Breakfast cereals are the cornerstone of the breakfast occasion in the UK – the meal commonly touted as the most important of the day. Almost nine in 10 (87%) adults eat breakfast cereals, with the market valued at a considerable £1,614 million in 2014.

2013_Mintel_hi-resHowever, volume sales are in long-term decline, owing to the troubles of the ready-to-eat breakfast cereal segment. Intensifying competition from alternative breakfast options – particularly those which have successfully tapped the on-the-go trend in the food industry – has eroded sales. Health concerns have also dampened demand for these products. The escalating sugar debate in 2014 likely to have had the biggest impact on flavoured cereals given that almost half of adults deem these products to be too high in sugar.

And while manufacturers have reformulated their cereal recipes over the years, only three in 10 users think cold breakfast cereals are healthier than they used to be. This may reflect companies being wary of a consumer backlash against any changes to the taste profile of their products. Meanwhile, the value of the hot cereals market has soared in recent years. This is largely thanks to the healthy and filling image of porridge, with the porridge pot format catering to younger consumers’ love of convenience and in particular the popularity of “desk fast”. When it comes to the consumer, almost half (45%) of parents want cereals that the whole family will eat, however, that this is not higher indicates that many families buy a number of different cereals. There is demand for cereal with separate toppings among 17% of users, rising to over a quarter of those living in households of five or more people, which could appeal to those currently buying a variety.

A third of users would like to see more cereal that comes in resealable packaging to keep it fresher for longer, potentially presenting added-value opportunities for brands.

Young consumers are least likely to find cold cereals convenient to eat at home in the mornings and to prefer breakfasts which can easily be eaten on the go. As such, under-35s express most interest in breakfast cereal drinks and Bircher muesli.

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