- RXBAR has introduced single-serve oatmeal cups the company said are made with the same ingredients found in other RXBAR products, including egg white protein, almonds, dates. They also include gluten-free oats.
- RX A.M. Oats come in three varieties — chocolate, maple and apple cinnamon — and each cup contains 12 ounces of protein and 6 ounces of fiber. The product is available online and will be at select grocery retailers beginning next month, the company said in a release.
- RXBAR, which was acquired by Kellogg in 2017, said hot cereal has become a $1.3 billion category. The company was quoting dollar sales figures from Information Resources, Inc., for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 30, 2018.
With this single-serve oatmeal product, RXBAR is tapping into the popular hot cereal category but using the same healthy ingredient approach that helped it achieve success for its trademark protein bars and nut butter products.
Company founder Peter Rahal indicated as much to Food Business News back in March when RX A.M. Oats were previewed at Natural Products Expo West. He said the idea was to bring the brand's nutritional philosophy to the morning meal.
Recent sales data underscore oatmeal's increasing appeal. The 2018 IRI data cited by RXBAR showed sales for the four largest hot cereal manufacturers — Quaker, B&G, Post and Bob's Red Mill — were all up for the 52-week period ending Dec. 30 of this past year.
Smaller competitors in the single-serve oatmeal category include Nature's Path, which makes innovative organic varieties such as Coconut Cashew; Purely Elizabeth, offering flavors such as Raspberry Pitaya to appeal to adventurous consumers; and Straw Propeller, which has come up with yet more exotic flavors including Indian Curry and Moroccan Spice.
Oatmeal's convenience factor is a big draw, with manufacturers making more single-serve cups of oats that only need water and a few minutes in the microwave or overnight in the refrigerator to prepare. This simplicity is important to consumers too busy in the mornings to put together a more time-consuming hot breakfast. Not only is oatmeal easy to make, but it also provides protein and fiber that maintains energy levels longer.
RXBAR is using the same packaging design for its RX A.M. Oats as it has for its other products, so the solid colors accompanied by a short list of ingredients should be easily recognizable to fans. Given the popularity of oatmeal and the company's other items, RXBAR could see similar success with this new product, which would also be a boost for parent company Kellogg. Sales of its cold cereal have slid recently and Kellogg has cut jobs in Europe and North America, including at RXBAR.
Kellogg's scale and resources were viewed as key to helping RXBAR achieve additional growth when the acquisition was announced in the fall of 2017. The parent company's distribution network has likely contributed to RXBAR's recent success, with the almond and peanut butters seeing 13% growth in distribution year over year, according to Nielsen data cited by Food Business News, and its protein bars are now being sold in more than 125,000 locations in the U.S.
Kellogg executives said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February that the brand's distribution more than doubled last year and sales had grown 180% in measured channels.
With its newly created Insurgent Brands umbrella company on hand to help it expand into new product lines, RXBAR will probably continue to forge ahead with introducing additional items. However, it will be important not to overextend itself to the point it becomes less distinctive and loses sight of what made its approach so appealingly different in the first place.