By combining the “Kell,” from Kellogg, with “anova,” which incorporates the Latin word “nova,” meaning new, the name reflects the company’s past and its future, according to Kellogg.
Kellanova joins a growing roster of Latin-inspired names—GE Vernova, Mondelez, Altria—that companies have devised as they seek to reintroduce consumers to their products and services.
General Electric Co.
borrowed from Latin last year when it announced the name of its power business: GE Vernova. A decade earlier, Kraft Foods spun off its North American grocery business to focus on faster-growing snack brands such as Oreos and Triscuits, naming the company
International Inc., which incorporates “Monde,” from the Latin word for “world,” Kraft said at the time. In 2001, Philip Morris Cos. announced plans to change its name to
Group Inc., which the cigarette and food company said came from “altus,” a Latin word meaning high.
“It was such a daunting task because you’re renaming something that is a household name,” Kellogg’s Chief Executive
said in an interview.
The Battle Creek, Mich., company is in the process of splitting its business into two, one dedicated to its larger, faster-growing snacks business and other foods and the second to its namesake cereal brands, sold in North America.
The global snacks business, which is taking on the new name, will include brands such as Pringles and Cheez-It and North American frozen breakfast items including Eggo waffles. It will also include Kellogg’s international cereal and noodle operations as well as its plant-based foods business.
Kellogg announced in June its plans to split, saying at the time that it would break up its business into three companies, focused on snacks, cereal and plant-based-foods. In February, Kellogg said that it had explored strategic options for the plant-based-foods unit, predominantly composed of the MorningStar Farms brand, but opted to keep the business.
Kellogg’s North American cereal business, which includes brands such as Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, will be named WK Kellogg Co, in honor of the company’s founder, W.K. Kellogg, Kellogg said.
Though their names will change, the companies will continue to use Kellogg’s brand on all product packaging, Kellogg said. The new names will take effect in connection with the cereal spinoff, which Kellogg aims to complete by the end of the year.
Kellanova will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “K,” Kellogg said. It said ticker and exchange details for WK Kellogg Co would be revealed in coming months.
Kellogg said it solicited name suggestions from employees around the world, ultimately sifting through more than 4,000 ideas from nearly 1,000 people. It said the name “Kellanova” was inspired by submissions that included the word “nova.”
“It was literally a lightbulb moment,” said Mr. Cahillane, whose youngest son speaks Latin but didn’t help coin the new moniker. “It is a beautiful language, it’s timeless.”
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Not all corporate renaming efforts have met with immediate success. Kraft’s choice of Mondelēz—also inspired by employee suggestions—left some brand experts befuddled. A macron mark—the line above the second ‘e’—caused problems, and was missing from some versions of Kraft’s own press release at the time.
Kellogg’s split comes as big food companies are working to keep up momentum generated during the Covid-19 pandemic, which delivered a boost in sales for Kellogg and other food makers despite climbing costs for fuel, labor, ingredients and packaging.
The split aims to create more nimble, focused companies and marks a pivot from the food industry’s yearslong strategy of pursuing acquisitions and building scale. Some Wall Street analysts have said that dividing up Kellogg could hurt the separate business’s ability to secure competitive prices using the larger company’s purchasing power.
Mr. Cahillane said he rejects such ideas because Kellogg itself is devising the plan, relying on smart employees and strong, diverse brands.
“You’re just going to have to watch us and we’re going to prove that we can actually do this,” he said.
Write to Jesse Newman at email@example.com
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