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Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals in the U.S.


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

  • Executive Summary
    • Scope of the Report
    • Methodology
    • Market Overview
      • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals, 2008-2013 (in million $)
      • Table 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
      • Many Like to Supplement What Comes in the Box
      • Many Snackers Turn to Cold Cereal
      • Price Trumps Other Considerations for Cereal Buyers
  • 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 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 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 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 Projected Growth in Under-14 and 65+ Population Segments, 2010-2020 (in thousands)
    • Time for Cereal Marketers to Step Up their Game with Aging Boomers
    • Hispanic Families Offer Grounds for Optimism
      • Table Hispanics as Percent of Children under 14 in California, Texas and Florida, 2012
      • Table Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Household Consumption of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children, 2013
    • Store Brands Offer Promise
      • Table 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)
  • Market Trends
    • Key Market Trends
      • Breakfast More Important than Ever
        • Table Perceived Importance of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, 2004 vs. 2013
      • Many Americans Turn from Cereal in a Bowl to Cereal Bars
        • Table 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 Number of Households Using Cold Cereal by Number of Servings Consumed in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
        • Table 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 Number of Households Using Hot Breakfast Cereal by Number of Servings Consumed in Last 30 Days, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
        • Table 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
        • Table Household Consumption of Cold Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children under 18, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
        • Table Household Consumption of Hot Breakfast Cereal in Last 30 Days by Presence of Children under 18, 2004 vs. 2013 (in thousands)
        • Table 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 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 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 U.S. Retail Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2008-2013 (in million $)
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2008-2013 (in million $)
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals, 2008-2013 (in million $)
        • Table IRI-Tracked Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals by Dollar and Volume Growth, 2013
      • Supermarkets Leading Channel for Cereal Sales
    • 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 Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013-2018 (in million $)
  • Competitive Strategies
    • Overview
      • Major Marketers Hang On
        • Table Leading Marketers' Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2013 (in thousand $)
      • PepsiCo Slips a Bit in Hot Cereal Market
        • Table 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 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 Private Labels' Shares of IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal, 2013 (in thousand $)
        • Table 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 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 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 IRI-Tracked Dollar Sales of Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal by Selected Natural Marketers, 2013 (in thousand $)
  • 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
  • Cereal Consumers Today
    • Who Eats Cereal
      • Cold Cereal More Popular than Hot Cereal
        • Table Frequency of Eating Cold or Hot Cereal, 2014 (percent of respondents eating cold or hot cereal)
      • Men Like Their Breakfast Cereal
        • Table 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 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 Times of Day Cold Cereal Eaten, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
      • Hot Cereal More of a Morning Food
        • Table 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 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 How Consumers Usually Eat Cold Breakfast Cereal, 2014 (percent of those eating cold cereal)
      • Instant Hot Cereal Most Popular Type
        • Table 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 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 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 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 Percent Personally Buying or Eating Hot or Cold Cereal, 2014 (percent of all adults)
      • Price Trumps Other Considerations for Cereal Buyers
        • Table 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 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 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 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 Where Purchased Cold or Hot Cereal in Last Three Months, 2014 (percent of those eating and purchasing cold or hot cereal)

A perfect storm of cultural, culinary and demographic trends has led to a stubborn weakness in the breakfast cereal market. As all-day snacking replaces sit-down meals for on-the-go Americans, an increasing number of consumers treat breakfast as an on-the-run, away-from-home eating occasion rather than an at-home, sit-down meal. Many Americans are increasingly turning away from breakfast cereal and embracing alternatives such as cereal bars, bagels and yogurt.

Yet, breakfast cereal marketers have begun to see glimmers of hope for their beleaguered category. Although U.S. retail sales of cold cereal were down in 2013, hot cereal registered a noticeable uptick in sales as major marketers of breakfast cereal 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 their cereal businesses.

Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals in the U.S.
assesses the obstacles facing U.S. marketers of breakfast cereal and also identifies 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. More than 40% of cereal consumers eat it as an evening or late-night meal or snack. In fact, cold cereal plays a crucial role in the lives of snackers. 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.

In short, this Packaged Facts report suggests 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 products that suit the diverse tastes and eating habits of today’s cereal consumers.

Scope of the Report

This report analyzes the U.S. market for cold, or ready-to-eat, breakfast cereal and hot breakfast cereal. The report highlights trends shaping the market; identifies key opportunities available for companies active 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 a projection of U.S. retail sales through 2018; analyzes the strategies of major competitors in the market; identifies marketing and new product trends; and provides an in-depth look at the tastes and preferences of today’s cereal consumers.

Methodology

The consumer data in this report are derived from two sources. One 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 other consumer data source 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.

Retail sales figures credited to IRI (Chicago, IL) 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.


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