>>Fast Foodfax rates 2005 product launches

Health and brands are the two features that stand out in screening of new cereal products in 2005, when brands worked hard to realign their offer to meet changing consumer needs and to maintain market share. Health has particular relevance in this market, where child consumption generates such a high proportion of volume. But, whatever the health benefits, eating qualities remain an important factor.
The winners in 2005 were cereals that offered a simple proposition - health without worthiness. The relaunched Weetaflakes achieved this balance, as did another Weetabix product, Alpen No Added Sugar, with apricots, dates and pistachios. Strong clinical positioning, such as that adopted by The Food Doctor, was a deterrent for most consumers. Consumers may want a more healthy approach, but not at the cost of total loss of enjoyment. Many such products also cost more, completing the circle of rejection by all but a committed minority.
Mothers looked with relief on lower sugar versions of family favourites. Lower sugar Sugar Puffs was one of the top rated cereals we tested.
These edible cereal straws to have with a glass of milk were fun and innovative, but expensive. They had wider potential as an anytime snack, or a lunchbox treat, but were messy to use.
Strong interest in this new muesli was sustained after trial. A naturally healthy blend of fruit and nuts that proved particularly popular among the under-34s.
An innovative mix from Jordans that claims to taste like standard porridge, but proved darker in colour and heavier in texture. Particularly popular among 35 to 54-year-olds, who were the most likely to buy after tasting.
Consumers go for simple proposition - health benefits without worthiness
Put to the test: three recent launches (maximum score 50)
Kellogg’s Coco Pops - Straws Score: 31 Category average: 45
alpen No Added Sugar - with Apricots, Dates & Pistachios Score: 40 Category average: 37
Jordans Multigrain Porridge Score: 37 Category average: 35
Produced for The Grocer by Cambridge Fast Foodfax, an independent standardised product testing service where a sample of 50 consumers rate new products across 10 key performance measures. Maximum score 50. Details on www.fast-foodfax.com