Our Work – New Product Innovation

Keebler Graham Selects

A fresh perspective brings fun flavors and new benefits to the traditional graham cracker category.

Graham Cracker Category Background

  • The Keebler Elves were in trouble.
    As the #2 Brand, the Keebler Elves were caught between:

    • Category leader Nabisco’s Honey Maid brand,
    • Private label graham crackers priced at least a $1.00 less at retail.
  • Keebler needed to differentiate their Graham Crackers from the competition.

New Product Innovation Opportunity

  • It’s no secret- Moms and kids battle over snacks.
  • The kids want cookies and sweet treats, while the moms want “better-for you” snacks.
  • The Holy Grail for every snack food manufacturer has long been a product that, “Mom prefers; child accepts.”
  • In the cookie/cracker aisle, the ideal product would be a “better-for-you” snack with more fun cookie flavors.

New Product Solution

  • You don’t always have to make major changes to the product. Sometimes you just need to tweak the benefits. The Keebler Graham Cracker solution was fueled by “fresh outside perspective” insights.
  • “Deconstruct” the competitive environment by asking different questions.
    • Why do consumers view Graham Crackers as healthier snacks?
    • If health is the category driver, why is Honey Maid the top seller?
      • Honey Maid is full of sugar and honey.
    • Given Nabisco’s strong branding, and overwhelming retail presence, where can the Keebler Elves win?
  • Since their introduction in the 1830’s, by Sylvester Graham, as a bland, less sugary biscuit (to help “curb the sexual urges” of young people), graham crackers and graham flour have benefited from a “less bad for kids” halo.
  • Over 90 years ago, Nabisco added a little sweetness to the boring graham cracker, and Nabisco’s Hg_Q€y Maid had gradually emerged as the number one selling Graham Cracker Brand.
  • Injecting colorful, fun packaging and adding even more kid flavors and shapes “into the mix”, created “better-for-you” cookies.
  • Bringing cinnamon, chocolate, peanut butter, and even apple cinnamon flavors to the “boring’ graham cracker, allowed Moms to still prefer them vs. other alternatives, and their kids accepted the cookie flavors.


  • As measured by Nielsen, and without any advertising support, Keebler Flavored Graham Selects were the 6th biggest new grocery product introduced in 1994.
  • The new “Flavored Grahams”/kid centric brand platform has allowed Keebler to continue to introduce multiple new graham flavors, shapes and forms.