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Key points included

  • Green packaging initiatives resonate
  • Gut health messages hold potential for the category
  • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes

Covered in this report

This report examines the UK retail market for breakfast cereals. It excludes sales through foodservice channels.

For the purposes of this report, breakfast cereals are segmented into RTE cereals and hot cereal products. The former comprises any cereals that are served without heating them, such as corn flakes or muesli. The hot cereal segment consists of porridge, oatmeal and instant hot oat products.

Cereal bars and other breakfast products are excluded from the scope of this Report, but reference to them is made where relevant in the light of their role as competing products.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Anita Winther, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Sugar remains the key challenge faced by the category. While the vast majority of users would like to see the sugar content reduced in their favourite breakfast cereals, reformulation is not without risk. Steps to get consumers actively involved in reformulation hold potential to reduce the risk of backlash. Anita Winther
Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Decline in RTE cereals brings down the overall market
              • Downward trend to continue
                • Figure 1: Forecast of UK retail value sales of breakfast cereals, 2014-24
              • The category makes progress on sugar reduction
                • Breakfast cereals attract negative headlines
                  • The benefits of fibre hit the headlines
                    • Ageing population should support at-home breakfasts
                      • Companies and brands
                        • Rising prices prop up value sales for leading brands
                          • Figure 2: Leading brands’ value sales in the UK retail RTE cereal market, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                        • Quaker Oat So Simple retains lead in hot cereals
                          • Figure 3: Leading brands’ value sales in the UK retail hot cereal market, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                        • L/N/R sugar claims rise
                          • Figure 4: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market featuring L/N/R sugar claims, 2015-19
                        • Nestlé and Kellogg’s ramp up convenience
                          • Above-the-line adspend declines
                            • Power and energy messages take centre stage on health front
                              • Quaker and Weetabix lead on trust, quality and health perceptions
                                • The consumer
                                  • Nine in 10 eat breakfast cereals
                                    • Figure 5: Types of breakfast cereals eaten, May 2019
                                  • RTE cereals feature at least most days for half of users
                                    • Figure 6: Frequency of eating breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                  • Weekday breakfasts are key occasion
                                    • Figure 7: When breakfast cereals are eaten, May 2019
                                  • High levels of interest in functional benefits
                                    • Figure 8: Functional benefits consumers would ideally like from a breakfast cereal, May 2019
                                  • Green packaging initiatives resonate
                                    • Figure 9: Interest in breakfast cereal concepts, May 2019
                                  • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes
                                    • Figure 10: Behaviours relating to breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                  • Healthy characteristics make sweet cereals permissible
                                    • Figure 11: Attitudes towards breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                    • Gut health messages hold potential for the category
                                      • Facts
                                        • Implications
                                          • Green packaging initiatives resonate
                                            • Facts
                                              • Implications
                                                • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes
                                                  • Facts
                                                    • Implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Decline in RTE cereals brings down the overall market
                                                        • Downward trend to continue
                                                          • The category makes progress on sugar reduction
                                                            • Breakfast cereals attract negative headlines
                                                              • The benefits of fibre hit the headlines
                                                                • Ageing population should support at-home breakfasts
                                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                  • Decline in RTE cereals brings down the overall market
                                                                    • Figure 12: UK retail value and volume sales of breakfast cereals, at current and constant prices, 2014-24
                                                                  • Downward trend to continue
                                                                    • Figure 13: Forecast of UK retail value sales of breakfast cereals, 2014-24
                                                                    • Figure 14: Forecast of UK retail volume sales of breakfast cereals, 2014-24
                                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                                  • Market Segmentation

