Healthy breakfast: British oat sales soar, spices next?

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are spices 'to watch' for breakfast innovation, says EHL Ingredients
Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are spices 'to watch' for breakfast innovation, says EHL Ingredients

Related tags Porridge Oat

British oat sales have soared amid a boom in healthy breakfast options like porridge and granola bars, but manufacturers should innovate with spices, says ingredient supplier EHL.

Across the global market, there has been a steady surge in demand for oats. In Europe, this has been fueled by 2013’s health claims relating to the beta glucan content of oats​. As demand has boomed, manufacturers faced good news as British oat prices plunged 40%​ last year after the largest crop since the late 1970s.

UK-based supplier EHL Ingredients said demand for British oats had risen last year, up 10% on the previous year.  

Sales and marketing director for EHL Tasneem Backhouse said demand was being driven because of a health associations with the cereal grain and a boom in healthy breakfast options.

Consumption of oats in the UK has steadily increased in recent years thanks to its versatility as a base for porridge convenience products, and for baking into granola bars, flapjacks, cereal mixes, pancakes and muffins, among other items,”​ she told

“The benefits of eating oats – a whole grain – are also well documented, with consumption linked to reduced risk of heart disease, high fiber content which aids digestion, and a low glycemic index (GI) that can aid weight management.”

British oats in particular were in demand because of their good reputation in terms of quality both nationally and internationally, she said.

Nearly half of British consumers eat porridge, according to Mintel data, proving to be a top breakfast choice across the UK​. Mintel analyst Heidi Lanschuetzer said the cereal had benefited from “oats' inherent health benefits, notably the fact that they lower cholesterol”,​ but also the association with satiety.

Spicy, innovative breakfast ingredients

Backhouse said there were plenty of ingredients that breakfast cereal and cereal bar makers should consider if they want to develop innovative breakfast items.

“Flavor is key, and we see spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg as ones to watch,”​ she said.

“Although these spices have been around for centuries, their health benefits are coming to the fore and breakfast food manufacturers should be wise to look into developing new products and formulation incorporating these spices.”

Cinnamon in particular, she said, has had a lot of positive coverage regarding health associations.

“With health and wellbeing still proving to be prevalent trends among consumers, ingredients that offer health benefits, as well as a great flavor, are sure to be popular products on shelf,”​ she said.

Kellogg launched a Special K on-the-go porridge pots in the UK​ and US last year, including a cinnamon raisin pecan variety for American consumers.

Quaker continues to be the market leader in hot cereal worldwide with a market share of 25.6%, according to Euromonitor data.

Related topics Ingredients Breakfast cereals Health

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