Cereal Giant General Mills Plans for Drastic Change in Cereal Packaging

It’s been a habit since we were kids, but it looks as though simply reading cereal boxes as we are eating breakfast is soon to be a thing of the past.

Mark Addicks of General Mills says that on average, a person reads the text on his/her box 12 times. This may be people who are looking at the nutritional information or counting calories, looking at the pictures or filling in the maze, or those who are looking to just passing the time as they eat.

People love their cereal boxes, and now, General Mills is working on ways to extend the experience by creating ways for us to use our cell phones while we eat. Through the use of QR codes, apps, and augmented reality among other things, General Mills wants to enhance your breakfast routine via smartphones.

“There’s never been a time like this,” says Addicks, a 23-year veteran of the company. “Because of the digital technology that resides in people’s hands … we can now deliver content that engages and enhances the experience. Before, we had to rely on a 30-second TV ad.”

Addick’s has big plans for the cereal giant and wants to basically reinvent food packaging by using digital technology and making it more interactive. Without revealing much, Addick’s says that he is working on concepts that he hopes will be out by the summer.

The main form of smartphone interaction Addick’s is hoping for is through QR codes. “You point to a logo and things start to appear,” he says. “Maybe some functional content will pop up on a cake-mix box, or you might see entertainment and games coming from a cereal box. What I’m hoping for is pure entertainment.”

Although General Mills competitor, Kellogg, already uses QR codes on their recent boxes of Special K and Krave cereals as well as an augmented-reality promotion on the back of their Corn Pops, General Mills isn’t discouraged.

General Mills isn’t completely new to creating smartphone apps for its products and has already started to experiment with a smartphone app on its Yoplait Greek yogurts. The app invited consumers to find Greek items on the backs of their packaging and in turn, General Mills made donations to food shelters. The company has also already tested augmented reality on a box of Honey Nut Cheerios.

So, with a smartphone in hand, be sure to keep an eye on General Mills cereal in the months to come.