A key trend in the breakfast market is the growing consumer demand for healthier breakfast options.
In the UK, 65% of adults say they try to eat healthily all or most of the time (Mintel).
As more and more consumers prioritise nutrition, particularly because of the pandemic, as a business Nestlé Cereals is focussed on finding ways to improve the nutritional profiles of its cereals, and the company has committed to ensuring the majority of its cereals are non-HFSS by the end of 2021.
Nestlé Cereals has worked to reduce the average sugar in its products by approximately 20.6% since 2010, and this is part of our ongoing reformulation journey. The Shreddies Original brand for example, has undergone significant reformulation, resulting in the sugar content reducing from 14.9g to 12.5g sugar/100g and increasing whole grain from 94.4% to 96.2%. Retailers can cater to this demand by stocking a variety of nutritious breakfast options.
“The pandemic also had financial effects on many households in the UK, meaning saving money has inevitably became more important than ever to shoppers,” comments Toby Baker, Regional Marketing Director UKA – Nestlé Cereals. “At 22p a bowl, cereal remains a low cost, convenient option for those that need it. We have seen volume per household grow, and the cereal category has been able to boost its volume growth.”
This year Nestlé Cereals launched Organic Honey and Chocolate Cheerios, which marks Cheerios UK’s entrance into the organic market. With an estimated £200m a month now spent on organic food and drink in the UK, families are placing greater emphasis on leading better lifestyles, focused on wellbeing and sustainability. Organic Honey and Chocolate Cheerios is made using organic honey hoops from five organically farmed whole grains, with tasty chocolatey cereal pieces for the whole family to enjoy. All agricultural ingredients are sourced from farmers following organic farming practices. The product is organic-certified, and licensed to be stored and sold in the UK by the Soil Association.
Nestlé Cereals also launched Shreddies The Simple One earlier this year, which is a new take on the family favourite brand. Designed for health-conscious consumers, it is made using just four simple ingredients – whole wheat, banana puree, date syrup and a pinch of salt – but with no compromise on taste.
Kellogg’s has announced that following a successful trial, new world-first technology will be permanently added to all of its cereal boxes to make them accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
Important information on food packaging, such as allergen details can often be in print that’s difficult for blind or partially sighted people to read. The new boxes will allow a smartphone to easily detect a unique on-pack code and playback labelling information to the shopper with sight loss.
The company will change all its cereal packaging, beginning in 2022 with the first accessible boxes of Special K appearing on shelf in January. The idea came to life when Kellogg’s met with children from St Vincent’s in 2019, a specialist school in Liverpool for children with sensory impairment. It was the pupil’s insight that inspired the business to look for solutions.
Kellogg’s also hopes that by sharing its experience with other brands there is an opportunity to make the supermarket shelves more accessible for people with sight loss so they can shop more independently and access information from a range of packaging.
This announcement comes after a successful UK trial last year in partnership with Co-op, on Kellogg’s Coco Pops boxes. Evaluation of the pilot by charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) showed that 97 percent of the participants agreed that they would like to see more of these accessibility features available on grocery packaging in the future.
Unlike other types of printed codes, the new technology, called NaviLens, includes high contrasting coloured squares on a black background. Users do not need to know exactly where the code is located to scan it. It allows smartphones to pick up the on-pack code from up to three metres distance when a blind or partially sighted shopper points their device in the direction of the cereal box. This then alerts the phone and the shopper can choose to have the ingredients, allergen and recycling information read aloud to them – as well as reading it on their device using accessibility tools.
The technology is currently used across Barcelona, Madrid and Murcia city’s transport systems, making the cities easier to navigate for thousands of visually impaired citizens.
Chris Silcock, head of Kellogg’s UK, said: “Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and are unable to simply read the information on our cereal boxes. As a company focused on equity, diversity and inclusion we believe that everyone should be able to access important and useful information about the food that we sell.
“That’s why, starting next year, we are adding new technology to all of our cereal boxes. I am proud that Kellogg’s will be the first company in the world to use NaviLens on packaging. We know it’s important that all packaging is accessible for the blind community to enable them to make shopping easier, so we will share our experience with other brands who want to learn more.”
Darryl Burgess, Head of Sales for Weetabix, comments: “The cereal category is worth £77m in the total impulse category, up 15% year on year. Having a well-stocked breakfast category with all of the core and top-selling cereal brands has never been more important in a changing breakfast occasion.”
Weetabix invested a significant amount in researching the breakfast opportunity during lockdown. Breakfasts at home clearly became the norm during this period – 98% of breakfasts are now in the home and cereal has been the real winner, firmly establishing itself as the breakfast product of choice, while other categories have remained flat.
Cereal brands performed really well during this time suggesting people were looking for familiar products during a period of uncertainty. Weetabix Original performed well and sales for Weetabix Minis Chocolate also rose 44% (Kantar).
“Consumers have returned to cereal because of its versatility – it’s quick and convenient but can also be personalised with additional toppings and different milks, which taps into the trend for personalised breakfasts,” says Burgess.
Breakfast has become more of a social occasion in the past year, with 53% eating more together as a family. Younger people have also returned to the breakfast table, with a 2.8% increase in cereal consumption compared to 2019 – a recent study has found that younger people have found the lockdown has helped them reconnect with their family as they cook and enjoy more mealtimes together – and that they wish to continue this going forward.
Health will come back to the forefront in the months ahead. There will be more looking to lose weight following their lockdown diets, whilst improving general health and immunity will be a focus – 80% say they will make greater attempts to stay healthier as a result of Covid-19.
