Breakfast cereals aim for healthy image

Innova Market Insights

Monday, 02 February, 2015


Despite the existence of certain products swimming in sugar and artificial flavours, breakfast cereals have managed to maintain a fairly healthy image - and this looks set to continue. In fact, three quarters of all breakfast cereals launched in the 12 months to October 2014 included a health positioning of some kind.

Interestingly, this was significantly higher in Australia (94%) than Asia (64%), research from Innova Market Insights shows.

“There is a growing interest in products featuring a more general health or multibenefit positioning, running alongside the wide range of health benefits now associated with many breakfast cereals,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“This is exacerbated by regulatory restrictions on claims in some regions, including North America and the EU.”

Wholegrain and fibre content seems to be the go-to for health claims, featuring in nearly 47% of breakfast cereal launches, with wholegrain claims used in 31% and fibre content in 34% - and many products using both type of claim.

While ‘source of protein’ claims are used less frequently, they’re on the rise. They were used in just under 10% of cereal launches globally, rising to 15% in the US.

Heart health leads active health claims, which are most often associated with functional benefits. It was featured in 8% of global launches, rising to 13.1% in the US. Other active health claims include:

  • Vitamin and mineral fortification - 7% of launches globally
  • Energy and alertness - 5.5% of launches globally
  • Digestive or gut health - just under 4% globally
  • Weight management - just over 2% globally

The US - home of consumer choice - leads the cereals market in terms of product activity and innovation. Protein variants and those with active cultures for digestion lead the many new product launches here.

Cheerios, one of the leading US cereal brands, was extended in mid-2014 with two new protein variants, following the launch of protein options in General Mills’ Fiber One range. Post, another iconic cereals company, has also added protein variants to its range, as well as two Digestive Blend cereals featuring active cultures.

The UK also has a well-established breakfast cereals market, with product activity recently focused on a healthy image and higher fibre content. The demand for unprocessed, natural and healthy breakfast options has spawned a boom in granola and muesli products.

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