In January, General Mills will begin selling Cheerios Ancient Grains, with the aim of being “the first large cereal brand to bring [ancient grains] mainstream,” General Mills’ marketing manager for innovation, Alan Cunningham, told Bakery and Snacks.
The trendy and newly mainstream-marketable grains to be featured will be quinoa, oats, and two wheat grains, Kamut Khorasan and spelt.
The reason for the new (or neo-Neolithic, perhaps) interest in these ancient grains is not for their health value or even an increased consumer awareness in grain options, but because the words alone make them more desirable.
General Mills is hoping that a perceived focus toward natural foods will remedy a current trend of falling cereal sales.
“General Mills has found that grocery shoppers equate the words alone with healthy, simple, nutrient-dense food,” Cunningham told The Wall Street Journal. In comparison to last year, a General Mills spokesman noted that the number of foods that mention “ancient grains” has risen by 50 percent compared to last year.
It doesn’t matter that many shoppers don’t know exactly what an ancient grain is, General Mills executives told the publication. Nor does it matter that the new variety isn’t healthier than regular Cheerios.
A healthier consumer option “wasn’t the motivation for this product,” a senior researcher told The Wall Street Journal.
For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.