Posts tagged with "General Mills"

80% of Americans test positive for chemical in Cheerios, Quaker Oats linked to infertility, delayed puberty

February 16, 2024

Four out of five Americans are being exposed to a little-known chemical found in popular oat-based foods—including Cheerios and Quaker Oats—that is linked to reduced fertility, altered fetal growth, and delayed puberty, reports the New York Post.

The Environmental Working Group has published a study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology that found a staggering 80% of Americans tested positive for a harmful pesticide called chlormequat.

The “highly toxic agricultural chemical” is federally allowed to be used on oats and other grains imported to the United States, according to the EWG. When applied to oat and grain crops, chlormequat alters a plant’s growth—preventing it from bending over and thus making it easier to harvest.

Just as troubling, we detected the chemical in 92% of oat-based foods purchased in May 2023, including Quaker Oats and Cheerios,” the nonprofit organization said in a report published alongside the group’s findings.

General Mills, which makes Cheerios; and PepsiCo, which makes Quaker Oats, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Research contact: @nypost

Americans can’t afford gas—and that’s bad news for beef jerky

April 15, 2022

Gas doesn’t just fuel cars; it also powers Marlboros, Red Bull, and Doritos. In fact, an estimated 80% of the fuel purchased in the United States comes from stations with convenience stores, which bring in about $475 billion of revenue each year, according to IBISWorld data.

And more specifically, reports CNN, one-quarter of that take comes from the 44% of gas guzzlers who come into the store each time they hit the pumps to purchase groceries, snacks, beer and cigarettes.

So as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and record-high inflation rates cause crude oil prices to shoot up, executives at PepsiCo, General Mills, and Conagra (the company behind Slim Jim beef jerky) are biting their nails.

The national gas average price in the United States was about $4.10 per gallon on Wednesday, April 13, according to data compiled by AAA. While that’s a little bit under the record high, it’s still high enough to make 60% of Americans reconsider their driving habits and make some lifestyle changes, according to a survey by the automotive service company.

Less driving and fewer trips to the pump typically serve a double hit to convenience store retailers: a loss of foot traffic and money left for discretionary purchases.

“Our [convenience store] retailer contacts have recently highlighted some signs of strain on consumer spending as gas prices remain stubbornly high, with one retailer noting a slowdown in March in-store purchases across categories,” wrote Bonnie Herzog, managing director at Goldman Sachs, in a research note Wednesday.

Rising gas prices also appear to be weighing on packaged snack food sales. “This is evidenced by the slowing volume trend seen across most major snack food categories and outright volume declines for single-serve chocolate and jerky meat,” she wrote.

About 83% of purchases made at convenience stores are for immediate consumption, or impulse buys,—typically the first thing to go when inflation increases.

“Anytime you sell immediate consumption and people’s pocketbooks are pinched you could lose sales,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of Strategic Industry Initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Gas prices are top of Americans’ minds, said Jason Zelinski, director of Convenience Channel Accounts at NielsenIQ. But they haven’t greatly impacted other sales yet. He noticed a shift toward increased visits to gas stations—people are topping off their tanks more frequently instead of paying for a full tank.

Consumer Edge, a data insights company, looked at the top three fuel retail brands in the United States (Costco, Sam’s Club, and Kroger) and noticed a spike in fuel sales as a percentage of total sales through the month of March.

“Although average fuel prices per gallon have gone up, some consumers can no longer afford to fill their tanks each trip and are making the same-priced transactions for fewer gallons, but filling up more often,” they wrote.

And while there are certainly fears of an upcoming recession, unemployment remains at record lows. Americans are still driving to work. Walmart, Costco and convenience stores are tying product promotions or discounts to the purchase of gas in order to encourage store visits.

Research contact: @CNN

Kind expands into four new supermarket aisles—including frozen desserts

February 11, 2020

New York City-based Kind, the snack brand—which claims to have created the ubiquitous modern bar category (specifically, to-go bars with easily identifiable ingredientsn 2004, is attempting to extend its success to four new categories, according to a report by Fast Company.

“Since day one, KIND has been obsessed with upholding our brand promise – to create innovative, premium foods that are both healthy and tasty,” Daniel Lubetzky, founder and executive chairman of the 16-year-old company, said in a press release. “While these categories are new for us, each is consistent with how we’ve always entered new categories – with an eye to creatively elevate people’s overall experience.”

Starting this month, you’ll see Kind expanding into four grocery sections:

  • Frozen desserts.Kind Frozen bars are plant-based, creamy frozen treat bars made from nutrient-dense nuts, layered with smooth dark chocolate and nut butter;
  • Treats. Kind Bark comes in dark chocolate flavors with various combinations of nuts.
  • Cold foods. Kind Nut Butter Bar is the company’s first-ever refrigerated, smooth and creamy nut butter protein bar.
  • Kind Clusters mix nuts with seed and fruit clusters, halfway between granola and snack mix.

Jumping into new aisles is a risky, high-failure venture for food brands, but, Fast Company notes, these forays are essential for growth: Kind has hovered around 5% of the bar market for years, facing steep competition from copycats and much larger competitors like Quaker Oats (owned by PepsiCo) and Nature’s Valley (owned by General Mills). The company has previously experimented with expansions into breakfast bars, granola, and fruit snacks.

Along with bitter rival Clif Bar, Kind is one of few still-privately owned ambitious food companies. (Kind received a cash infusion two years ago when Mars, the candy bar and pet food company, took a minority stake, paving the way for today’s category expansions.

Research contact: @FastCompany