Breakfast rocks round-the-clock

July 03, 2014

Cereal category awakens to consumption anytime – maybe just in time to revitalize sales.

Diners and bagel shops are known for serving breakfast all day.  So are Jack in the Box and iHop.  Even McDonald’s After Midnight menu last year flirted with the idea.  It’s a challenge for most fast-feeders because of limited cooking space and too much item variety – but that won’t stop them from trying to make it work.  

Depending where nighttime munchers are, some have places to go, while others satisfy their “breakfast tastes” in their cozy home kitchens – which means they source these foods at retail.  One of the keystone breakfast categories – cold cereal – fell in dollar sales by 2.94% to $9.22 billion in the 52 weeks ended January 26, 2014 in supermarkets, drug stores, mass market retailers, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail outlets, reports IRi, a Chicago-based market research firm.

Pin that loss on frozen handhelds, snack bars, hot cereal, nutrition bars, eggs, Greek yogurt and toaster pastries - all categories that grew in this period, according to the IRi data - as well as the rise in on-the-go consumer eating.

“Although the connection between Americans and their breakfast cereals may be strained…it remains unbroken,” says Packaged Facts, highlighting its recent report, Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals in the U.S.  Their research indicates, “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 breakfast cereal morning, noon and night,” Packaged Facts continues.  “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.”

With such findings, cold cereal makers are waking up to round-the-clock opportunities.  This awareness may come just in time for brands and retailers to capitalize on the trend and offset competition from fast-feeders, we feel at The Lempert Report.   What’s new?

  • Kellogg’s will bring out Froot Loops, Crave, Apple Jacks and Corn Pops in single-serve pouches this summer, at higher per-ounce prices to appeal to snackers any time.
  • Kellogg’s has placed nighttime imagery on some packings of Special K and Frosted Mini-Wheats, to suggest consumption at a late hour.
  • General Mills has introduced Cheerios Protein, with lentils as an ingredient, to help win back eaters of eggs and Greek yogurt.