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Special K Australia eyes ‘healthier direction’ after slashing salt

By Kacey Culliney+

18-Feb-2014
Last updated the 18-Feb-2014 at 13:11 GMT

Kellogg's new three-grain Special K recipe contains 15% less sodium
Kellogg's new three-grain Special K recipe contains 15% less sodium

Kellogg Australia has reduced the sodium content of its Special K cereals by 15% in a recipe overhaul and says it will take a new, healthier direction in 2014.

The cereal giant will incorporate oats into the formulation alongside existing rice and whole wheat grains.

Kellogg said the recipe revamp represented a steep change for its flagship dietetic brand in Australia and was the most significant formulation change the company has engaged in with the brand there.

Slow sodium reduction

Kate Harris, senior brand manager for Special K Australia, said the company had been committed to reducing salt levels across its flagship dietetic brand for years.

“Since 1997, Special K has seen a 30% reduction in sodium. This latest reduction is the next step in this ongoing commitment,” Harris told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“We have removed salt slowly over a long period of time so that we can ensure that consumers’ palates move with us."

The reformulation takes Special K's sodium content down to 360mg per 100g or 144mg per 40g serving. This compares to Kellogg Cornflakes which contain 550mg of sodium per 100g.

The company has not altered the sugar content of the Special K recipe which remains at 5.8g per 40g serving or 14.5g per 100g, but the addition of wholegrain oats has bumped up the fat content slightly.

Special K revamp

Last year, Kellogg UK also reformulated its Special K recipe to include three grains, much like the work in Australia, although the UK product’s fat content was reduced by 40% and salt by 11%.

The UK business arm decided to secretly reformulate in a move the company said was to stave off competition from copycat private label manufacturers .

“We don’t make cereal for anyone else, so Special K has always had a unique, premium quality but many own brand have attempted to copy both the look, taste and packaging within IP limits,” said Louise Thompson-Davies, brand communications manager at Kellogg UK.

Asked if private label competition prompted the reformulation of Special K in Australia, Harris said that was not the case. “Although Special K is a global brand found in many countries, the decisions for the brand’s direction are made with the market in mind."

“…As the brand has been around for 50 years, we acknowledge that we need to evolve with our consumers."

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