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The US breakfast shift – think deli sandwiches, says Nielsen

By Kacey Culliney+

22-Aug-2014
Last updated on 22-Aug-2014 at 17:35 GMT

Nielsen US breakfast trends: Move over cereals, make room for the deli breakfast sandwich! Photo Credit: Daily Burn
Nielsen US breakfast trends: Move over cereals, make room for the deli breakfast sandwich! Photo Credit: Daily Burn

Deli breakfasts have boomed in the US as consumers seek faster, fresher alternatives to traditional ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal category, according to Nielsen.

“Overall, US consumers are still eating breakfast. They’re just eating differently than in the past,” it wrote in its blog post.

While cold RTE cereals continued to decline – in line with the 1.5% CAGR drop over the past five years – the $104.7m deli breakfast category had grown 7.9% CAGR over the past five years.

This growth, Nielsen said, had been “driven by the strength and popularity of the breakfast sandwich”.

Fresh n’ healthy on-the-go

Nielsen said consumers were increasingly concerned about quality and freshness of breakfast products – a trend retailers and brands needed to keep in mind.

“Consumers have less time for planning and preparing, but they’re ever-focused on quality, taste and freshness. And when it comes to breakfast, in-store baked good sales make up a $3.2 billion segment and have generated a 4.5% CAGR over the past five years,” it said.

In addition, consumers were looking for a healthier way to start the day, the research firm said.

“Consequently, consumers are reaching for alternatives to old standbys like toaster pastries and powdered instant breakfast beverages. The combination of being hungry for something quick and healthy has kick-started a boom for granola and yogurt bar sales.”

Total sales for both categories now totalled $2.4bn with CAGR of nearly 4% for the past five years.

belVita biscuits were a go-to example of innovating in line with consumer trends, Nielsen said

Biscuits, bars and hot cereals

Many breakfast players had innovated in the biscuit and bar space, Nielsen said – including Mondelēz with its belVita biscuit brand and General Mills with Nature Valley bars.

“While Mondelēz opted to broaden the category by meeting consumers’ interest in feeling more energetic, the Nature Valley team at General Mills found a similar opportunity when it learned that consumer demand was high for protein bars but that consumers found many existing options chalky-tasting,” it said.

Hot cereal was also trending with US consumers, it said. Sales grew 0.6% for the year ending July 2012 but ramped up 3% for the year ending July 2013. Hot cereal sales were now up 3.5% for the first half of 2014.

Datamonitor Consumer analyst Ramaa Chipalkatti previously told BakeryandSNacks.com that hot cereal was a “cultural shift” for Americans , yet a product category that should do very well because of consumer openness to change.

Earlier this year, we discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the global breakfast cereal market with Mintel’s directors of innovation David Jago and Lynn Dornblaser at IFT 2014. Click HERE for the full video interview.

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