A new look at cereal snacking: The top brands and producers for the first half of 2018

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

A new look at cereal snacking: The top brands and producers for the first half of 2018

Related tags: Breakfast cereals, snacking, Us, Iri, Mintel, Top 10, ready-to-eat, oatmeal, Millennials, bestsellers

Cereals are no longer just relegated for breakfast and the bowl – market research indicates it is becoming a popular snack, especially among millennials. This is giving the declining sector a much needed boost. We rate the top 10 bestsellers in the US for the first half of 2018.

According to Mintel, total US sales of hot and cold cereals have declined 9% since 2012, totalling around $10.5bn in 2017.

The US market for ready-to-eat (RTE) cold cereals is much bigger than the hot cereal sector.

For the 52 weeks ending July 15, 2018, total US multi-outlet sales of RTE cereals was $8.51bn versus $1.33bn for hot cereals, according to IRI data.

However, the RTE category posted a 1.52% decline in sales from the same period a year ago, while the hot cereals sector saw a 4.03% rise.

John Owen, senior food & drink analyst at Mintel, noted that, while the RTE cereal category continues to decline, it remains a huge category with near-universal penetration.

“The key to reinvigorating the cereal category may lie less in trying to fix its inherent shortcomings than leveraging its strongest asset: great taste,”​ he said, noting that 30% of US consumers choose cereal that tastes good regardless of how nutritious it is.

That said, Mintel research found that, while lightly sweetened cereal is the most popular choice (60%), interest in healthy cereal is on the rise. Forty-nine percent of cereal consumers said they are eating more ancient grain-based cereal, 40% are consuming more muesli, 36% granola and 33% high-fiber cereals.

Snacking on cereal

Earlier this year, Mintel published research that revealed that 74% of US cereal consumers eat cereal as a snack, pushing the occasion beyond breakfast and even beyond the bowl.

Younger generations are leading the revolution when it comes to snacking on cereal, with 56% of millennials (aged 23-40) saying they have eaten cereal as a snack at home, compared to just 32% of Baby Boomers (aged 53-71).

“While breakfast is the most common occasion for eating cereal and nearly universal across age groups, snacking on cereal may offer greater potential for reinvigorating category growth, especially among younger adults,”​ said Owen.

“Many consumers view cereal as a guilt-free treat, suggesting that a bowl of cereal could be positioned as just as satisfying as, but more sensible than, other more dessert-like options. Positioning cereal as an anytime, tasty snack could be a way to tap into the belief that cereal is a permissible indulgence.”

Top 10 RTE cereal producers for first half of 2018

(Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide​)

RankingProducerSales% Change YAgoMarket share
1General Mills $2.6bn+0.85%30.59%
2Kellogg Co$2.4bn-3.51%29.29%
3Post Holdings$1.6bn+0.14%19.31%
4Private label$610m-5.75%7.16%
5Quaker Oats Co$546m-1.93%6.41%
6Kashi Co$139m-4.65%1.63%
7Natures Path Foods$91m+1.16%1.07%
8Small Plant Foods$78m+5.14%0.93%
9Bear Naked$72m+15.52%0.86%
10Kind$53m+1.74%0.62%

Top 10 hot cereal producers for first half of 2018

(Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide​)

RankingProducerSales% Change YAgoMarket share
1Quaker Oats Co$812m+5.85%60.84%
2Private label$275m-4.24%20.62%
3B&G Foods$73m+2.60%5.50%
4Post Holdings$44m+6.79%3.32%
5Bob's Red Mill$42m+12.62%3.16%
6Sturm Foods$16m+6.36%1.24%
7Natures Path Foods$14m+14.68%1.06%
8Think Thin$12m+55.26%0.94%
9Simply Orange Juice Co$7mNew to market0.56%
10Little Crow Foods$2m+8.57%0.22%

Top 10 RTE cereal brands for first half of 2018

(Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide​)

RankingBrandProducerSales% Change YAgoAvg Price/UnitPrice Change YAgo
1Private LabelPrivate label$610m-5.75%$2.434 cents less
2Honey Nut CheeriosGeneral Mills$453m-10.46%$3.269 cents less
3Frosted FlakesKellogg Co$412m-0.82%$3.135 cents less
4CheeriosGeneral Mills$396m+19.07%$3.1611 cents less
5Honey Bunches of OatsPost Holdings$373m-5.87%$3.361 cent more
6Cinnamon Toast CrunchGeneral Mills$366m-1.74%$3.276 cents less
7Lucky CharmsGeneral Mills$291m+8.56%$3.254 cents more
8Froot LoopsKellogg Co$267m+0.31%$2.947 cents less
9Mini Frosted WheatsKellogg Co$241m-1.72%$3.407 cents less
10Quaker LifeQuaker Oats Co$178m-3.11%$3.076 cents more

Top 10 hot cereal/oatmeal brands for first half of 2018

(Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide​)

RankingBrandProducerSales% Change YAgoAvg Price/UnitPrice Change YAgo
1Quaker OatmealQuaker Oats Co$662m+6.63%$2.942 cents less
2Private Label OatmealPrivate label$275m-4.24%$2.061 cent more
3Cream of WheatB&G Foods$68m+2.90%$3.523 cents more
4Quaker Lower Sugar OatmealQuaker Oats Co$43m+3.96%$2.694 cents less
5Bob's Red Mill OatmealBob's Red Mill$42m+12.62%$3.899 cents less
6Quaker Real Medleys OatmealQuaker Oats Co$22m-26.53%$1.637 cents less
7Quaker Protein OatmealQuaker Oats Co$20m-1.74%$2.7813 cents more
8Quaker Overnight OatsQuaker Oats Co$19mNew to market$1.5350 cents more
9Think Thin OatmealThink Thin$12.5m+55.26%$2.5924 cents more
10Malt O MealPost Holdings$12.1m+4.67%$3.9918 cents less

Related topics: Retail & Shopper Insights

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