Research Document – Nature Valley Crunchy Bars

The Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars are considered snack bars. There are three flavors in its Crunchy Granola Bar lineup, including Oats ‘n Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oats ‘n Honey. They all have distinct flavors, but are similar in texture. Specifically, the Oats ‘n Honey bar has a light honey taste, while the Oats ‘n Dark Chocolate bar has a stronger dark chocolate taste and contains pieces of dark chocolate within the bar. The Peanut Butter bar has a strong peanut taste with a peanut butter drizzle over the top of it. Each bar contains whole grain oats, sugar and canola oil and each pack of granola bars contain 190 calories. Unlike some granola bars, these are not soft or chewy; the bars are all considered dry and crumby. After having a bite of the bar, it leaves the mouth feeling dry. In each individual pack, there are two thin granola bars. By the time consumers finish both bars in the pack, there are a lot of crumbs left over. Other customers seem to comment on the number of crumbs left in the packaging as well.

On average, they cost anywhere from $2.50-$3.00 a box, which contains six packs. Consumers can either purchase a variety box containing all three flavors, or they can buy specific boxes per flavor. The variety box has a blue design, while the Oats ‘n Honey bars come in green box, the Peanut Butter bars come in an orange box and the Oats ‘n Dark Chocolate bars come in a brown box. The bars can be purchased at most grocery stores, including Target, Walmart and Dillon’s. The bars are also considered snack bars, as opposed to protein bars. They are also not considered organic or natural. In the past, Nature Valley has used the nature and outdoor aspect in their advertisements. Often times in their ads, people are seen hiking, swimming, fishing and biking before eating the snack bar.

The Nature Valley brand was started in 1975. Its parent company, General Mills, started in 1866, and is a manufacturing business. General Mills includes brands ranging from Green Giant to Totino’s and Betty Crocker to Lucky Charms, and even at one time made toys. General Mills is most known for its cereal products. Its primary NAICS code is 311230 – Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing. General Mills is one of the two primary key players in cereal manufacturing, following Kellogg’s (its biggest competitor). According to IBIS World, General Mills’ market share in cereal manufacturing is 21.7 percent. General Mills’ net sales decreased 6 percent from 2015 to 2016. IBIS World projects that the cereal production industry will improve in comparison to the last five years; increasing at annual rate of 1.1 percent to $10.4 billion.

Snack bars are listed as the number one bars bought by consumers. Between 2011 and 2016, sales increased 24 percent to $6.7 billion for these particular bars, according to Mintel. Mintel also projects a 23 percent growth in revenue, reaching $8.2 billion by the year 2021. According to Mintel, consumers seem most interested in buying bars made with whole foods. Aside from that, favorite flavor was listed as the number one reason why consumers choose a specific brand. Mintel suggests snack bar companies to maintain good flavor and texture with their bars, as well as offering them with natural ingredients. According to Mintel, snack, nutrition and performance bars have steadily increased, as people look for healthier options. The highest bar consumers are adults 18-34 at 71 percent. The top two reasons why consumers choose snack bars are as a meal replacement and for protein delivery. According to Mintel, the most likely meal that snack bars replace is breakfast. Nature Valley was the top brand of snack bars and the number two brand in nutrition bars in 2015 and 2016.

I think this product would be best shown by both TV and online coupons. It would do well on TV because it’d hit a large audience and it’d do well with online coupons because it is a low-involvement purchase. I think getting an ad on Hulu specifically would be great since college students would be my target audience. I’d measure its media effectiveness by Google AdWords and even Google Analytics.

My target audience would be college-aged young adults, both male and female, single and living off campus. Since this is the largest age group of consumers, they’d be the greatest target audience. Specifically, college students who lived on their own would be responsible for buying their own groceries. Additionally, I’d hit the ones who have a job they at least worked part-time. They make enough money to afford the $2.50 box, yet choose this instead of a bigger breakfast because of affordability. Since they work and go to school, they’d need something like these quick and easy snack bars. College students are also an ideal target audience because they’d want what they think is a healthier choice, which is how many consumers see Nature Valley.

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