                                                                    • RTE cereals remain on a downward volume trend
                                                                      • Competition and consumer concerns underpin lacklustre volume trend
                                                                        • Rising prices support value growth in 2019
                                                                          • Figure 15: UK retail value and volume sales of RTE cereals, at current and constant prices, 2014-24
                                                                        • Pressures on RTE segment are unlikely to abate
                                                                          • Figure 16: Forecast of UK retail value sales of RTE cereals, 2014-24
                                                                        • Volume growth continues for hot cereals
                                                                          • Figure 17: UK retail value and volume sales of hot cereals, at current and constant prices, 2014-24
                                                                        • Further price decline expected
                                                                          • Figure 18: Forecast of UK retail value sales of hot cereals, 2014-24
                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                        • Breakfast cereals make progress on sugar reduction
                                                                          • Spotlight remains on sugar
                                                                            • PHE ramps up pressure for sugar reduction
                                                                              • Figure 19: PHE’s baseline measurements and reduction targets for breakfast cereals and average sugar content in breakfast cereal launches, 2015-19,
                                                                            • Breakfast cereals attract negative headlines
                                                                              • Portion size images are criticised
                                                                                • Use of cartoon characters remains controversial
                                                                                  • Breakfast cereals in limelight in “ultra-processed” food scare
                                                                                    • ‘One You’ campaign recommends 400-calorie breakfasts
                                                                                      • The benefits of fibre hit the headlines
                                                                                        • Breakfast habits evolve
                                                                                          • Ageing population should support at-home breakfasts
                                                                                            • Trends in younger age groups pose challenges
                                                                                              • Figure 20: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2014-19 and 2019-24
                                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • Rising prices prop up value sales for leading brands
                                                                                              • Quaker Oat So Simple retains lead in hot cereals
                                                                                                • L/N/R sugar claims rise
                                                                                                  • Nestlé and Kellogg’s ramp up convenience
                                                                                                    • Above-the-line adspend declines
                                                                                                      • Power and energy messages take centre stage on health front
                                                                                                        • Quaker and Weetabix lead on trust, quality and health perceptions
                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                          • Rising prices prop up value sales for brands
                                                                                                            • Kellogg’s Krave defies sugar concerns and bucks category trend
                                                                                                              • Figure 21: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail RTE cereal market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                            • Quaker Oat So Simple retains lead in hot cereals
                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Leading brands sales and shares in the UK retail hot cereal market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                            • L/N/R sugar claims rise
                                                                                                              • Figure 23: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market featuring L/N/R sugar claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                            • Kellogg’s expands W.K. Kellogg no added sugar range
                                                                                                              • Quaker and Lizi’s launch reduced-sugar kids’ cereals
                                                                                                                • Spoon Granola achieves low-sugar formulation
                                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Examples of UK breakfast cereal launches making a L/N/R sugar claim, 2019
                                                                                                                • Kellogg’s rolls out “contemporary” pack design…
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Examples of Kellogg’s breakfast cereal packaging refresh, 2019
                                                                                                                • …and brings out new products
                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market, by top 10 companies (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                • Nestlé ramps up convenience with Box Bowls
                                                                                                                  • Shropshire Granola offers On The Go convenience for kids
                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Examples of UK breakfast cereal launches in convenient packaging, 2019
                                                                                                                  • Oat Cheerios target the porridge-averse, Quaker adds flavours
                                                                                                                    • Danone accelerator brand AYEM launches
                                                                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                      • Above-the-line adspend declines
                                                                                                                        • Dorset Cereals launches digital-first campaign
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on breakfast cereals, by segment, 2015-19
                                                                                                                        • Kellogg’s reinforces position as biggest advertiser
                                                                                                                          • Coco Pops showcases sugar reduction
                                                                                                                            • Crunchy Nut continues humorous “irresistible” theme
                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on breakfast cereals, by top five advertisers (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                            • Power and energy messages take centre stage on health front
                                                                                                                              • Special K continues ‘Powering you’ campaign, Weetabix Protein advert returns
                                                                                                                                • W.K. Kellogg push ‘Be a Force of Nature’ message
                                                                                                                                  • Quaker champions health benefits in ‘I Owe It to Oats’ campaign
                                                                                                                                    • Nestlé Cereals support portfolio with spotlight on wholegrains
                                                                                                                                      • Customisation remains a theme
                                                                                                                                        • Brands focus on children and families
                                                                                                                                          • Nestlé partners with PHE to encourage healthy swaps
                                                                                                                                            • Jordan’s link with Netmums for Grin-ola
                                                                                                                                              • The Honey Monster returns to TV with new look
                                                                                                                                                • Ready Brek looks to heat up Brits in first TV advert in five year
                                                                                                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                  • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                      • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Key metrics for selected brands, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Brand attitudes: Weetabix and Quaker are ahead on trust and quality
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Attitudes, by brand, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Brand personality: Kellogg's Crunchy Nut and Krave are seen as most fun
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Brand personality – macro image, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Weetabix and Quaker have the strongest health image
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Brand personality – micro image, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                        • Quaker has strongest association with natural and traditional
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: User profile of Quaker, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Weetabix sets the bar high with strong positive image
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: User profile of Weetabix, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut has a lead on being fun and delicious
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: User profile of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Kellogg’s Krave is widely seen as fun and indulgent, but loses out on healthiness
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: User profile of Kellogg’s Krave, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Dorset Cereals enjoys a lead as ethical, special and exclusive
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: User profile of Dorset Cereals, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Nestlé Shredded Wheat struggles to stand out from competition
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: User profile of Nestlé Shredded Wheat, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Ready Brek has an image as comforting and a family brand
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: User profile of Ready Brek, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                        • Nine in 10 eat breakfast cereals
                                                                                                                                                          • RTE cereals feature at least most days for half of users
                                                                                                                                                            • Weekday breakfasts are key occasion
                                                                                                                                                              • High levels of interest in functional benefits
                                                                                                                                                                • Green packaging initiatives resonate
                                                                                                                                                                  • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes
                                                                                                                                                                    • Healthy characteristics make sweet cereals permissible
                                                                                                                                                                    • Types of Breakfast Cereals Eaten

