|Title:||United Kingdom share of breakfast cereals consumption and change in consumption by gender and age in percentages for the year to February 2012|
Start of full article - but without data
CONSUMPTION BY DEMOGRAPHIC
Breakfast: XXm/e FebruaryXOlX SHARE OF BREAKFAST CHAHGE IN CONSUMPTION % y-o-y%
Children XX.X -X.X
Female XX-XX XX.X X.X
Female XX-XX XX.X X.X
Male XX-XX XX.X -X.X
Female XX+ XX.X X.X
Male XX-XX X.X X.X
Male XX+ X.X X.X
Female XX-XX X.X -X.X
Male XX-XX X.X X.X
Total XXX.X X.X
Breakfast is, as the saying goes, the most important meal of the day--but consumers aren't treating it with the reverence they once did.
Sitting at a table, or even on the sofa, to enjoy a leisurely bowl of cereal or round of toast is increasingly rare--at least in the week. The at-work 'cleskfase' is growing in popularity--as evidenced by Alpen's announcement this week that it has expanded into porridge pots (see pXX)--but so too is breakfast eaten on the hoof, on the train or bus or tube or while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.
When consumers do manage to eat at home (usually at the weekend), they're increasingly looking to comfort foods, such as bacon and eggs or a buffet-style mix of breakfast products. It can be no coincidence that these items have grown in popularity just as breakfast consumption among XX to XX-year-old men has increased--or that health is cited less often as a reason for eating breakfast, while eniovment is cited most [Kantar Worldpanel].
Neither is it any great surprise, given this backdrop, that cereal consumption has continued to fall, by X.X% year-on-year [Kantar Worldpanel XX m/e February 2012]. Although only three of the top XX cereals have experienced a fall in value, seven have lost volume sales [SymphonyIRI XX w/e XX May 2012], with adult cereals particularly affected by the rise of on-the-go breakfasting. Hot cereals have also suffered, down o.X% although some brands--notably Quaker Oat So Simple--have bucked the trend, and even toast is losing out to consumers' need for convenience.
So what else should breakfast food manufacturers be doing to adapt to ever-changing consumer demands?
TOP ID BESTSELLERS
Breakfast cereals: XX w/e XX May 2012
SALES CHANGE [pounds sterling]m y-o-y%
Weetabix XXX.X X.X
Special K XXX.X -X.X
Kellogg's Crunchy Nut XX.X -XX.X
Quaker Oat So Simple XX.X XX.X
Kellogg's Corn Flakes XX.X X.X
Coco Pops XX.X -X.X
Cheerios XX.X X.X
Shreddies XX.X X.X
Rice Krispies XX.X XX.X
Shredded Wheat XX.X X.X
Cereal manufacturers might be forgiven for thinking things aren't all that gloomy. Some brands are performing well--particularly those targeting children.
Take Kellogg's Rice Krispies, for instance, up io.XX/X in value sales and X% in volume [SymphonyIRI XX w/e XX May 2012]. Nestle's Shreddies, too, has put in a solid performance, with values up X.X% on the back of X.X% volume growth. "Gatekeeper mums continue to cite the 'good start to the day' benefits of cereal to sustain and nourish their children," says Daniella Betts, senior consultant at branding agency Dragon Rouge.
As for Coco Pops, even though it has had a bad year--down X% and XX.X% in value and volume, respectively--its performance in recent months has been "more positive than the overall numbers show", insists Colin Bebbington, Kellogg's UK director of sales. The company maintains that over the past XX weeks the brand has grown value sales by ii% thanks to in-store promotions and on-pack promotions such as its giveaway of 'Crafty Croc' cereal bag clips--meaning it is in value growth in the latest year-on-year read.
For Kellogg's adult cereals, though, there's no escaping the cold hard figures. Special K, for instance, is Kellogg's bestselling range, but it's haemorrhaged X.X% in value and X.X% in volume sales over the past year [SymphonylRl]. "Our performance isn't where we want it to be," says Bebbington. "With Special K, we got a couple of things wrong from a positioning and advertising point of view in the last XX months."
