Wheaties, Cheerios now crisper in milk

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS General Mills Inc. is adding more crunch to the morning.

The cereal maker has changed the way it toasts its popular Cheerios and Wheaties to make them taste better and stay crunchy longer in milk.

The company says the changes are subtle and "might not be something that people will recognize right away," spokeswoman Kathryn Newton said Wednesday. The reformulated cereals should be in stores in October.

Cheerios, the company's top-selling cereal, will be crisper, with a more pronounced toasted oat flavor, Newton said. It also will have about 10 percent less sodium than before.

The new Wheaties also will be crisper, and the taste will be milder.

No changes are planned for Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon and Multi-Grain Cheerios.

General Mills makes changes in about one-third of its nearly two dozen cereals each year to improve flavor and texture, Newton said. Cheerios was last reformulated about 10 years ago. It has been a little longer than that for Wheaties, she said.

Regular Cheerios holds about 3.6 percent of the U.S. cereal market by volume, down from 4.7 percent in 1989. But specialty Cheerios may have siphoned off some volume from regular Cheerios.

"A wise company would never be complacent about a brand leader, and some companies try to improve on their brand leader all the time," said Philip Kotler, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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