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Kellogg's Worldwide--A Study In Cereal Consumption

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Kellogg's Worldwide--A Study in Cereal Consumption

15 December 2005


The Kellogg's company was born in 1894 when the brothers Kellogg accidentally discovered cereal flakes while experimenting with food production techniques. The company was officially launched in 1902. At this time the company's only product was Corn Flakes. William Kellogg instilled values of innovative marketing, quality products, and information about healthy diets in the company. Kellogg's was the first company to include nutrition messages, recipes, and product information on cereal boxes. In 1906, William Kellogg decided to launch the company's first ad campaign, a full-page ad in Ladies Home Journal. Sales rose from 33 to 2900 cases per day.

The company's first exploits abroad started in 1924, when Kellogg's began to sell Corn Flakes and All-Bran in Great Britain. Rice Krispies appeared just a few years later, and Frosties began to be sold in 1954. In 1978, Kellogg's began its expansion in the UK by building a factory at Wrexham. It was considered as one of the world's most modern food production factories. Kellogg's also expanded its reach by starting information programs for schools, health organizations, and consumers. From the UK, Kellogg's expanded all over the world. It currently produces more than 40 cereals in 19 different countries on six different continents. Corn Flakes has grown to become a cereal standard, found in all countries where Kellogg's is present. Its simple, neutral taste appeals to all palettes and it is easily customizable.

Kellogg's has always been an innovator concerning advertising and marketing. Its main advertising objectives are to provide product information while at the same time being socially responsible, as iterated in their philosophy: "Kellogg is committed to providing wholesome, quality spot advertising that is truthful and not misleading to consumers and to placing its commercials with quality television programming. In keeping with this commitment, Kellogg believes it has a responsibility to produce advertising, and to place those ads in programs that communicate the standards of good taste and fair practice that guide all of our corporate actions." Kellogg's also takes great pride in its marketing department, which contains seven sub-departments: product management, new product development, consumer affairs, promotion marketing, nutrition affairs, and product communications/PR. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Kellogg's marketing philosophy is their mantra "Think global, act local."

We used Kellogg's as our standard when researching cereal-eating habits around the world. We created an online survey using that surveyed consumers on whether they ate cereal, when they ate cereal, their taste preferences, their purchasing influences and so on and so forth. We sent the survey to 20 respondents for each of four regions: the United States, the U.K./Ireland, Germany/Austria, and France. We then analyzed the results and compared them to the Kellogg's product line and advertising and marketing techniques in the respective countries and finally, compared them to each other.


A) Results of the Survey:

Cereal is a very popular food among Americans. Nearly all of the Americans surveyed eat cereal for one reason or another. Those who do not eat cereal choose not to do so for various reasons, among them being blandness, lack of protein, lack of substance, and disliking the taste or texture of cereal. One respondent seemed to be very concerned about his cereal becoming soggy. Instead of cereal, these respondents choose to eat such things as fruit, eggs, bacon, and pancakes.

Among those polled who do eat cereal (most of them), tastes were widely varied. Most of them had been eating cereal all their lives, or at least since they were small children and thus for as long as they could remember. The average respondent who eats cereal eats it between 3 and 5 times a week. Most of those surveyed started eating cereal because of family influence. It seems that all generations in the United States consume cereal and it is not only popular among children

or young adults. The second most influential factor is nutritional benefits, followed by advertising and friends. The most popular reason (by far) to eat cereal is as breakfast, followed by as a snack, and finally as an alternative to a traditional meal.

Concerning the cereal taste itself, Americans seem to like a wide variety. Fruit and plain were liked almost equally, although fruit seemed to be the overall favorite. After that, sugared and chocolate tied for second place. Among other types of cereal liked by those polled are granola and those with soy and fiber added. Kellogg's is by far the brand of choice of Americans, however, the preferred

specific product varied greatly, including cereals such as: Special K, Honey Nut Cheerios, All Bran, Golden Grahms, Kix, Rice Krispie Treat Cereal, Cheerios (plain), Cocoa Puffs, Kashi Go Lean, Frosted Flakes, Smacks, and Raisin Bran Crunch. An overwhelming majority of respondents add milk to their cereal, although some also add fruit or yogurt. Interestingly, only one respondent said that they add sugar to their cereal.

Expectations for cereal are high among Americans, most wanting a blend of good taste, nutritional benefits, and hunger satisfaction. Lower numbers of respondents also desired a low calorie content. The most important factor considered when buying a cereal is taste, followed by price and nutritional value, then habit, then packaging and advertising. Most Americans expectations for cereal have not changed since they started eating it, but those who have say that they now expect more nutrition from their cereal and are less interested in "junky" or "sugary" cereals such as Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, etc., which are often considered to be kids' cereals.

B) Product Line:

Kellogg's currently distributes more than fifty cereals in the United States. Many trends can be found among all these different types of cereals. Perhaps the most evident is a trend towards a healthier lifestyle, which is evident in the survey's results. Many respondents said that nutritional benefits were a main factor in choosing their cereal, and many high-fiber, low-sugar, and low-calories cereals were listed among the favorites.


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