Kellogg UK drops cholesterol-management cereal Optivita

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Datamonitor Consumer's head of food and drink said the delisting was no surprise as consumers turned to simple health messaging like fiber and wholegrains
Datamonitor Consumer's head of food and drink said the delisting was no surprise as consumers turned to simple health messaging like fiber and wholegrains

Related tags: Kellogg company

The Kellogg Company has delisted its oat-based Optivita brand in the UK following a decline in consumer demand, but one analyst says the cereal could have suffered from health claim overload.

The cholesterol-management brand saw sales plummet 27.6% and volumes drop 28.4% for the year ending August 16, 2014, according to IRI data. For the same period the previous year, sales were down 35.8% and volumes 34.8%.

A Kellogg spokesperson said demand for Optivita had declined in recent years and the company wanted to focus on core brands like Special K and All-Bran instead.

“We regularly review our range of cereals in the UK and we have decided to delist Kellogg’s Optivita,”​ she said.

Over complicated?

Mark Whalley, head of food and drink at Datamonitor Consumer, said the delisting wasn’t a huge surprise in light of consumer ideals around breakfast cereals, where natural had overtaken fortified.

“It makes sense in a way. I think that there’s a certain assumption among consumers that breakfast is probably a healthier meal compared to lunch and dinner… But I think it’s simplicity within breakfast is what has been successful – the idea of fiber and wholegrains, for example,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“When you start looking at fortifications that go well beyond this, that’s when it starts to take it to that next level and maybe takes consumers away from the thoughts that the product might actually taste nice,”​ he said.

Cholesterol messaging - a step too far?
Cholesterol messaging - a step too far?

Strong health ideals were also often stronger when consumers considered snacking, he added. “First thing in the morning, are people really that concerned about their cholesterol just 20 minutes after they’ve woken up?” 

Think small…

While Whalley said the concept of fortified cereals was not totally redundant, it would be the smaller, less-known companies that had a chance in the segment.

“It’s potentially easier for a less-reputable brand to do well because consumers almost don’t have the same preconceptions about them,”​ he said.

Kellogg, for example, made Coco Pops as well, he added. “It’s not that people don’t see Kellogg as being healthier in some areas, it’s just that smaller players suffer less from preconceived expectations about what a brand is about.”

However, he warned differentiation would be crucial for new market entrants – something Kellogg had failed to do with its Optivita brand. “From an aesthetics standpoint, the flakes themselves don’t look anything unlike bran flakes… You’ve got to really give the consumer expectations of having something different,”​ he said.

Manufacturers have to offer consumers something different
Manufacturers have to offer consumers something different

Special K and All-Bran focus

Kellogg’s decision to channel its efforts on Special K and All-Bran made sense, Whalley said.

“It does fit in very well with consumers leaning towards things they feel like they understand. There’s a lot of heritage in those brands already and they have simple messages,”​ he said.

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