A quick look at the 2012 data provided by the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends database reveals the high level of penetration of the breakfast cereals market in developed countries, especially the U.S. U.S. households are exposed to a large variety of breakfast cereals, making innovation the need of the hour. Most cereal makers are resorting to link whole grain products to either health organizations or recognized wellness/fitness programs. Women show a much higher inclination towards healthy breakfast cereals, while children till the age of 12 lean heavily towards pre-sweetened breakfast cereal.
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Cereal makers are also trying to battle rising concerns over the rate of childhood obesity by promoting their sugary cereal products more as snacks than daily breakfast foods. The massive link between children and breakfast cereals has put the companies in a position to heed the consumers’ appeals to incorporate healthier options into their breakfast requirements. At the same time, many companies are beginning to recognize the potency of a nostalgic connection that adults may have with popular cereals, and are looking to capitalize on it by reintroducing the foods in their vintage packaging.
The consumer trends and manufacturer promotion tactics paint a colorful picture of the global breakfast cereal market, and yet leave large room for improvement. With the larger population around the world attempting to focus on health more than taste, traditional sugary cereal makers are scrambling to reinvent themselves to keep sales up.
Ready to Eat Cereals Dominate Global Breakfast Cereals Market
The global breakfast cereals market is generally divided into two segments according to their type: Ready to eat (RTE) cereals and hot cereals. All hot cereals require some amount of preparation before they are consumed. On the other hand, RTE cereals require no preparation time and can be served for consumption directly out of the packaging. With the changing lifestyle that makes it difficult to dedicate some time to cook, consumers largely prefer ready-to-eat cereals. They are majorly popular in developed countries from North America and Europe. In fact, the RTE cereal segment currently holds almost 85% of the market share.
The other side of the coin shows the hot cereals segment of the global breakfast cereals market and its preference in select markets. The segment finds large numbers of consumers in the Asian countries where people wish to eat a hot first meal of the day. Due to this, the hot cereals segment in the global breakfast cereals market is expected to gain an 18.0% market share by 2019.
The contrasting nature of the global breakfast cereals market is further clarified by the fact that the Asia Pacific region exhibits the fastest growth rate till 2019, while the North America and Europe breakfast cereal markets are expected to fall in the same time frame.
A Market Driven as a Matter of Convenience
The North American and European breakfast cereal markets being in a rather saturated and relatively stagnant position, the world’s top cereal makers are now looking towards the developing economies of the world to create a sales base. The Asia Pacific region, for example, is now at a stage that makes it comfortable to create a rapid rate of growth for convenience stores. This in turn increases brand visibility of multiple products, including breakfast cereals. Combining this with the growing number of individuals and families with a larger disposable income, key companies are looking at vast expansion options.
A large number of people in emerging nations are beginning to prefer packaged food and cereals to contemporary heavy foods. This is a direct result of the shift in lifestyles towards larger workforces and busy schedules.
With the middle class population in China and India expected to reach 1.2 billion each by 2030, cereal makers are looking at a potentially booming market that is steadily shifting towards convenience for the sake of time management.