When you think of baking, more likely than not, Betty Crocker comes to mind. A staple of the baking aisle for nearly 95 years, Betty has been a welcome member of many American homes. But now, in 2016 Betty Crocker is becoming more like a distant relative that visits for the holidays. These days, consumer mindsets are changing and, as a result, the US baking mix market is shrinking.

General Mills’ Betty Crocker, Pillsbury cope with baking slump

Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies and are turning to the perimeter of the grocery store. They are beginning to avoid the processed foods shelved in the center of the store, preferring to focus on what is fresh. In a world of diets, cleanses, and other fads, shoppers want fewer carbohydrates and sugars, which are the predominant ingredients in baking mixes.

So, what is General Mills going to do with Betty?  They’ve tried lowering prices to match the competition, but sales are still slow to grow. Last year, General Mills opted to sell Green Giant for similar reason—though Green Giant was not the same leader in vegetables that Betty Crocker is in baking mixes. CEO Ken Powell isn’t ready to go that route yet. The baking category still has the potential for growth, and sweet treats certainly haven’t gone out of style.

What we see here is that the changing consumer preference for perimeter products is clearly impacting the baking mix market. Despite having the best brands, largest market share and price concessions, sales of General Mills products are dropping. Eating habits are changing.  Even in the baking category—where brands are as familiar as family members—consumers are looking for quick and healthier food choices. Companies need to know their consumer and what appeals to them as they adjust product lines to keep up with ch-ch-ch-ch-changing  eating habits.

-Anne Hacker, Office Manager

Edited By: Sarah Morrison

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