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Why General Mills' Senior Executives Are Working at Lemonade Stands

General Mills (GIS) may soon have a hot new product on supermarket shelves in a Larabar nut butter.

But the cereal and snack giant hasn't arrived to this point of widespread distribution for a nut butter after subjecting it to hundreds of rounds of expensive focus group tests at its Minneapolis-based headquarters.

Instead, General Mills' senior most executives have set up shop on three occasions at a retail store to hand out free samples and gauge the consumer response. General Mills...