Category Captain: Frozen Entrees: General Mills

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Category Captain: Frozen Entrees: General Mills


General Mills’ commitment to the multiserve entree segment of the $8.8 billion frozen prepared food category is evidenced by its level of innovation, investment in category management tools and capabilities, and consistently high levels of consumer support.

Considering that Italian and Asian cuisines represent 80 percent of two-serve dollar volume, the company’s Wanchai Ferry and Macaroni Grill brands are helping to drive consistent growth while elevating the leadership position of General Mills within these cuisine types.

In particular, Wanchai Ferry’s introduction addressed key consumer needs and leveraged the international success of the brand, as well as extending the brand from its presence within the dry Asian cuisine section into frozen. The eight-SKU line quickly penetrated the market, fueled by an aggressive consumer support plan. Its increases in buy rate and penetration are the highest across all segments and cuisine types in total multiserve entrees.

In July 2010, General Mills introduced four SKUs of Macaroni Grill all-natural, restaurant-quality entrees. Enjoying the highest household penetration rate for any cuisine type, the brand recently added two more flavors to the line. Committed to driving category traffic, General Mills doubled its consumer spending vs. the prior year. In partnership with Macaroni Grill, General Mills will execute a robust digital campaign with online and in-restaurant integration.

Offering a full suite of tools, capabilities and insights to its retail partners, including assortment optimization, aisle audits and a virtual store, the company also enhances its platform with a simulated in-store environment in which items like planograms can be assessed and out-of-stocks can be better understood.

Through annual Nielsen category audits, General Mills has identified which brands should be directly adjacent to each other, as well as how those brands should be shelved to maximize sales rates -- insights that provide retailers with actionable, quantifiable information that in turn provides great benefits to both retailers and overall category health.