General Mills, looking to reinvigorate its flagship Cheerios brand after years of sluggish sales, is taking inspiration from Starbucks.
The company is introducing a pumpkin spice version of the cereal later this year, tapping a flavor that gained cult status at coffeehouses before appearing in everything from vodka to Jell-O. It’s a rare foray into limited-time flavors for Cheerios, a brand that has suffered from an industrywide U.S. cereal slump.
General Mills is counting on pumpkin spice and other innovations to reverse five years of declining sales. Though the products are still the best-selling cereals in the U.S., they were hit hard by a shift away from breakfast food, especially among millennials. Sales of regular Cheerios, a 75-year-old brand, have slipped 18 percent since 2010.
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