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It has been another challenging year for breakfast cereals. While the category still has some enthusiastic followers, it has seen attrition as consumers in developed breakfast cereal markets trade away in a quest for “better breakfast options.”

While the challenge of getting a foothold in Asia continues to plague the industry, another issue surrounds the cereal itself, and its role in contemporary foodways. In developed cereal markets, consumers are moving away from the product because they are looking for breakfast foods that deliver more protein. They are also looking for products that offer satiety, as well as products that can be eaten on the go or at a sit-down spot other than their home (at work or at school, for example). In developing markets, consumers are not ready to give up their established breakfast patterns with any frequency; they may try Western-style cereals from time to time, but these products have not replaced hot and savory items such as congee or oats.

Breakfast cereal value sales are flat-to-declining in the top five markets in 2015, marking another disappointing year for the category. In established markets such as the US and Canada, consumers are switching to other breakfast foods that they consider to be higher in protein, more convenient, or more interesting. In emerging markets, such as China and Japan, while western-style breakfast foods have some appeal, they can’t win against the strong Asian tradition for hot and savory breakfast fare. Sales in Brazil have also declined, in part because of pricing and in part because of the Brazilian consumer’s tendency to make cereal a weekly – as opposed to a daily – breakfast feature.

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