                                                                                                                                                                      • Nine in 10 eat breakfast cereals
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Types of breakfast cereals eaten, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                      • Flakes are most popular breakfast cereal
                                                                                                                                                                        • Porridge oats are eaten by 43% of Brits
                                                                                                                                                                          • Large packet is most common porridge oat format
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Porridge/oats formats eaten, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Plain cereals have a lead in usage
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Variants of breakfast cereals eaten, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                        • Frequency of Eating Breakfast Cereals

                                                                                                                                                                          • RTE cereals feature at least most days for half of users
                                                                                                                                                                            • Porridge usage is less frequent
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Frequency of eating breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • When Breakfast Cereals are Eaten

                                                                                                                                                                            • Weekday breakfasts are key occasion
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: When breakfast cereals are eaten, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                            • 16-34s are most likely to eat breakfast cereals outside breakfast
                                                                                                                                                                            • Interest in Functional Benefits in Breakfast Cereals

                                                                                                                                                                              • High levels of interest in functional benefits
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Functional benefits consumers would ideally like from a breakfast cereal, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Energy delivery is essential for category
                                                                                                                                                                                • Energy references are established in cereals
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Energy boost claims likely to fall foul of ASA
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Use of energy claims by breakfast cereal launches, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gut health messages resonate in the category
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Leading brands are spotlighting digestive support…
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Kellogg’s Bran Flakes repack spotlighting gut health support, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                    • …but start-ups go the extra mile to champion gut health
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Breakfast cereal brands with digestive health claim, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                    • “Good” bacteria attracts interest in category
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Support of brain function appeals widely
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Adaptogens and nootropics are attracting buzz
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Brain health claim and adaptogens in breakfast cereal launches, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Breakfast Cereal Enticements

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Green packaging initiatives resonate
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Interest in breakfast cereal concepts, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Raise awareness of existing recyclability
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Smaller brands have cut the plastic
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Waitrose trials refills for cereals
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Loop goes online to deliver on zero-packaging ambitions
                                                                                                                                                                                                • British ingredients appeal widely
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Examples of on-pack British sourcing references in breakfast cereal launches, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • British additions and flavours are a missed opportunity for the category
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Unconventional ingredients and bases pique interest of Millennials
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nuts, legumes and psyllium are grain alterative to explore
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Examples of vegetable additions and unconventional bases in breakfast cereal launches, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Breakfast Cereal Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • High level of openness towards reduced-sugar recipes
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • REWE invites shoppers to choose recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: REWE Deine Wahl Triple Chocolate Crispy Muesli, Germany 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Behaviours relating to breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Social media favourites prepared by three in 10
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Signposting suitability can foster interest, smoothie bowl shortcuts garner interest
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • OL is breathing down the neck of brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Breakfast Cereals

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Healthy characteristics make sweet cereals permissible
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Going beyond ‘plus’ to functional claims is needed to drive standout
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Proliferation of healthy characteristics creates consumer uncertainty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Attitudes towards breakfast cereals, May 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Unrefined sugar enjoys a health halo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: UK retail value sales of breakfast cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: UK retail volume sales of breakfast cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • RTE cereals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Forecast of UK retail volume sales of RTE cereals, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: UK retail value sales of RTE cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: UK retail volume sales of RTE cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hot cereals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Forecast of UK retail volume sales of hot cereals, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: UK retail value sales of hot cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: UK retail volume sales of hot cereals, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Leading manufacturers’ sales and shares in the UK retail RTE cereal market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Leading manufacturers’ sales and shares in the UK retail hot cereal market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market, by sub-category, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market, by top 15 claims (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals market making functional claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals, by top 10 flavour components (sorted by 2018), 2015-19

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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