Organizational Strategy / Product Development

The Power of the Consumer

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A few months ago, I reported about a growing trend of companies bringing back discontinued products in response to consumer demands in the article “I Want it Now”. I discussed the power consumers possess in influencing what goods companies offer to us. A company’s sole purpose is to create products that consumers are interested in buying, and recently firms have been listening more to what exactly these consumer interests are. Brands like Burger King and Coca-Cola brought back their discontinued Chicken Fries and Surge soda, respectively, due to constant demand for their return from the public. Now, General Mills is similarly following suit by returning its French Toast Crunch cereal to store shelves nationwide.

The cereal, a close relative to the brand’s classic Cinnamon Toast Crunch, entered the market in 1995 but was later discontinued in 2006 due to bleak sales. During this period, French Toast Crunch was still sold in Canadian stores under the fitting French name ‘Croque Pain Doré’. U.S. consumers seeking the sweet, crunchy cereal purchased boxes through e-commerce websites like Amazon or eBay from Canadian sellers, where they faced high international shipping fees and long deliveries. These French Toast Crunch lovers decided to turn to the web and created Facebook groups, wrote numerous online petitions, and e-mailed General Mills in an attempt to bring the cereal back to American stores.

Given the continuous and frequent requests for the cereal’s return, General Mills decided to reboot its production and sale in the states.  On December 5th, General Mills announced the cereal’s return on its official blog, www.blog.generalmills.com. A few months earlier in March, the brand released an article on this blog detailing six of its cereals which were no longer in production, with French Toast Crunch making the list. In the post, General Mills representative Lynne Morioka ironically reported, “Sorry, we currently have no plans to bring back French Toast Crunch in the U.S., but never say never!” (Morioka). The majority of the comments left on the post voiced consumers’ desire for the discontinued French Toast Crunch to return to stores.

In addition to the boost in sales from reintroducing the French Toast Crunch cereal, General Mills will likely improve its relationship and overall brand image with the public. By listening to and acting on consumers’ desires, General Mills shows that it aims to do the best for the customer rather than just itself as a corporation. I suspect that in the upcoming months we may hear news about other companies introducing discontinued products that are strongly demanded by consumers, and I am still hoping Post’s Oreo-O’s is one of these products.

Stephanie Khodzhayan

Morioka, Lynne. “6 Clearly Departed Cereals.” Taste of General Mills. General Mills, 7 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Morioka, Lynne. “We’ve Got BIG News about French Toast Crunch –.”Taste of General Mills. General Mills, 05 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

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