General Mills wants you to have your cake and eat it, too

For Fibre 1 Cheesecake Bars, the newest healthier-for-you dessert alternative, it's a cakewalk

There’s a new snack in town, and it’s walking around.

General Mills has launched its Fibre 1 Cheesecake Bars in Canada.

The 150 calorie snack bars are available in chocolate and key lime flavours, and fall into the “healthier-for-you dessert alternative” category, attempting to broach the crowded snacking time-frame of early to late evening.

“The feedback we got from consumers was that this was a snack where rather than turning to a bag of potato chips, pretzels or ice cream in the evening, they could see pulling these out as a snack, at home,” said Jason Doolan, director of marketing at General Mills.

While the bars have been available for over a month, General Mills made a major marketing push for the new product during National Cheesecake Day last month. The company celebrated the holiday with a literal “cake-walk” featuring six costumed mascots in the shape of the bars speed-walking around Toronto, handing out samples.

The cake-walk was “a memorable way to connect with our core audience, which of course are millenials,” Doolan said. “They value experiences more than any other cohort I’ve ever been involved with.”

Marketing plans will continue to play on the athletic theme, as a nod to the fabled eating of cheesecake during the ancient Greek Olympics, as the snack has purportedly existed for about 4000 years. Plus “nothing is cornier, or funnier than a speed-walking cheesecake,” said Doolan

This type of experience is designed to reduce what Doolan called “sales resistance,” making the customer more relaxed. “This is how should be launching new products,” he said.

Additional marketing includes year-round television spots, online video, and the distribution of one million samples. While some samples will be distributed at events, most will be in-home samples given out in Ontario and Quebec this fall, Doolan said. General Mills is also working with bloggers and key influencers to promote the product.

The dessert has an eight-month shelf-life without refrigeration.

The bars became available at major Canadian grocery stores in mid-June with a suggested retail price of $3.49 for a box of five.