Do breakfast table brands make the transition to snacking formats?
Weetabix snubbed the craze for stretching breakfast table brands into cereal bars with the launch of two crispbag-style, snack-sized 40g packs in November last year.
Inspired by the ever-increasing trend towards eating on the hoof, the Weetabix Mini Crunch variants (originally called Minibix on the Go and Weetabix Crrrunch) have an rsp of 33p and can be eaten dry or with milk as a cereal.
Both got a hefty share of the £10m support for the brand's portfolio as the company pledged to "drive the cereal market by creating a whole new category".
It seems to have achieved that ­ but on a small scale. No other manufacturer has yet followed suit but sales figures are not startling.
Information Resources has recorded sales figures of £1.32m for the Honey and £1.34m for the Chocolate flavours for the year ending October 6, 2002. Both are only a tiny proportion of the ready-to-eat cereals market which is worth £955m for the same period.
Distribution has been slow to build, with some independent retailers claiming never to have seen the products, although Weetabix says it is looking at new paths of distribution in the impulse sector.
The company is, however, satisfied with its pioneer's results so far. A spokeswoman said the snack bags had taken the role of "an easy-to-eat, healthy snack option" in the brand's portfolio and acted as a trial mechanism for consumers who had not tried the main brand. "They have shown how different packaging formats can drive sales and open up a new sector," she added.