From Idea Factory to Solutions Factory: Kellogg’s Nigel Hughes on How R&D is Changing

By Patricia Riedman Yeager, Contributing Writer

With annual sales of $13 billion, Kellogg Company reigns as king of breakfast foods, a segment that makes up 22 percent of its sales. It’s also a major producer of cookies, crackers, and savory snacks like Cheez-It crackers and Pringles, and a leader in the frozen food space. But as fewer people sit down to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning, Kellogg’s sales have been dipping since 2013. That has prompted the company to diversify into areas like waters, adult cereals with health benefits, and cereal bars. In October, Kellogg paid $600 million to acquire RXBAR, a maker of protein bars. The company says that more than 15 percent of its sales thus far in 2017 are coming from new product innovations (on a three-year rolling basis.)

Innovation Leader discussed Kellogg’s approach to innovation with Nigel Hughes, Senior Vice President, Global Research, Quality, Nutrition and Technology at the Kellogg Co., who joined the company earlier this year from SC Johnson, where he was Senior VP Research, Development and Engineering and CTO. Highlights from the conversation are below. Hughes leads the 90-person Global Innovation Team, which reports to Kellogg’s Chief Growth Officer.

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