- Clif Bar has introduced three new items, including its first cereal product, according to the company. The Clif Energy Granola cereal comes in four flavors: blueberry crisp, cinnamon almond, cocoa almond and white chocolate macadamia nut.
- Clif Bar says its granola is crafted in large clusters that include a pea protein that provides extra crispness and helps the cereal stand up to and float in milk. The other two new products — Clif Fruit Smoothie Filled Energy Bars and Clif Sweet & Salty bars — are more reflective of the company's previous items.
- “All of our offerings are crafted with purpose, providing nutrition to deliver energy for whatever your needs may be," Dan Hickle, vice president brand marketing, CLIF, said in a statement. "Whether you’re biking through the city, taking your dog on a hike or training for a triathlon, our new products satisfy your hunger and provide the energy needed for every adventure.”
Despite a consumer push away from cereal in favor of bars and other quick options for breakfast, Clif Bar decided to enter the cereal segment with its Clif Energy Granola. While sales of both cold and hot cereals have fallen 17% to $10.6 billion in 2016 from $12.7 billion seven years earlier, the segment is still lucrative and ripe for an overhaul.
Perhaps Clif Bar has a different target than breakfast in mind. A surprising benefit for cereal is recent years has been the uptick in snacking. Millennial consumers eat cold cereals as a snack food rather than just for breakfast, which has lead manufacturers to rethink the category. In fact, cereal makers are finding out that sugary, indulgent flavors of yesteryear are appealing to millennials who are turning to them as a late-night snack or after-dinner treat.
Clif Energy Granola is a logical product extension for Clif because it is taking an existing product, bars, and modifying it for the cereal market. Clif's cereal also is gluten-free and certified organic, two popular trends that Clif can continue to capitalize on with its new cereal.
As consumers snack more and cut back on cereal, General Mills and other food manufactuters have done the opposite — taking prominent cereals such as Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Golden Grams and turning them into bars. In this case, consumers looking for a sustained energy boost in the morning on their way to work or on an outdoor hike could munch on the cereal in the morning, with or without milk.
Still, Clif is not alone in taking a cereal bar brand and introducing the bowl and spoon version. Nature Valley, which has been around since 1975 and is owned by General Mills, offers both bars and bagged versions of its granola. Smaller, health-focused companies such as Kind have crossed the aisle with some success and are offering both options in hopes of capturing a wider audience and reinvigorating soggy cereal sales.
The cereal aisle is crowded. Whether Clif Bar is able to marry its health and wellness image in an attempt to capitalize on the present success that sugary cereals are experiencing remains to be seen. However, if it is intending to position its new granola as a snack, it may serve the company better to play with more adventurous flavors that could help its product gain premium positioning. One thing Clif has going for it is its name and consumer perception as a health-focused company, factors that could give it an advantage as it enters a new market segment.