General Mills Introduces Lower-Carb Line-Up; Lower-Carb Versions of Consumer Favorites Hit Shelves

Today General Mills announced that at the 2004 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show, May 2-4, 2004, the company will unveil a portfolio of products from throughout its family of brands that address current needs of consumers seeking lower-carb options of their favorite foods. The new introductions offer choices across a wide selection of products.

The company also released results of a new Opinion Research Corporation(a) survey revealing that 54 percent of consumers who are monitoring their carbs would be interested in trying a lower-carb version of their favorite foods. In choosing lower-carb foods, 79 percent of consumers said taste is important, 57 percent said price is important, 56 percent said shopping convenience is important, and 53 percent said convenient preparation is important.

'Research shows that nearly 70 percent of consumers are monitoring their carb intake,'said Gayle Fuguitt, General Mills vice president of market research. 'Whether they are on a lower-carb diet or just watching the amount of carbs they eat, we know they want lower-carb options that are convenient and that taste good. We have reformulated some of consumers'favorite General Mills products to fit a low-carb lifestyle, and added a few new offerings - without sacrificing taste or value.'

New From General Mills

The following products in General Mills'lower-carb line-up will be offered at competitive prices and will be available nationally. (Full releases and photos for these products available at in the Media Center).

8th Continent Light Soymilk: With 50 percent fewer carbohydrates and 25 percent fewer calories than skim milk, 8th Continent Light Soymilk boasts the health benefits of a low-fat, cholesterol-free, plant-based protein - soy protein. Each serving provides vitamins D, A, B12 and riboflavin and is an excellent source of calcium. Currently available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors, the product will be available in Original in June 2004.

Betty Crocker Carb Monitor Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: With just 16 grams of net carbs(b), the Carb Monitor product features the flavor consumers expect from the brand's instant mashed potato but with 27 percent fewer carbs.

Betty Crocker Carb Monitor baking mixes: The new baking mixes are 35 to 45 percent lower in net carbs, and 50 percent lower in sugar than regular Betty Crocker baking mixes. Offered in Chocolate Chunk brownie mix, Walnut brownie mix, Wild Blueberry muffin mix, and Chocolate Chip cookie mix.

Hamburger Helper Carb Monitor Cheeseburger Macaroni: This reduced-carb alternative features 30 percent fewer net carbs per serving than regular Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni, the line's most popular flavor for five years running.

Momentum Bars: New from General Mills, each bar contains three grams of net carbs, provides 15 essential vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent source of calcium. The bars contain Splenda(R) and hit the spot for carb-conscious consumers craving an indulgent snack. Available in June, Momentum Bars will be offered in three flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate and Chocolate Caramel Nut.

Pillsbury Carb Monitor Frozen Dinner Rolls: The first reduced-carb dinner roll, this low-fat and naturally cholesterol-free product contains 70 calories, seven grams of net carbs, and four grams of fiber per roll. The Carb Monitor Frozen Dinner Roll is timesaving, going from freezer to table in under 10 minutes.

Progresso Carb Monitor Soups: With five to seven grams of net carbs per serving, the line features Chicken Vegetable, Beef Vegetable, Tuscan-Style Meatball, Chicken Cheese Enchilada Style, and Roasted Turkey Vegetable soups.

Total Protein: With 100 percent of the Daily Value of 11 vitamins and minerals, eight grams of net carbs, and a hearty 13 grams of protein, the lower-carb version of Total cereal offers a crunchy lower-carb breakfast option.

Yoplait Ultra: Yoplait Ultra offers the same great taste, but with 70 percent less carbs and sugar than regular low fat yogurt. The 6-oz. individual cup varieties include Strawberry Creme, Peach Creme, Blueberry Creme and Raspberry Creme.

While Product Scan information published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that as many as 800 lower-carb products have been introduced in the last six months, General Mills believes its entrance into the low-carb market is a reflection of consumer interest in lower-carb options. Research the company has conducted with consumers and retailers indicates that low-carb consciousness is still building. And, the fact that General Mills is a trusted brand name gives the company confidence that it can establish itself as a key contributor to the marketplace. A recent survey revealed that 76 percent of consumers who are monitoring their carbs are more likely to purchase a lower-carb offering from a brand they recognize over products from an unfamiliar company.

Taste is Key

General Mills stresses that its offering of lower-carb foods does not mean the company has shifted direction or that it is cutting back on more traditional foods. The new varieties are simply additions to the existing product offerings, providing consumers more choices.

In considering which products to offer in lower-carb varieties, General Mills evaluated its current line-up and selected products that would maintain their taste if overall carbs were reduced, and that would offer consumers options for every meal. The company also added new offerings to fit the needs of consumers monitoring their carbohydrate intake.

'As a food manufacturer, we strive to offer consumers a variety of choices that fit a variety of lifestyles,'said John Haugen, Vice President of New Enterprises. 'But across the board one thing does not change - the fact that we want every product we produce to be the best-tasting product we can offer.'

About General Mills

Located in Golden Valley, Minn., General Mills is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. Its global brand portfolio includes Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso and more. It also has more than 100 U.S. consumer brands including Cheerios, Wheaties and other Big G cereal brands; Yoplait and Colombo yogurts; Betty Crocker desserts and dinner mixes; Betty Crocker and Nature Valley snacks; Totino's frozen pizza and snacks; and Progresso ready-to-serve soups. General Mills also is a leader in the bakeries and foodservice business as a major supplier of baking and other food products to the foodservice and commercial baking industries.

(a) Telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1037 adults comprising 515 men and 522 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this CARAVAN(R) Survey was completed during the period April 8 - 10, and 12, 2004. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. All data collection efforts took place at Opinion Research Corporation's Central Telephone Facility in Tucson, Arizona and/or Tampa, Florida.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The information contained in this press kit and in the individual press releases about products mentioned in this press release is accurate at the time of release and may change with any product updates.

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on management's current expectations and assumptions. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. General Mills undertakes no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.

8th Continent(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. Betty Crocker(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc.

Hamburger Helper(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc.

Progresso(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. Momentum(TM) is a trademark of General Mills, Inc. Pillsbury(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. Total(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. Yoplait(R) is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. Carb Monitor(TM) is a trademark of General Mills, Inc.
(b) Net carbs are total carbohydrates less sugar alcohol and fiber.

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