Special K Nourish: ‘The concept of hot cereal in the US is a cultural change’, says analyst

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hot cereal Porridge Breakfast

The on-the-go hot cereal Special K Nourish pots are pegged for success in the US, says analyst
The on-the-go hot cereal Special K Nourish pots are pegged for success in the US, says analyst
US consumers don’t have the habit of eating hot cereal, but they are very open to new concepts and the Special K Nourish launch should do very well, says an analyst.

Kellogg has developed a sub-brand ‘Nourish’ under its weight management brand Special K and launched a single-serve hot cereal in the US.

The cereal comes in three flavors – maple brown sugar crunch, cranberry almond and cinnamon raisin pecan – all with nuts and seeds in a removable cap that can be stirred in.

The new pots mark the first hot cereal under the brand and are made with a wholegrain blend of quinoa, oats, barley and wheat at 190 calories.

“The new cereal signifies a cultural shift for US consumers. They are not used to having cereals with hot milk,”​ said Ramaa Chipalkatti, consumer insights analyst at Datamonitor.

“The concept of hot cereal in the US is a cultural change and Kellogg is leading the change with this product,” ​Chipalkatti told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Hot breakfast is very common across Europe with UK consumers regularly eating porridge or hot oats and continental Europeans preferring hot drinks at breakfast with dunkable biscuit options, she said.

US consumers open to new concepts

However, US consumers, like in many other developed Western markets, are open to new concepts and formats, she added.

“The breakfast cereal sector is very, very dynamic in terms of innovation… Special K Nourish is very different but people are always willing to try new things,”​ she said.

Chipalkatti said the new product is an interesting development from Kellogg given that Special K innovation is predominantly centered on flavor, not content.

“This marks a shift away from flavor innovation to grain innovation and consumers in the US are quite welcoming of new super foods and grains and formulations,”​ she said.

“Kellogg is definitely heading in the right direction. The product has a lot of opportunity for success.”

Stepping up to competition

Chipalkatti said the move to create a sub-brand and entirely new product was also probably to step up to competition from private label.

“This launch enables Kellogg to differentiate further with an additional product in the battle against private label,”​ she said.

“It’s interesting they are launching in single-serve. This is very clever,”​ she added, although ironically, this choice also opens Kellogg up to wider competition from the hot breakfast segment that includes foodservice outlets serving bagels and muffins.

“Even a smoothie or drinkable snack is now considered a breakfast option. It’s all getting very blurry. So competition wise, you have to look beyond other cereals.”

Quinoa: The attention-grabber

Speaking to this publication, Noel Geoffrey, vice president of marketing for US Morning Foods, said: “Special K’s primary consumers – women who are managing their weight – increasingly seek food that provides positive nutrition in addition to having fewer calories.”

“They want to eat smarter, not just eat less,” ​he added, noting that the wholegrain blend fulfills this.

But Chipalkatti said using quinoa is nothing new – “it’s the attention-grabbing part for consumers”.

It is interesting however, considering quinoa is predominantly positioned elsewhere as a gluten-free option, that Kellogg are using it in a weight management product, she said.

The Special K Nourish hot cereal pots will be rolled out in retailers across the US later this summer.

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