This article is a bit of a reversal – instead of writing about cutting-edge technology products, or autonomous cars, or drones, or another exciting technology, we’re writing about what may be one of the oldest products still on the market. Any guesses?
It’s Grape-Nuts cereal. At 125-years on grocery shelves, Grape-Nuts is one of the oldest ready-to-eat cereals. The other two cereals that are still being sold today after their introduction to the marketplace in the 19th century are Shredded Wheat and Corn Flakes.
And, even at its advanced age, Grape-Nuts is still the same product that it was 125-years ago (although manufacturing has been modernized). And to be clear, the cereal has never contained either grapes or nuts. The name was derived from the manufacturing process that resulted in a ‘grape sugar with a nutty texture’.
Why has the product endured over all these years? Perhaps because it is a healthy food that still has a low-sugar nature-based appeal for consumers. It didn’t depend on trends, color, and lots of sugar.
During the pandemic, Grape-Nuts had production issues resulting in low inventory. The core audience asked “where’s my Grape-Nuts?” and that led to social media and a new, younger group of consumers gaining interest in the brands.
What foods will future generations still be eating?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- View Grape-Nuts website: https://www.grapenuts.com/
- Show a commercial from the 1970s: featuring naturalist Euell Gibbons: https://youtu.be/QffEYYotXIk
- Discuss the stages in the product life cycle.
- What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place different cereals and other foods into the PLC.
- Why has Grape-Nuts sustained over the decades?
- What are the lessons that other discontinued cereals could learn from Grape-Nuts?
- Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.
Sources: Johnson, B. (13 August 2022). Grape-Nuts: It is your grandma’s cereal. Minneapolis Star Tribune.