“We know consumers are concerned about the healthiness of their cereals. Weetabix Original is and will always be, a low sugar cereal, and we have all green traffic lights on pack to make it easy for shoppers to make a healthy choice,” Burgess continues.
“With a ban on HFSS promotions on the horizon for retailers, it’s important they are confident in offering healthy options to consumers that can still deliver growth for their stores, such as Weetabix, Ready brek and Alpen Light Bars. Some of our more indulgent products such as Weetabix Chocolate and Chocolate Crispy Minis also have strong nutritionals and are non-HFSS, allowing retailers to meet the growing demand for indulgent yet nutritious cereals.”
Jeremy Gilboy, Founder of St Pierre Groupe, comments: With wellbeing high on the agenda, more than ever people are looking to make healthier choices. Nutrition experts have long hailed breakfast as the most important meal of the day, so it presents a key opportunity for those looking to maximise sales by offering healthier breakfast options.”
Products that offer both convenience and taste will be a key purchase driver, as consumers look for simple and affordable ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Baker Street’s Sliced Seeded Loaves deliver on all accounts. They are baked with generous amounts of sunflower seeds and tasty linseeds allowing consumers to make healthy choices without committing to big lifestyle changes. High in fibre and a great source of protein, the Sliced Seeded Loaves are very versatile and pair well with other popular breakfast foods like avocado and peanut butter.
Bread for breakfast – toasted or otherwise – remains popular, with sales of sliced bread growing by 4.6 per cent (Nielsen Value Sales – MAT Apr 2021). Baker Street Sliced White Loaf and Sliced Brown Loaf sales are also increasing, with the brand as a whole growing 30 per cent year on year.
Bread remains a key staple for the vast majority of households and there is particular growth in the trend towards staple white bread, which has increased 9.3 per cent (Nielsen Value Sales – L4 weeks MAT Feb 2021). Keeping topped up on bakery products is, therefore, essential for grocery retailers, especially for breakfast.
The Baker Street brand, as a whole, is up 30 per cent year on year. The traditional sliced loaves, which are cleverly packed to stay fresher for longer, are both performing well as they meet consumer needs around convenience and variety, whilst also helping to reduce food waste. Baker Street Sliced White Loaf is up 31 per cent in comparison to last year and Baker Street Sliced Brown Loaf is up 27 per cent (Nielsen Value Sales – MAT Feb 2021). This is the result of customers continuing to look for staple products that can cater for the whole family and for multiple meal occasions. However, growth is being driven by burger buns and hot dog rolls as both consumer and trade audiences embrace extended-life options that allow for impromptu takeaway classics.
Monisha Singh, Shopper Marketing Manager at Kepak Consumer Foods, comments: “Rustlers, the £115.6m Chilled Ready Meals brand from Kepak Consumer Foods, is enabling retailers to meet shopper demand for convenient breakfast solutions, with the Rustlers All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin.”
Widely viewed as the most important meal of the day, breakfast accounts for 19.8 billion occasions and is eaten by 98% of the UK (Kantar).
Since launching in 2018, the Rustlers All Day Breakfast Muffin is already worth £12.2m (Nielsen).
Rustlers All Day Breakfast Muffin meets shopper demand for a quick and convenient hot breakfast solution, making is a must-stock for retailers wanting to build their breakfast offering. It is ideally suited to be part of a breakfast meal alongside a hot drink. Retailers can position themselves as a daily destination for shoppers by delivering meal deal options throughout the day, offering shoppers value for money with more than half choosing a deal because it is a cheaper option (IGD).
Rustlers is helping retailers optimise their breakfast offering with its innovative Cook in Box solution.
Rustlers All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin is available in the innovative format, served with cheese and brown sauce (RRP £2.50), and is perfectly placed to target the breakfast-to-go occasion.
Rustlers Cook in Box allows shoppers to heat the fully assembled product without even opening the pack, eliminating any messy preparation whilst also acting as a product carrier to enable easy consumption on the go.
Charlotte Hulbert, Sales Manager, Brioche Pasquier, comments: “As the country emerges from the pandemic through 2021, economic uncertainty remains an issue for individuals and businesses. We believe that consumers with rattled confidence will continue to want the type of bakery products that we can offer them. Reassuringly familiar, long lasting, great tasting products which can be used at breakfast, as well as for meals at any other time of day, will drive the breakfast bakery category forwards.”
However, it won’t all be about the tried and tested, housebound consumers have shown a desire to experiment with food, and breakfast is no exception. Retailers will need to be on their toes to keep pace with trends such as home baking, which has seen a steep rise in visits to the recipe page on Brioche Pasquier’s website, with breakfast recipes being particularly popular.
It is likely that brunch will be a growing trend as consumers continue to spend time at home. Outdoor entertaining will remain popular and brunch is an ideal way to get together with family or friends in a garden. Less time consuming and labour intensive than a barbecue, a social brunch is easy to manage and fun to attend.
“We are seeing a rise in popularity for breakfasts that combine sweet and savoury flavours like those enjoyed by much of the rest of Europe,” says Hulbert. “Our sweet tasting Croissants and Brioche Rolls for example, are extremely good stuffed with a European style breakfast combination of cheese and ham. Avocado and bacon is another savoury pairing that is complemented by the sweetness of Croissants or Brioche Rolls.
“These tasty on-trend combinations bridge the gap between sweet and savoury breakfast items, offering an upgrade on the usual slice of toast, and are perfect for brunch gatherings.”