Special K is being given its first recipe change in 30 years as brand owner Kellogg’s looks to turn around declining sales.

From April, all variants of the cereal will include barley in addition to the current rice and wheat, and will be made with wholegrain.

The revamp is being supported with a new pack design and a £5m campaign from June, including what Kellogg’s described as the brand’s biggest ever sampling and experiential activity. The company is not changing the positioning of Special K, which will remain weight management focused, and targeted at women.

Kellogg’s hopes the activity can revive sales of its biggest cereal brand, which has fallen 15.1% in value year-on-year to £103.5m - a drop of £18.4m [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 October 2012].

The new recipe had been test-marketed in Spain and Italy last year, proving a “great success” and bringing growth. “We haven’t changed the recipe since 1983,” said Pete Harrison, Kellogg’s marketing director for cereal. “Obviously a lot has changed since then so it is definitely the right time for this renovation.”

News of the revamp follows last week’s announcement that Kellogg’s was launching four lower-sugar children’s cereal lines, but the new Special K will have the same 17% sugar content. “We tried a number of different recipes as part of this makeover and the new one with this balance of ingredients won hands down on all criteria when tested with consumers,” said a spokeswoman.