A summer line-up of products designed to meet growing appetites for “wellness, convenience and snacking” has been unveiled worldwide by General Mills.

The US cereal giant said its launch of products including Nature Valley Nut & Seed Crunchy Granola Bars, Annie’s organic cereal, Old El Paso Mini Taco Boats, Totino’s Pizza Sticks and Haagen-Dazs Stick Bars, is “following consumer-driven food trends”.

Chairman and CEO Ken Powell said: “We’re in a period of very rapid change in the food industry. Consumers are very clear about what they want – simple ingredient lists, free from artificial colours and flavours, free from gluten, less sugar, less sodium, more convenience. This translates into very a clear set of growth opportunities for us.”

Executive vice-president of innovation, technology and quality Peter Erickson said the company had moved towards “a more entrepreneurial approach to new product development, which not only speeds innovation, but helps us put our consumers first and deliver exciting, relevant new products that meet consumer needs and drive topline growth”.

General Mills said one of the ways it is doing this is setting up “lemonade stands”, where product development teams go into business for a day with a product concept, setting up a table to interact with people at cookery schools, farmers markets, fitness centres or even traditional grocery stores.

“Lemonade stands allow teams to more quickly test new product ideas with consumers and capture learnings earlier in the new product development process,” the company said. “In many cases the company’s new development processes have increased speed to market from about 24 months to less than 12 months.”

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General Mills said “snacks are no longer only eaten between meal-times, rather many consumers are eating traditional snack foods alongside a meal or as a meal replacement”. As consumers adopt healthier lifestyles, “they are still juggling busy schedules that often cut into meal preparation time”.

Consumers today “want products that can help them on their wellness journey and seek out foods with simple ingredients and harder working calories”, General Mills said.