Golden Temple adds Yogi cereal line

by Gursant Singh ⌂ @, Yuba City California USA, Saturday, February 20, 2010, 11:09 (2951 days ago) @ Gursant Singh
edited by Gursant Singh, Sunday, February 21, 2010, 02:54

The Eugene maker of tea and cereal is launching a brand that it says will balance interesting flavors with a healthy formula

By Sherri Buri McDonald

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, page D1


This summer shoppers will be able to find Golden Temple’s Yogi brand in the cereal aisle, as well as the tea section, at many natural food stores.

The Eugene maker of tea and cereal is extending the brand, which made its public debut in Golden Temple restaurants in the 1970s, to a new line of cereal. Like Yogi teas, the new cereals “balance interesting, complex flavors with some kind of purposeful or healthy formula,” said Bob Ziehl, Golden Temple’s marketing director.

Golden Temple introduced retailers to its latest products last week at a major natural foods industry trade show in Anaheim, Calif. Yogi cereal is set to debut on store shelves in August, Ziehl said.

Yogi tea is the No. 1 natural tea brand in the United States and Europe, company officials said. They’re hoping to build on that brand by spreading it to the cereal category another Golden Temple specialty.

“We think it’s a great opportunity,” Ziehl said. “We looked at the cereal category and saw there were cereals that focused on being healthy and other cereals that focused on tasting good, and there weren’t a lot of cereals that did both well.”

Lynn Kahle, a marketing professor at the University of Oregon, said focusing on building one brand can make sense for a smaller company that’s trying to build its reputation.

“As long as the image you’re projecting is still consistent with the brand, it will probably work well,” he said.

The big downside, Kahle said, is if something goes wrong with one product, it can rub off on all the products with that brand.

On the other hand, he said, if something good happens, it can give a boost to all the products with that brand.

Golden Temple’s costs to launch the new line have been “fairly minimal,” Ziehl said. “It’s a major initiative for our company,” he said, and isn’t expected to generate great profits this year. But, “long-term, we think it’s going to be an important profit contributor to the company,” he said.

A recent expansion, including new equipment, at Golden Temple’s cereal plant in Eugene positions the company well to add these products, company spokeswoman Elissa Brown said.

Golden Temple’s roots date back to the 1970s to a group of Sikh believers in Eugene who baked their own bread and granola.

The company still has a thriving business selling its bulk granola. It also produces Sweet Home granola, its Peace line of cereals, and private-label brand cereals for a variety of customers.

Golden Temple is a division of KIIT Co., a Sikh-owned Nevada-based company, which owns other businesses, including Akal Security, a contract security firm based in Espanola, N.M.

Golden Temple’s research and development team in Eugene has been working on the Yogi cereal formulations for the past 12 months, Brown said.

Three of the new products are traditional-style cereals, but with unusual taste combinations and purported health benefits: goji berry for essential antioxidants; cherry almond for natural energy; and walnut spice for digestive health. The other three products, which Golden Temple calls “granola crisps,” come in thicker, crunchy, oversized flakes some as big as a quarter “that work as well as a snack, as a cereal,” Ziehl said.

“We get feedback (from retailers) who say they haven’t seen anything like them,” he said.

The crisps come in a variety of flavors: mountain blueberry flax, which also contains huckleberries; fresh strawberry crunch; and baked cinnamon raisin, which contains spices similar to those in chai tea.

All of the new cereals contain five grains, including some not typically found in the American diet: oats, barley, spelt, quinoa and amaranth.

“A lot of Americans eat a lot of wheat and corn,” Brown said. These cereals “add healthy variety to the diet.”

The cereals will come in boxes and the granola crisps in sealed pouches. Prices will be competitive with other products on the market, Ziehl said.

The new Yogi cereals are not certified organic, and company officials said they have no plans to seek organic certification.

“What we’ve learned through some (consumer) research is that organic is not necessarily the end-all be-all,” Brown said. “All natural is also something (consumers) respond to really well.”

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