General Mills and the Campbell Soup Company are doing some really good work to change the poor eating and drinking habits of kids. General Mills, which already increased the whole grain content in its children’s cereal, has now agreed to reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids. Campbell’s has created a line of heart healthy sugar and fructose syrup-free V-8 Fusion fruit drinks and marketing them to schools.
Kids love cereal and they love soda and juice, so if the right products are available, affordable and actually taste good, kids will go for them — reducing obesity and diabetes down the road.
I have always loved the marketing ploy of Campbell’s: one V-8 is like multiple servings of vegetables. That idea carries over to its V-8 Fusion and V-8 Splash drinks. It’s a great, focused branding idea — pregnant with healthy consumer imagery (salt aside). General Mills is trying to make whole grain a differentiating branding idea, but it’s juggling that with a new effort to reduce sugar. It’s doing the right thing, but dividing its message to conquer. Were I General Mills, I’d work on the whole grain idea and leave the sugar-free as a side bar. Sugar free is a bandwagon issue, whole grain is big. Peace!