Breaking News on Industrial Baking & Snacks

News > Markets

Read more breaking news


Dispatches from IFT 2014: 8-minute insight from Mintel innovation directors

Crunch time: Is breakfast cereal doomed to sink?

By Kacey Culliney+

Last updated on 03-Jul-2014 at 13:06 GMT2014-07-03T13:06:57Z

Lynn Dornblaser & David Jago - directors of innovation and insight, Mintel

Lynn Dornblaser & David Jago - directors of innovation and insight, Mintel

The global breakfast cereal market faces increasing competition as consumers turn to convenient alternatives, so how can manufacturers step up to compete and stimulate often dwindling sales?

Speaking to at IFT 2014 in New Orleans, David Jago and Lynn Dornblaser – Mintel’s directors of innovation and insight – chewed over some of the biggest challenges facing cereal makers; where opportunities truly existed; and what industry had to do to inject excitement back into the category.

Increased competition and skipping breakfast

David Jago and Lynn Dornblaser said competition against breakfast cereals had toughened, with yogurts, breakfast biscuit, fresh fruit and dairy drinks consumed in place of a traditional bowl of cereal.

These products, they said, were being chosen because of their convenience aspect.

Asked if cereal executives were wrong in their claims that growth opportunities existed, Jago said: “People are still eating cereal, of course, it’s a huge market. But people aren’t necessarily eating breakfast cereal every day.” Young adults in particular were either skipping breakfast or seeking other products, perhaps protein-rich yogurts or bars, he added.

Dornblaser said in addition to skipping breakfast, many were eating cereal at other times of the day. “There are a pretty good percentage of consumers who eat breakfast cereal for dinner, for example, or as an evening snack,” she said.

Is the ‘breakfast’ name holding the category back?

Jago said the name ‘breakfast cereal’ could potentially limit usage, and while consumers did eat cereal outside of the breakfast occasion, products weren’t geared up to cater for these occasions.

However, Dornblaser said some companies had started to develop convenient, on-the-go product types. Kellogg, for example, had recently launched smaller formats of its key brands to target on-the-go consumption.

Europe however, hadn’t successfully innovated in that area yet, Jago said. “We’ve seen companies try and do it in the past. I don’t think anyone’s really made it work. I think they’re missing a trick there.”

Look to Starbucks – they’ve reinvigorated hot cereal

Dornblaser said the cold and hot breakfast cereal categories were different – hot was declining less than cold.

She said in the US hot cereal had been bolstered, interestingly, by Starbucks with its easy-to-make, personalized hot cereal options. “What Starbucks has done over the last couple of years has gotten a lot of US consumers thinking about hot cereal again.”

Manufacturers had responded with convenient pot options, she said, Quaker being one example.

Developing markets the growth promise?

Jago said that many developing Asian markets held growth opportunities for breakfast cereal, but they needed to be selected carefully.

In China for example, hot cereal was already widely consumed and cold cereal only considered a kids’ food. He said, on the whole, opportunities would be found in adult-targeted products in most developing Asian markets.

Dornblaser said it was the opposite for Latin America. Kids’ cereals held great promise in markets like Brazil and Mexico, she said, particularly the latter where the population of children was huge.

A key message for cereal makers

“Get out of the big box format,” Jago said. “The big box format isn’t going to be where the growth lies – they know this. It’s about smaller sizes; it’s about customized portions… going after the individual, rather than the family.”

Dornblaser said it was about looking beyond breakfast. “Look to all types of snacking occasions especially, and other meal occasions, because cereal has a place – especially in the US market – to be eaten at any time of the day.”

Italian packaging processing €6.2bn turnover in 2015

Italian packaging & processing industry sees €6.2bn turnover in 2015

The Italian food packaging & processing machinery industry rose to €6.2bn turnover in 2015,...

Gorreri to focus on US after success in China, India & the Middle East

Gorreri to focus on US after success in China, India & the Middle East

Gorreri, which supplies lines and equipment for layer cakes and mini rolls, among others,...

Comas bakery processing line GEA aquisition

Comas showcases bakery processing line following GEA aquisition

GEA took the opportunity to showcase machinery from its newly acquired company Comas, at...

Tomra vegetable sorter to expand into chips

Tomra vegetable sorter to expand into chips

Tomra Sorting Food unveiled the Tomra 5B reject sorter for vegetables at SIAL 2016...

Micvac ‘whistling’ ready-meal tray expands porridge range

Micvac, famous for its ‘whistling’ ready-meal trays expands porridge range

Micvac, famous for its ‘whistling’ ready-meal trays has seen huge success with its porridge...

Briess launches whole grain sweetener to reduce added sugars by 50%

Answering the call for sugar reduction and clean label: Briess launches whole grain sweetener

Bob Hansen

Technical Manager, Briess Malt and Ingredients Company

Propercorn showcases Crunch Corn range in Paris

Crunch time! Propercorn showcases Crunch Corn range in Paris

Propercorn is showcasing its Crunch Corn range for the European market, at SIAL, Paris,...

Firebird Artisan Mills to expand gluten-free ancient grain business

Firebird Artisan Mills set to expand gluten-free ancient grain business

Chris Krenzel

Director of Sales and Procurement, Firebird Artisan Mills

Bread hit hard by price wars

Bread is ‘price war casualty’ – FoB director

Bread is one of the biggest casualties of the supermarket price war, as retailers...

food packaging, business, women

How to be a successful woman in the packaging industry

Passion, determination and ambition: all top tips for aspiring businesswomen, say three senior Swedish...

NPD category busters: From ‘Teagurt’ to coffee fruit energy to Milo expansion

NPD category busters: From ‘Teagurt’ to coffee fruit energy to Milo expansion

Jane Barnett

Insights manager for Australia-New Zealand, south east Asia and India,...

USDA WASDE: Wheat supply up but ‘quality issue emerging’ says AHDB

Wheat supply up but ‘quality issue emerging’

Wheat supplies have hit record levels across the globe, but for France and some...

UK gluten-free businesses should storm Europe

Europe is ripe for UK gluten-free businesses

France and other European countries are prime targets for the UK’s established gluten-free (GF)...

Manufacturers are struggling with healthier food calls

Bakeries struggling with calls to cut salt, sugar and fat

Manufacturers of baked goods are reaching a point where calls to cut salts, fats...

Thins in packaged bread could spark growth, Mintel

Can ‘thins’ save a dwindling packaged bread sector?

‘Thins’ have taken off in the US and Canada with bread, bagel and even...

Bread innovation needed amid carb, additive backlash: Mintel

Additives and carb backlash stumps bread innovation, says Mintel

Stephanie Pauk and Pam Yates

Analysts, Mintel

Key Industry Events