Carlson School of Management News

New Division of General Mills Experiments With Unique Flavors

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thanks to a new service conceived by Carlson School alumni, snacking at the office can now be healthful, convenient, and delicious. Nibblr is a snack service that delivers a box containing four pre-portioned snacks to the home or office that are configured to each user's preferences. With more than 55 snacks offered, consumers rate a handful of flavor combinations and then receive a custom box on a weekly or monthly basis.

"There are limited snack options at the workplace," says Corey Christofel, '09 BSB. "Nibblr combines high quality ingredients in fun new ways. We're looking for a twist on the familiar and bringing flavor combinations to life."

Nibblr is the latest offering from 301 Inc., a new division of General Mills. Marketing Business Analyst Christofel and Operations Business Manager Pete Speranza, '13 Executive MBA, aim to reimagine how consumers eat. In their roles at 301 Inc., they're tasked with developing disruptive innovations in the food industry. The division is encouraged to probe consumers' preferences to create entirely new offerings.

"We look at small ideas and growing them from scratch," says Speranza. "We use consumers as the judge of what makes a good product. We take a product, put it in a test market, and have consumers choose with their dollars. Then we iterate before taking it nationally."

301 Inc. is tackling more than snacks. The team is reimagining foods of all kinds, from pancake batter to vegetables, and are calling for local entrepreneurs to do the same. This year, 301 Inc. is sponsoring the first-ever Food, Agriculture, and Beverage category of the Minnesota Cup competition.

"In Minnesota, we're within the nation's bread basket of food," says Speranza. "With so much history in food, it was amazing we didn't have a food division within the competition."

The tenth-annual Minnesota Cup will feature a $300,000 grand prize for the most innovative business ideas in seven categories. Speranza and Christofel hope the new food division will raise the visibility of fellow entrepreneurs and strengthen the existing food ecosystem in Minnesota.

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