After shifting for several years, consumer preferences for breakfast cereals have created a “polarizing” trend marked by a desire for either healthy or indulgent products.
That’s the gist of new consumer research that strongly suggests cereal marketers will need to stock a growing arsenal of ingredients to fulfill everyone’s taste.
Even before COVID-19, younger consumers’ breakfast eating habits had, to a large degree, migrated from a bowl of cereal or oatmeal to quick edibles at home or work. CPG marketers have been trying to catch up.
A summer study from research provider The Hartman Group found that in 2019, 82% of breakfast occasions occurred at home. That percentage has now increased to 87%, most likely influenced by rising numbers of people working remotely.
A deeper dive into morning tastes comes from Innova Market Insights, which just released results of a representative sample of 1,000 consumers ages 18-65 in the United States and Canada.
Tracking cereal launches from 2014 to 2019, Innova found that flavor trends for products containing turmeric rose at a compound annual growth rate of 50%. Meanwhile, those containing marshmallows increased by 104%.
It gets more complicated.
looking for convenience, clean labels and health when purchasing cereals,” Lu Ann Williams, director of insights and innovation at Innova, tells CPG: FYI.
With 40% of American and Canadian consumers saying that convenience is a reason why they buy breakfast cereals, there’s “ongoing pressure to deliver ever more convenient formats. Snackability is a growing focus, as over 10% of consumers now claim to eat breakfast cereals as either a morning or evening snack.”
Kellogg Co. has already jumped on the sweeter-for-you and convenience format trends. In late June, it debuted Mashups, a combination of Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops.
The month before, Kellogg’s Jumbo Snax launch was positioned as “cereal brands you know and love, now jumbo-sized and packaged perfectly for snacking anytime, anywhere.”
QSR chains have also moved to the cereal aisle. In July, Dunkin’ teamed with Post Consumer Brands to launch caramel macchiato and mocha latte cereals based on two top Dunkin’ coffee flavors.
In a 2020 partnership with Post Foods Canada, Canadian QSR chain Tim Horton’s joined the cereal aisles at grocery stores with a sugary offering called Timbits. They’re offered in chocolate-glazed and birthday cake iterations, as seen in this commercial.
Some cereal launches this year featured high-protein claims while also embracing sweetness. Two are Catalina Crunch keto mint chocolate friendly cereal and Highkey cocoa protein.
New reduced-sugar offerings in 2020 include Hannaford apple and cinnamon-flavored instant oatmeal and Lakanto’s no-sugar-added granola cinnamon almond crunch.