General Mills has formed a panel of 11 convenience retailers to help raise awareness of the Better for You Snacking category in the channel.

The retailers will work alongside General Mills to demystify the category that is seeing exponential growth. The manufacturer has three major brands within Better for You Snacking: Nature Valley, Fibre One and Larabar.

“As a business, we have a lot of data and insights, but having worked in the convenience channel for many years, I know there’s nothing as valuable as the direct feedback from retailers themselves,” said Clare Ryal, convenience controller at General Mills, who will be heading up the panel.

General Mills has also invested in its field sales team, and the new 30 strong team aims to make thousands of calls to stores across the country to offer tailored merchandising, PoS, category advice and trend insight.

The retailer panel includes Kay Patel, Best One, Stratford; Atul Sodha, Londis, Uxbridge; Scott Graham, McLeish, Inverurie; Jimmy Patel, Premier, Northampton; Sid Avtar, Budgens, Kenilworth; Sandeep Bains, Simply Fresh, Faversham; Onkar Padesi, Premier, Gillingham; Amarjit Athwal, Unaffiliated, Gillingham; Rachael Hockmeyer, Spar, Sleaford; Nilesh Patel, Unaffiliated, Hainault; Sunder Sandher, One Stop, Leamington Spa.

The retailers have recently had their fixtures re-layed to trial the General Mills category advice.

Scott Graham said: “It’s great to have a manufacturer so keen to hear our views and to see our feedback already being actioned. I’m excited to see now the difference just a few simple changes can make to our stores.”

General Mills said the recently released optimised case size (11 count) for its Nature Valley single bars is a result of the retailer feedback as part of the trial. It also released the popular Fibre One Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Fibre One Peanut Butter Popcorn bars in single format.

“The insights and feedback the retailers have given us is already proving invaluable. Once we have the results from our snacking trials, we’ll almost certainly be looking to extend the programme to our other brands, including Häagen-Dazs, Yoplait and Old El Paso,” Ryal said.