General Mills to target emerging markets

18 February 2010

NEW YORK: General Mills plans to target "boomers", "millenials" and Hispanic consumers in the US, as well as middle class shoppers in China, as it seeks to drive growth in the next five years.

At the Consumer Analysts Group of New York conference, Ian Friendly, the company's chief operating officer, discussed how the firm's marketing strategy would evolve going forward.

The packaged food specialist is forecast to generate an overall revenue of $14.7bn (€10.72bn; £9.73bn) this year, and is aiming for annual sales of $18bn by 2015.

One of its target groups, the over-55s, members of which are on the increase due to the ageing US population, consume more cereal per capita than any other age group.

"We'll continue to enhance our current products and develop completely new ones to help boomers defy the calendar," Friendly said. 

Americans of Hispanic origin are also predicted to be responsible for 53% of US population growth over the next five years.

Reflecting this, General Mills' media spending targeted at this demographic rose by 70% in 2009, and will continue to grow in future.

Friendly added: "We continue to customise our messages to drive growth with multicultural consumers."

Meanwhile, the firm plans to reach tech-savvy Millennials, defined as those aged between 16 and 33 years old, via corporate Twitter accounts, blogs and a recently-launched iPhone app.

Commenting on the growth strategies, General Mills chairman and ceo Ken Powell said: "We see key consumer trends and retail customer developments that will shape our future."

"We are developing the products and business capabilities that will help us continue to thrive."

Internationally, General Mills, which owns brands including Yoplait yoghurt and Cheerios cereal, will focus on the "rising middle class" in developing markets such as China. 

Data sourced from AdAge/Dow Jones/Reuters; additional content by Warc staff