The perfect breakfast cereal packaging is simple, functional, compact and robust – according to research carried out by pioneering packaging innovation consultancy ThePackHub.

ThePackHub conducted the research through its unique ‘Insight Community’, a dedicated packaging innovation community of articulate and engaged consumers who offer observations, comments, anecdotes and suggestions to answer specific packaging insight needs during a week-long online immersion.

On this occasion, ThePackHub asked participants to comment on their experiences with breakfast cereal packaging – and found it was an issue consumers had strong feelings about.

Among the key insights was that brand owners should keep things simple. Paul Jenkins, managing director of ThePackHub, said: “Breakfast is a hassle and often a necessary evil for consumers. Members of our ThePackHub Insight Community told us that they had low energy, were distracted and quite self-oriented at breakfast time. It’s also often the most chaotic time of the day.”

He continued: “There is a huge variety of needs to be catered for. In many households, nobody makes the same breakfast choices and they often eat at different times. People often don’t have the emotional resources to compromise and share the same breakfast. So packaging that is easy to open, dispense and store away is a pre-requisite. Packaging that hinders this process irritates and is in danger of not being bought again.”

A second key insight was that pack functionality is important. “Impatience and shortness of attention span at this time of the day mean pack functionality is crucial,” said Paul. “We identified many areas where packaging frustrated consumers at breakfast time. Important factors were the ease of opening, serving, storage and resealing, and the effective maintenance of freshness.”

He added: “Consumers also fed back that they wanted packs that are robust enough to last for the lifetime of the product rather than tear when they tried to open the box or rip because the box is just too big for conventional cupboard spaces. Not too much to ask!”

Consumers also want brand owners to make cereal packaging smaller. “ThePackHub Insight Community participants told us that the breakfast cereal boxes they bought were too big and often didn’t even fit in their cupboards,” said Paul. “Some lay the packs sideways and others rip part of the top of the box off. It’s not the best way for manufacturers to maintain brand values.”

A fourth finding was that, in the opinion of our members, cereal packs are not robust. “Both the cardboard box and the inner bags tend to fail,” explained Paul. “In addition, the box can tear when it is opened.”

Lastly, and encouragingly, the research indicated that consumers can co-create solutions to these problems. “Our findings show how creative consumers can be, with a little bit of problem identification and moderator prompting,” said Paul.

Research using ThePackHub’s Insight Community is designed to offer brand owners, marketers and packaging suppliers practical information that can help them ensure their packaging meets consumers’ needs.

Paul said: “By focusing only on packaging, ThePackHub Insight Community* offers a unique research solution specific to the packaging market. We encourage respondent blogging and forum participation and task them to use photography and video capture to give deeper, in-the-moment insights into their decision making and how they interact with packaging in context and their natural environment.”

ThePackHub offers research and consultancy services to companies operating in a full range of FMCG categories, including retail and out-of-home food and beverage products and tobacco. More information is available at

“At ThePackHub, we understand the importance of consumer insight in delivering winning packaging solutions,” said Paul. “By using the very latest research techniques and by only focusing on packaging, we can help businesses discover and really understand those difficult-to-find innovation insights. Whether you’re a brand owner, agency or packaging supplier, we have the knowledge and experience to help you meet your packaging objectives.”

More information on the ThePackHub Insight Community is available Services/insightcommunity.html


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