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Breakfast Cereals in the United States

Breakfast Cereals in the United States

A mix of cultural, culinary and demographic trends has led to a weakness in the U.S. breakfast cereal market. As snacking has increasingly become the norm instead of sit down meals, on-the-go or away-from-home breakfast has become the norm for Americans. So consumers are increasingly turning away from breakfast cereal and instead embracing alternatives such as cereal bars, bagels and yogurt.

Yet there still remains hope for breakfast cereal marketers. Although retail sales for cold cereal were down in 2013, hot cereal registered a noticeable increase in sales as major marketers in the breakfast cereal industry intensified their efforts to return cereal to the breakfast table at home and to expand its presence at breakfast occasions away from home. Senior executives from major breakfast cereal marketers continue to express the firm conviction that they are on the right path to revive the cereal businesses.

In Breakfast Cereals in the United States the obstacles facing U.S. marketers of breakfast cereal are examined in addition to the opportunities still offered by American consumers. Although the connection between Americans and their breakfast cereals may be strained, Packaged Facts survey data highlighted in the report indicate that it remains unbroken. Three in four adults eat cold cereal and more than 60% eat hot cereal. Three in five cold cereal eaters and two in five hot cereal eaters consume cereal daily or a few times a week. Moreover, Americans eat still breakfast cereal morning noon, and night with a surprising 40% of cereal consumers eating it as an evening or late-night meal or snack. Two in five cold cereal eaters consume cold cereal as a snack right out of the box, while 15% mix it with other ingredients to make their own customized snack mix.

This Packaged Facts report highlights the key suggestions that show that breakfast cereal still represents a handy, convenient and satisfying meal or snack for millions of adults and fits well into the eating habits of today’s American consumer. It also demonstrates that the challenge for cereal marketers is not only to leverage the traditional bond with breakfast cereal but also to offer innovative, trendy cereal products that suit the diverse tastes and eating habits of today’s cereal consumers.

Scope and Methodology

Breakfast Cereals in the United States analyzes the U.S. market for cold, or ready-to-eat, breakfast cereal and hot breakfast cereal. This report pinpoints some of the emerging cereal trends that are shaping the market; identifies the key opportunities in the market for breakfast cereals; provides an estimate of U.S. retail sales of cold and hot breakfast cereals for the 2008 through 2013 and forecasts U.S. retail sales through 2018; analyzes the strategies of major competitors in the market; identifies marketing and new cereal product trends; and provides an in-depth look at the tastes and preferences of today’s breakfast cereal consumers.

The consumer data in this report was gathered from two sources. The first is a Packaged Facts national online consumer survey conducted in January/February 2014, which reflects a panel of 2,000 U.S. adults (age 18+) that is balanced to the national population on the primary demographic measures of gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, presence or absence of children in the household and household income. The second is the Simmons National Consumer Survey for Summer 2013 (and Spring 2004 in the case of 10-year-trend tables and figures) from Experian Marketing Services. On an ongoing basis, Experian Marketing Services conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population.

The retail sales figures are from IRI (Chicago, IL), which are based on IRI aggregated multi-outlet (MULO) sales tracking, which represents sales through U.S. supermarkets, drugstores (including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid), mass merchandisers (Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Shopko), warehouse clubs (Sam’s Club and BJ’s, but excluding Costco), dollar stores (excluding Dollar Tree), and military commissaries.

The report is also based upon data collected from field surveys of food retailers in various channels as well as a wide range of industry sources, including company websites, trade publications, business newspapers and magazines, consumer blogs, and annual reports, 10Ks and other releases from public companies.


Market Insights: A Selection From The Report

“Free-From” Food Trend Hits Breakfast Cereal Market One overarching culinary trend that has begun to heavily influence the breakfast cereal market is the fact that food marketers increasingly define “good-for-you” as “not including ingredients that are bad for you.” These include gluten, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and animal-derived ingredients (vegan).

With the exception of Post Foods, which began to reformulate its Chex brand into gluten-free products in 2008, major marketers have not yet made a significant effort to launch gluten-free cereals. According to one analysis, smaller food manufacturers have a competitive advantage in the production of gluten-free foods because they do not have “legacy processing plants laden with traces of gluten” (The New York Times, February 17, 2014).

Major marketers of breakfast cereal have more opportunities in competing in the non-GMO field, and they all have begun a sustained campaign to offer some of their flagship brands in non-GMO varieties. For example, General Mills made a splash with the announcement that the Original Cheerios brand would be manufactured with non-GMO ingredients and Post Foods soon followed suit with the news that its Grape-Nuts brand would be marketed as a non-GMO product. Kellogg Company has informed consumers that Kashi GOLEAN cereals will be non-GMO Project Verified by the end of 2014.

