The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and its Associate Member Council (AMC) today awarded General Mills and Batter Blaster with the 2011 CPG Award for Innovation and Creativity. The award is given annually to companies that have demonstrated creativity, innovation, and have made a significant impact on the industry knowledge base.
“This award celebrates industry creativity and innovation, and these winners have proven to be exemplary in both,” said GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “General Mills and Batter Blaster have found creative ways to provide consumers with healthier, more sustainable products at a time when consumers are demanding both innovation and value during today’s challenging economy.”
GMA received a record number of entries and evaluated applications in two manufacturer divisions- those from companies with total sales of less than $3 billion in Division A and companies with $3 billion or more in sales in Division B.
Batter Blaster, an Austin, Texas- based product launched in 2007, took the Division A title by proving innovation is as important as experience in the food and beverage industry. By creating not only a new product, but a whole new category in the CPG marketplace, Batter Blaster’s Organic Original Pancake and Waffle Batter, served in a whipped cream-style, pressurized can, has overhauled the healthy morning breakfast routine for families across the board.
Offering four different batter flavors for 90 calories or less per serving, Batter Blaster found its in-store destination on retail shelves through line extensions, product demonstrations, event marketing, social media and word of mouth.
“We’ve certainly learned that innovation takes guts – it’s not the path of least resistance. It requires massive changes in consumer behavior and the education and awareness to gain that mindshare,” explains Sean O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Batter Blaster. “But innovation can change even the oldest of categories. Ready to make pancake mix has been on store shelves since 1931; Batter Blaster is still shaking up that category 80 years later, adding new consumers and growth to a typically traditional category.”
General Mills received their award in Division B for the development, launch, and use of an oat hulls biomass burner.
After oats arrive at General Mills’ plants in Fridley and Minneapolis, Minn., they’re milled to make oat flour for Cheerios. The process leaves a lot of left over oat hulls – more than 80,000 tons every year.
A new biomass unit at the company’s Fridley, Minn., facility burns the oat hulls to produce more than 90 percent of the steam needed to heat the plant and produce the oat flour used in making Cheerios and other products.
With a deepened commitment to reducing the company’s environmental footprint at a time when natural gas prices were on the rise, General Mills took the knowledge they had about the energy potential of oat hulls and designed and installed a biomass burner that nearly eliminated the need for natural gas at the plant and reduced its carbon footprint by 21 percent.
“Our biomass burner addressed two compelling business needs – saving money and reducing our footprint on the environment for years to come,” explains General Mills Chairman and CEO, Ken Powell. “We’ve sharpened our focus on building sustainability into every step, from seed to spoon, and this project is one of the most recent and visible successes from this journey. Accomplishments such as the biomass burner inspire and challenge all General Mills employees to dream big when developing creative solutions to make General Mills an even more sustainable company.”
“Overall the quality of submissions was impressive, and the award subcommittee had its work cut out,” said AMC Chairman Greg Smith of KPMG, LLP. “But both winners demonstrated a unique execution of originality and resourcefulness that benefits not only the demand of the consumers, but the industry as a whole.”
General Mills and Batter Blaster were presented the awards today during the Leadership Luncheon at the GMA Executive Conference in Colorado Springs, CO.