The Weight-Wellness Evolution: How One Big Brand Responds To Consumers

“A Change Will Do You Good…” 

  • How does a food brand stay relevant after 60 years? Do you stay true to your core positioning or do you change for the good?  Perhaps it is both?

Stacey Krawczyk, MS, RD, is the Sr. Nutrition Marketing Business Partner for Special K and the Kellogg Company. She led this session.

Kellogg – Nutrition That Matters

  • Exciting time right now to be in the food business, interacting and responding to consumers

Activity: QUIZ – congrats to Sylvia for winning!

  • Over 75 foods offered from Special K
  • The first Special K cereal launched in 1955
  • Most popular cereal is Special K Red Berries
  • Special K is in cereal, frozen, snacks, and health and wellness food categories

Kellogg History

  • Vision: To enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter
  • Purpose: Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive
  • Commitment to nutrition and health started in 1906 – played a key role in shifting breakfast to more grain-based, lower calorie and lower fat options
  • Lots of company “firsts”: first high fiber cereal, first dietitian to work in a food company, first cereal fortified with B vitamins, first high-protein breakfast cereal, first food manufacturer to voluntarily list amounts of sugar, released guide to marketing to children ages 6-11
  • Kellogg offers more than 1600 products in 180 countries
  • Family of brands: Kashi, Pringles, Eggo, Bear Naked, Cheez-It, Morning Star, Gardenburger, Special K, All Bran, Mini-Wheats, Corn Flakes, Nutri-Grain, etc.
  • Philanthropy is Breakfasts for Better Days: Goal is to provide 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks, more than half of which are breakfast, to children and families by the end of 2016 (maximizing food donations)
  • New platform at the beginning of this year – Open For To find out more information about the food, including two-way dialogue for consumer questions

Special K History

  • 60 years and counting!
  • The first “nutritional” cereal created to offer consumers a significant amount of protein
  • Joint effort between R&D and marketing, wanting to capitalize on Kellogg’s leadership heritage while saying that this new product was different, unique, and special
  • New era of weight wellness: Weight management is no longer a special category of foods and consumers have changed how they think about weight and their everyday food choices (quoted from New Nutrition Business Report 2014)
  • 1970s – quick fix with diet pills, 1980s – no pain no gain, 1990s – lowfat and low calorie, 2000s – low carb and specialist foods, 2010s – healthy weight management, current realities – mindful/intuitive eating and calories that count (not counting calories) while seeing the nutrition in ingredients (simple/recognizable)
  • Special K is now evolving and meeting where consumers are, to be/stay relevant
  • The 2 week challenge (replace two meals with a bowl of cereal to lose 6 pounds) is no longer on their website as a move towards overall wellness
  • Positivity is the best motivator of success: Special K wants to show real women instead of the little red dress

The Women of Today

  • Weight conscious, on a personal and ongoing journey of self-betterment
  • Weight management is still at the heart of her journey, but she is set in the wider context of health and betterment
  • She is rejecting being judged on their terms and defining her approach and success on her own terms
  • Moving away from the old diet world

Special K Food Journey

  • “More of what she wants and needs, less of what she’s trying to reduce”
  • New flatbread sandwiches, new protein cereals, new chewy nut bars, new cracker chips, new multigrain hot cereal

Activity: Mix for More (Savory Cereal Mixes)

  • Think outside of your daily bowl – mix for more flavor, texture, and endless possibilities
  • Get creative and customize with sweet or savory for anytime – meal or snack
    • Special K Protein with diced avocado, cayenne, and yogurt (“Definitely not on my radar but it’s good”)
    • Special K Red Berries with basil, balsamic glaze, and milk (“I would have never done this with my cereal”)
    • Special K Vanilla Almond with diced peaches, ginger, and milk (“It’s actually really good”)
  • Hashtag to use is #MySpecialK


  • Marketing to women? Yes, but there are men who enjoy Special K and buy it
  • Products off market? Special K Blueberry

This session was captured by Marisa Westbrook, the recipe developer and food photographer behind Uproot from Oregon. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for healthy meal inspiration!