Paradoxically, however, these efforts may not necessarily result in a direct and noticeable impact on retail sales, although they may have a broad positive impact on consumers’ perceptions of corporate images and brands. According to Packaged Facts’ January/February 2014 consumer survey, when buying a cold breakfast cereal only a small percentage of cereal purchasers assign a high level of importance to whether the product is non-GMO (7%), or gluten-free (5%). A much higher percentage of cereal buyers are impressed by more traditional healthy-ingredient claims such as no/low sugar (19%), vitamin-fortified (15%), high protein (15%), low calorie (13%) and low sodium (12%).

Press Release

Latinos Are the Comeback Kids for Breakfast Cereal Market

While American consumers continue to believe that breakfast is the "most important meal of the day," they increasingly favor alternatives to breakfast cereal in a bowl. Between 2004 and 2013 the number of households using cereal bars and chewy granola bars increased more than 35%, while the number of households using cold and hot cereals failed to keep up with overall household growth. Yet a return to strength is anticipated for the $12 billion breakfast cereal market, and Latino consumers are expected to play an important role in the turnaround, according to Breakfast Cereals in the United States, a just-released report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

Cereal marketers will benefit from the increasing demographic clout of Latino consumers, notes Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. While the kids population as a whole will decline in the coming years, there will be substantial growth in the population of Latinos under 14. Presently, Latinos account for one in four of those under the age of 14. And in states such as California and Texas, Latino kids are in the majority in this age group.

Regardless of whether they have children in their homes, Hispanic households are more likely than non-Hispanic households to have consumed 21 or more servings of cold breakfast cereal in the last 30 days, according to the report. Roughly 39% of Hispanic households with children consumed 21 or more servings of cold breakfast cereal, compared to only 33% of non-Hispanic households with children. Hispanic households without children are nearly twice as likely as their non-Hispanic counterparts to have consumed this volume of cold cereal in the past 30 days (23% vs. 12%).

Other trends encouraging growth include increasing investment by major marketers in innovative products; more effective merchandising and marketing campaigns; increasing cereal consumption among aging Boomers coupled with a relatively stable (at least in the short term) kids population; and the continuation of America's love affair with breakfast cereal morning, noon and night. Packaged Facts anticipates that these factors will combine to overcome the potential drag of competition from other types of on-the-go breakfast food and expects the market for cold and hot breakfast cereals will begin to turn the corner in 2014. The breakfast cereal market will experience cumulative growth of 10% during the 2014-2018 forecast period and will reach $13 billion in 2018.

For more information on Breakfast Cereals in the United States, please visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/redirect.asp?progid=86119&productid=8056897.

About Packaged Facts -- Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: www.packagedfacts.com. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

