Ready-to-eat cereals, a highly competitive category recently hit by a rush of price cuts, is getting easier to handle through category management, retailers told SN.
pokeswoman for Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y.
Along with classic favorites -- like corn flakes, rice crisps and raisin bran -- the ready-to-eat section is also filled with varieties that are often based on the latest movie or television cartoon. These items make category management a key component to achieving optimal product selection in the cereal aisle, retailers said.
"Many cereals introduced are faddish and die out quickly," said Dave Renaldi, grocery director for Martin's Supermarkets, South Bend, Ind. "Category management allows us to recognize this quickly and remove them to try new ones."
Some retailers, however, are just beginning to implement category management for ready-to-eat cereals.
"We are just starting our category management program," said Dennis Ferguson, director of corporate buying for Raley's Supermarkets, West Sacramento, Calif.
Giant Food, Landover, Md., plans to create a category management program for cereal, according to Dave Herriman, senior vice president of grocery, pharmacy and bakery operations. It plans to initiate its first business plan on cereal within the next few months, said Herriman.
He said the program should help identify cereal customers so that Giant can better serve their needs.
Retailers told SN that the cereal aisle is conducive to a category management program.
"Cereal category is easier to manage than most categories due to the structure and the segments within the category," said Gage of Price Chopper.
"It is a very large category with relatively few stockkeeping units, so it is easy to weed out slow items," added Renaldi of Martin's.
Some cereal manufacturers have category management programs in place for retailers. Kellogg's category management program can be tailored to a particular retailer, according to Jennie Donohue, spokeswoman for Kellogg's.
"We have a dedicated category management team that works with retailers to customize programs to fit their needs," Donohue explained.
Post Cereals, a division of the White Plains, N.Y.-based Kraft Foods, has also created a category management program that can be adjusted for any retailer, according to Tim Callahan, vice president of marketing strategy.
Post's category management program includes key consumer information that is the result of extensive market research. Under the program, Post reviews the cereal category with its retail partners every six months.