15% less sodium

Special K Australia eyes ‘healthier direction’ after slashing salt

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.