General Mills targets niche audience with gluten-free products

Audiences far and wide recognize General Mills for its food products. Now the company is targeting a very niche set of diners with the introduction...

Audiences far and wide recognize General Mills for its food products. Now the company is targeting a very niche set of diners with the introduction of gluten-free goods. A small percentage of the population is allergic or sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat. Items like Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix and Rice Chex cereal, which is gluten-free, are being promoted to serve this small group.

A recent Wall Street Journal articlediscussed these products and some of the ways advertising, and trade show and Web site sponsorships are being used to market these goods. General Mills is also using outreach to bloggers who write about gluten-free products, outreach to registered dietitians (RDs) and other healthcare professionals, and its Web sites to reach consumers about these offerings.
"This community is so passionate and they do a good job of informing one another," said Shelly Dvorak, brand PR manager at General Mills who works with the company's cereal products.

"PR is important for promoting these products," adds Pam Becker, also a brand PR manager with the company, working with the company's dessert mixes. "This kind of marketing strategy has worked well. Because this is a niche group, it's very easy to reach them this way."

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