The move to shift Nestlé’s £31m ($51.3m) chocolate bar brand into cereal comes after previous Toffee Crisp extensions into biscuits, multipacks and multiple formats. The Swiss food major will roll out the cereal in February across major UK retailers and said it is targeting adults aged 35+.
It’s not the first time Nestlé has taken a chocolate brand into the cereal category. It launched Lion cereal across continental Europe in 2011 – a product now worth over £3m ($4.9m).
David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, said the new product development was logical considering Nestlé’s track record of successfully extending chocolate brands into other categories.
“Nestlé is very, very good at extending its brands into other categories. It’s done this in various markets across the globe already and while it’s not always a huge success, it generates a lot of interest,” Jago told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“If you look at other chocolate brand extensions like dairy desserts – they have really taken off. Rolo desserts have done extremely well and Smarties are just about everywhere.”
Toffee Crisp is a heritage, retro brand
The decision to use the Toffee Crisp brand has likely been strategic, Jago said, because unlike other Nestlé chocolate bar brands, it resonates more exclusively with an older generation.
“If you’re going after the adult market, you’re a little bit limited about the brand you can use – particularly as so many of Nestlé’s chocolate brands are targeted at kids…But I imagine Toffee Crisp is seen more as a heritage, retro brand,” he said.
This is a retro, adult cereal intended to be consumed as a treat, he added. While this risks the product not being a huge volume seller, it could likely form part of a broader portfolio idea.
“I suspect it is part of a wider plan to launch a chocolate-branded series. It could be quite a nice business proposition like that,” he said.
Plugging a market gap: Targeting adults with fun, indulgent cereal
Nestlé said that targeting adults with a chocolate cereal presented an “exciting opportunity” in light of Kantar Worldpanel data that indicated 50% of consumers who buy chocolate cereal have no kids in the household.
Jago agreed that targeting adults with an indulgent cereal brand held lots of opportunity.
“So many cereals are perceived as family products and there’s a huge missed opportunity with going after adults,” he said.
“[This cereal] gives the adult permission to eat something that is still a bit of fun and involves a brand they love.”
He said the move made a lot of sense given how polarized the cereal sector is between super healthy and indulgence.
It’s not the first cereal major that has moved to target adults with ‘fun’ cereals. Last year, General Mills – Nestlé’s joint venture partner for Cereal Partners Worldwide – launched a marketing campaign around its Lucky Charms brand on Twitter and Tumblr to align the brand with gay pride month and explicitly target millennials. It said 40% of Lucky Charms consumers are adults so the campaign made business sense.
Kellogg also launched Krave into the UK market in 2010 – an adult-targeted chocolate cereal.
Euromonitor: ‘It seems a strange association’
Euromonitor International’s senior food analyst, Ildiko Szalai, said it seemed a “strange association, linking chocolate bars and breakfast”.
“This product will not escape scrutiny from a wellness point of view. Especially from a company like Nestlé, which loudly claims to be the world’s leading wellness company,” she said.
Euromonitor data on the UK cereal sector indicates that all categories will contract over the 2013-2018 period, with the exception of muesli.