Chapter 1: Executive Summary
Scope of the Report
Methodology
Market Overview
Table 1-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals, 2008-2013 (in million $)
Table 1-2: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
Topline Insights and Opportunities
Breakfast Cereal Threatened from All Sides
Glimmers of Hope for a Faltering Category
“Free-From” Food Trend Hits Breakfast Cereal Market
Americans Still Love Their Breakfast Cereal
Opportunities Abound
Targeted Marketing Needed to Give Cereal Eaters What They Like
Cereal Buyers Present Challenging Target Before and in the Store
Kids’ Power Wanes, Grown-Ups Gain Influence at Breakfast Table
Hispanic Families Offer Grounds for Optimism
Competitive Strategies
Major Marketers Hang On
PepsiCo Slips a Bit in Hot Cereal Market
Kellogg Works to Get Cereal Business on Track
General Mills Believes in Cereal’s Future
Post Holdings Sets Out to Revitalize Its Brands
Real Medleys Helps Keep Quaker Oats on Top of Hot Cereal Category
Smaller Marketers Exploit Growing Niche for Natural Cereals
Marketing and New Product Trends
Nostalgia Drives Return of Favorite Characters
“Hello, Cereal Lovers” Celebrates Cereal Fans
New Cold Cereals Product Launches Highlighted
Special K Debuts First Hot Cereal
New Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal Flavors
Cream of Wheat Celebrates Anniversary with Three New Products
Cereal Consumers Today
Cold Cereal More Popular than Hot Cereal
Men Like Their Breakfast Cereal
Some People Just Don’t Like Cereal
Cold Cereal Not Just for Breakfast Time
Most Eat Cold Cereal As Is
Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals in the U.S. Table of Contents
February 2014 © Packaged Facts ii
Many Like to Supplement What Comes in the Box
Many Snackers Turn to Cold Cereal
Price Trumps Other Considerations for Cereal Buyers
Chapter 2: Topline Insights and Opportunities
Breakfast Cereal Threatened from All Sides
Glimmers of Hope for a Faltering Category
Marketers on High-Speed March toward Healthier Cereals
“Free-From” Food Trend Hits Breakfast Cereal Market
Effective Messaging Seen as Key to Growth
Americans Still Love Their Breakfast Cereal
Untapped Opportunities Abound
Table 2-1: Demographic Characteristics of Consumers Most Likely to Eat Cold and Hot Cereal Frequently, 2014(percent of respondents eating hot or cold cereal)
Targeted Marketing Needed to Give Cereal Eaters What They Like
Table 2-2: Key Consumer Segments by Breakfast Cereal Preferences, 2014 (percent of respondents eating cold or hot cereal)
Cereal Buyers Present Challenging Target Before and in the Store
Table 2-3: What Cereal Buyers Are Looking for When Buying Hot or Cold Cereal: By Selected Consumer Segment, 2014 (percent of those purchasing cold or hot cereal)
Kids’ Power Wanes, Grown-Ups Gain Influence at Breakfast Table
Table 2-4: Projected Growth in Under-14 and 65+ Population , 2010-2020 (in thousands)
Time for Cereal Marketers to Step Up their Game with Aging Boomers
Hispanic Families Offer Grounds for Optimism
Table 2-5: Hispanics as Percent of Children under 14 in California, Texas and Florida, 2012
Table 2-6: Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Household Consumption of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children, 2013
Store Brands Offer Promise
Table 2-7: Percent Strongly/Somewhat Agreeing “Store Brand Cold/Hot Cereal Is as Good Quality as Name Brand Cereals,” 2014 (percent of those purchasing hot or cold cereal)
Chapter 3: Market Trends
Key Market Trends
Breakfast More Important than Ever
Table 3-1: Perceived Importance of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, 2004 vs. 2013
Many Americans Turn from Cereal in a Bowl to Cereal Bars
Table 3-2: Number and Percent of Households Using Breakfast Foods in Last 30 Days by Type of Food, 2004 vs. 2013
Volume Consumption of Cold Breakfast Cereal Still on the Rise
Table 3-3: Number of Households Using Cold Cereal by Number of Servings Consumed in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Table 3-4: Number of Servings of Cold Breakfast Cereal Consumed by Households in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Hot Cereal Consumption Trends Augur Well
Table 3-5: Number of Households Using Hot Breakfast Cereal by Number of Servings Consumed in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Table 3-6: Number of Servings of Hot Cereal Consumed by Households in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Aging of America Changes Market for Breakfast Cereal
Figure 3-1: Under 14 and 65+ Population Segments as Percentages of the Population as a Whole, 2010-2060
Figure 3-2: Increase in Number of Households Consuming 21 or More Servings of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children under 18, 2004 vs. 2013
Table 3-7: Household Consumption of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children under 18, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Table 3-8: Household Consumption of Hot Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children under 18, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Table 3-9: Number of Adults in Households Consuming 21 or More Servings of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Age Group, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Table 3-10: Number of Adults in Households Consuming 10 or More Servings of Hot Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Age Group, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Eating on the Go Offers Growing Challenge to Cereal Marketers
Table 3-11: Number of Consumers Agreeing “I Eat Several Small Meals Throughout the Day,” 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Size and Composition of the Market
U.S. Market for Breakfast Cereals Remains Tepid
Table 3-12: U.S. Retail Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2008-2013 (in million $)
Table 3-13: U.S. Retail Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2008-2013 (in million $)
Table 3-14: U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals, 2008-2013 (in million $)
Table 3-15: IRI-Tracked Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals by Dollar and Volume Growth, 2013
Supermarkets Leading Channel for Cereal Sales
Figure 3-3: Projected U.S. Dollar Retail Sales of Breakfast Cereals by Retail Channel, 2014 (% of total U.S. retail sales)
