Kellogg Lifts the Flap With New Transparency Effort

Christine Birkner
Marketing News Weekly
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Key Takeaways
  • ​Kellogg launched an online Q&A forum, "Open for Breakfast," on Jan. 20.

  • Through the campaign's website, customers are invited to submit questions or suggestions regarding the brand's products.

  • Online Q&A forums are becoming a best practice in the food industry, and experts expect more transparency initiatives in the future.

Increasingly, food marketers are appealing to consumers’ growing interest in knowing where their food comes from, with customer-focused online Q&A forums that offer information on ingredients and sourcing, such as McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign. Now, Battle Creek, Mich.-based cereal giant Kellogg Co. is following suit with its “Open for Breakfast” campaign, which launched Jan. 20. 

Through Kellogg’s website,, consumers are invited to submit questions or suggestions regarding the brand’s products. Answers to questions such as, “Why are GMOs in your products?” and, “Are you going to make gluten-free options?” are posted on the website and on Kellogg’s social media channels. The website also includes nutrition facts, interviews with Kellogg’s on-staff nutritionists, and stories about Kellogg’s philanthropic and sustainability initiatives. 

In an e-mail to Marketing News Weekly, Noel Geoffroy, senior vice president of morning foods marketing and innovation at Kellogg, says: “The expectation of transparency from brands is increasing, and we believe in maintaining an open and honest conversation with consumers. Reading the cereal box while you eat breakfast is the classic way that we’ve all learned about cereal since we were kids. Now people eat breakfast with their smartphone next to their spoon. With this program, they can … get the answers they can’t find on the box, and join in a deeper and more meaningful conversation.” Kellogg tracks customers’ requests, and will use them to inform future marketing and product development efforts, she says.

Geoffroy expects customer Q&A forums like “Open for Breakfast” to become standard practice for food packaging companies. “This is what people want, and increasingly, expect, from the brands they buy,” she says. “They want to feel knowledgeable and confident about the foods they’re feeding their families, and that the companies making those foods are ones they can trust.”

In the first two weeks of the program, Kellogg received more than 100 questions, most of which related to product availability and nutrition, according to Geoffroy. “This platform is allowing us to engage with people in a new way, and we’re happy to see that people are already joining the conversation,” she says.

As online Q&A forums become a best practice in the food industry, experts expect more transparency initiatives in the future. “Any form of supply-chain transparency is here to stay,” says Dominik Prinz, senior strategy director at New York-based global branding agency Interbrand, which works with food and retail brands. “The next level of transparency will be ‘B-to-C-to-S,’ an open dialogue between the brand, the consumer and the supplier. Your brand connects you directly to the farmer in Oregon who provided the produce for your morning toast. Giving consumers a glimpse into local production—the people who drive the harvester or feed the cows—is the next level of 360-degree supply-chain transparency.”

Christopher Cornyn, president of Dine, a Foster City, Calif.-based food marketing agency, expects transparency in the form of more collaboration within the food industry, itself. “You’re going to see more and more food companies joining forces, sharing ideas and innovating together, and maybe delivering new products together. Not only are we listening to consumers, but we’re going to listen to each other, so, collectively, we can provide products that consumers want.”

For more on food marketing, check out the January 2015 issue of Marketing News.​ 

This article was originally published in the Feb. 17, 2015 issue of Marketing News Weekly.​

Author Bio:

Christine Birkner
Christine Birkner is the senior staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Weekly. E-mail her at
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Displaying 2 Comments
Jacqueline (Jackie) Bird
February 17, 2015

Smart initiative by Kelloggs. Consumers are expecting transparency from marketers and what a better way to do it than to keep their ears close to the ground for their input. Well done.
February 17, 2015

"No amount of branding can correct or fix a defective brand." John Roake