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October 27, 2021updated 28 Oct 2021 8:52am

General Mills homes in on kids’ constipation with Doolies start-up brand

Doolies was first launched in May via direct-to-consumer.

General Mills is targeting kids’ constipation with a new start-up brand the US food group hopes to take to the retail market next year.

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Doolies, a range of high-fibre snacks, bites and smoothies, has been developed as part of the Old El Paso owner’s Accelerate Strategy, which was unveiled in February to drive in-house innovation to achieve long-term organic sales growth of 2% to 3% a year.

Under that same initiative, General Mills created what it calls a “strategy and growth organisation”, housing a “disruptive growth office’ in which sits a unit called Gworks, “tasked with changing the way the company innovates”.

“This group started in 2019 within our North America retail segment and was comprised of small, nimble ‘co-founder’ teams who had a dedicated focus to solve one transformational business, trend or project as it related to a consumer need,” General Mills explained.

Doolies is part of Gworks, which “uses a test-and-learn model to validate new business opportunities with an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’”, the Nature Valley snack bar owner said.

General Mills started selling Doolies products via a direct-to-consumer channel in May under Doolies Foods. After a “strong” uptake, the brand will roll out on Amazon in November, and if successful, a retail launch will be explored next year.

“Through months of consumer research, we found that kid constipation is a big and growing problem for today’s parents. Thirty per cent of kids in the US suffer from constipation and parents aren’t satisfied with solutions currently available – particularly pharmaceutical laxatives that are heavily recommended by paediatricians,” General Mills said. “Parents are hoping to solve constipation more naturally – through intuitive foods and ingredients that help support a healthy digestive system.”

Good Measure is another start-up brand introduced by Gworks. The nut butter bars and almond crisps were launched in June targeted at people with pre-diabetes or diabetes needing to avoid a spike in blood sugars.

General Mills reported its annual results in June for the year ended 30 May, when organic sales growth was 4%. However, it set out guidance for the 2022 fiscal year for a decline in the region of 1-3%.

The company cited the inflationary environment and an expected drop-off in at-home consumption for the downbeat outlook.

“Conversely, away-from-home food demand is expected to continue to recover in fiscal 2022, though not fully to pre-pandemic levels. With roughly 85% of the company’s net sales representing at-home food occasions, these dynamics are expected to result in lower aggregate consumer demand in the company’s categories in fiscal 2022, compared to fiscal 2021 levels,” General Mills said.

 

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Disruptive start-ups to watch out for

2021 was a record-breaking year, with more businesses breaking into the billion-dollar club. Many start-ups have achieved or retained the unicorn status by the end of the year to reflect nearly a fivefold growth from that in 2020. This boom can be linked to a financing frenzy spurred by the quick adoption of technology and innovative solutions by start-ups gaining traction in response to the pandemic. However, the start-up ecosystem is now facing turbulent times for fundraising as investors seek long-term business strategies, valuations, and a route to profitability amid uncertain market circumstances. Nevertheless, 2022 has the potential to carry forward the momentum with multiple entities having a fair chance of being in the right place when aided by the right technologies. GlobalData leverages the power of alternative data to examine the health of start-ups across multiple dimensions including the quality of their innovations, market presence, and the funding they can attract. This helps our clients to analyze the disruptive potential of start-ups for early alliances, investments, and acquisition prospects to develop future-proof strategic roadmaps for a competitive advantage. Read our report and gather insights on the following topics:
  • Recent Unicorn trends
  • Unicorns in 2022
  • Future Unicorns
  • Start-ups to watch out for
Start-up ecosystem outlook by top geographies
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.

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