Figure 3-4: Projected U.S. Dollar Retail Sales of Breakfast Cereals by Retail Channel, 2014 (in million $)
Factors Affecting Market Growth
An Unbreakable Cultural Connection with a Universally Popular Food
Accelerating Innovation
Healthier Cereals for More Healthy Eaters
Cereal Means More than Just Breakfast
Hot Cereal Faces Bright Future
Favorable Short-term and Unfavorable Long-term Demographic
Trends
Stiff Competition from Other Breakfast Foods
Projected Market Growth
Breakfast Cereal Market Expected to Turn the Corner
Table 3-16: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
Table 3-17: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
Table 3-18: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
Chapter 4: Competitive Strategies
Overview
Major Marketers Hang On
Figure 4-1: Top 5 Marketers’ Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2013
Table 4-1: Leading Marketers’ Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2013 (in thousand $)
PepsiCo Slips a Bit in Hot Cereal Market
Figure 4-2: Top 5 Marketers’ Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013
Table 4-2: Leading Marketers’ Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013 (in thousand $)
General Mills Gains Most in Brand Loyalty for Cold Cereals
Table 4-3: Brand of Cold Cereal Used Most Often by Households in Last Seven Days, 2008 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Private Label Cold Cereals Struggle, Hot Cereals Show Promise
Table 4-4: Private Labels’ Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013 (in thousand $)
Table 4-5: Number and Percent of Households Using Store Brands of Hot and Cold Cereals Most in Last Seven Days, 2008 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
Competitive Strategies
Kellogg Works to Get Cereal Business on Track
Table 4-6: IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Selected Kellogg’s Cold Cereal Brands: Old vs. New Products, 2013 (in thousand $)
General Mills Believes in Cereal’s Future
Post Holdings Sets Out to Revitalize Its Brands
Real Medleys Helps Keep Quaker Oats on Top of Hot Cereal Category
Table 4-7: IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Hot Cereals Brands of Quaker Oats Company: Real Medleys vs. All Other Brands, 2013 (in thousand $)
Smaller Marketers Exploit Growing Niche for Natural Cereals
Table 4-8: IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal by Selected Natural Marketers, 2013 (in thousand $)
Chapter 5: Marketing and New Product Trends
Marketing Trends
Winter Olympics Offer Marketing Opportunities
Cheerios Reaches Out to Older Kids
General Mills Brings “The Force” to the Breakfast Table
Post Foods Targets Promising Demographics
Cereal Packaging Goes Green
Nostalgia Drives Return of Favorite Characters
“Hello, Cereal Lovers” Celebrates Cereal Fans
New Product Trends: Cold Cereals
New Cereal Formulations Respond to Consumer Health Concerns
New England Natural Bakers Responds to Consumer Needs
Nature’s Path Launches Superfood Cereals
New Cereals Offer Indulgence
Kellogg Targets Boomers
General Mills Focuses on High Protein
Special K Debuts First Hot Cereal
New Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal Flavors
Cream of Wheat Celebrates Anniversary with Three New Products
Chapter 6: Cereal Consumers Today
Who Eats Cereal
Cold Cereal More Popular than Hot Cereal
Figure 6-1: Percent of Adults Eating Hot or Cold Cereal, 2014
Table 6-1: Frequency of Eating Cold or Hot Cereal, 2014 (percent of respondents eating cold or hot cereal)
Men Like Their Breakfast Cereal
Table 6-2: Demographic Profile of Frequent Cold and Hot Cereal Eaters, 2014 (percent of respondents eating hot or cold cereal)
Some People Just Don’t Like Cereal
Table 6-3: Main Reasons for Not Eating Cold Cereal, 2014 (percent of reasons given for not eating cold cereal)
When People Eat Cereal
Cold Cereal Not Just for Breakfast Time
Table 6-4: Times of Day Cold Cereal Eaten, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
Hot Cereal More of a Morning Food
Figure 6-2: Times of Day When Cereal Is Eaten at Least Sometimes by Type of Cereal, 2014
Table 6-5: Times of Day Hot Cereal Eaten, 2014 (percent of those eating hot cereal)
How People Eat Their Cereal
Dairy Milk Gets the Nod from Cold Cereal Lovers
Table 6-6: What Cold Cereal Eaters Pour over Their Cereal by Frequency of Use, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
Most Eat Cold Cereal As Is
Table 6-7: How Consumers Usually Eat Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
Instant Hot Cereal Most Popular Type
Table 6-8: Types of Hot Breakfast Cereal Regularly Used, 2014 (percent of those eating hot cereal)
Many Cereal Eaters Like to Supplement What Comes in the Box
Table 6-9: Items Regularly Added to Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those eating cold or hot cereal)
Many Snackers Turn to Cold Cereal
Table 6-10: Use of Cold Breakfast Cereal for Other Purposes, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
55+ Consumers Least Likely to Snack on Cold Cereal
Table 6-11: Likelihood of Eating Cold Cereal as a Snack Right out of the Box by Demographic Segment, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
What People Look for When They Buy Cereal
Most Food Shoppers Buy Cereal
Table 6-12: Percent Personally Buying or Eating Hot or Cold Cereal, (percent of all adults)
Price Trumps Other Considerations for Cereal Buyers
Table 6-13: Characteristics Most Important When Buying Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those purchasing cold or hot cereal)
Low Sodium Tops Wish List of Older Cereal Buyers
Table 6-14: Characteristics Most Important to Consumers in 55+ Age Group When Buying Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those purchasing cold or hot cereal)
Gender Gap in Cereal Purchase Decisions
Table 6-15: Characteristics Most Important to Men and Women When Buying Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those purchasing cold or hot cereal)
Vitamin-Fortified Cereals Most Important to Cereal Buyers with Kids
Table 6-16: Characteristics Most Important to Consumers with Children in Household When Buying Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those purchasing cold or hot cereal)
Supermarkets Attract Most Cereal Buyers
Table 6-17: Where Purchased Cold or Hot Cereal in Last Three Months, 2014 (percent of those eating and purchasing cold or hot cereal)

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