The company admits the brand has been "out of touch with the healthier long-term approach women want to adopt to manage their body shape"--and Special K's recent change in strategy certainly brings it more in line with current thinking on healthy eating and body image. In June 2012, it ditched its 'kick-starting weight loss' tack in favour of a more cuddly focus on long-term, lifestyle-enhancing weight loss, with the strapline 'what will you gain when you lose?'.
Like Kellogg's other adult brands, Special K has also fallen foul of the popularity of on-the-go breakfasting--a trend the company has been slow to embrace. Crunchy Nut has fared even worse, down XXX% in value and XX.XX/X in volume sales. Even Corn Flakes has suffered, managing to keep value sales just about in growth as volumes dipped X.X%.
Cutting back on ad spend can't have helped. Ebiquity data shows spend fell by XX.X% for Special K and XX.X% for Crunchy Nut versus the previous year [Ebiquity XX w/e XX February 2012]. Although Kellogg's increased the number of featured space promotions--by X% to X,XXX-so did seven of the other XX most promoted brands, and Kellogg's share of promotions fell by five percentage points [Assosia XX m/e May 2012].
But it's hard not to also associate the brand's problems with the longer-term decline of cereal. Little wonder suppliers are starting to dramatically rethink their strategies--even, in the case of Post's Honey Bunches of Oats, pulling out of the UK altogether (see pXX).
Kellogg's, meanwhile, has axed Special K's iconic woman in red in its new campaign--choosing instead to feature plus-sized 'real women' a la Unilever's Dove. A pop-up Crunchy Nut restaurant opened at London's Westfield shopping centre in July and has since made its way to Birmingham's Bullring and, last week, Manchester's Arndale--and a sampling van is touring UK supermarkets.
The relatively strong health of kids' cereals compared with adults' is reflected in Kellogg's choosing to roll out its first new children's brand in XX years, Mini Max, last October. The company hopes the wholegrain wheat parcels will help turn around its fortunes try.
--across Kellogg's ready-to-eat cereals, volumes have fallen X.X% year-on-year and values are down X.X%. Indeed, it says Mini Max is already bringing incremental growth, citing SymphonyIRI figures showing it has raked in [pounds sterling]X.Xm during its first XX weeks on shelf.
When it comes to adult-focused NPD, Kellogg's is boarding the on-the-go band-wagon with its Nutri-Grain breakfast biscuits, launched in July. "We're bringing a brand with breakfast heritage to the on-the-go format," says Bebbington. "Where true innovation comes through, you really can be very successful and deliver category growth."
The move takes Kellogg's head-to-head with pioneer Belvita, which launched its breakfast biscuits in the UK in 2010. "It was something that didn't really exist in the UK before," says Rahul Gursahani, senior brand manager for the Kraft-owned brand. "We are in major growth. A biscuit is convenient, there's very little mess and it's healthy."
Gursahani seems unfazed by Kellogg's decision to enter the sector--and indeed by the arrival of own label (Tesco rolled out its own breakfast biscuits, in fruit & fibre and milk & cereal variants, in March), not to mention the prospective incursion of McVitie's (owner United Biscuits applied last month to register the trademark 'McVitie's Breakfast').
"Brands have started to fight back and understand the drivers behind breakfast and are innovating around that," says Gursahani. "Belvita slowly releases carbohydrates over four hours--nobody else can claim that."
Belvita certainly has the advantage of being ahead of the curve. While Kellogg's plays catch-up with three relatively tame varieties--oats & honey, fruit & fibre and cereal & milk--Kraft is rolling out biscuit 'Duos' sandwiching yoghurt and fruit (see pXX). And, having been available in France for over a decade, Belvita also has the benefit of years of catering for consumers who want to break-fast on-the-go, something established cereal brands are still trying to get to grips with.
Some, of course, are doing better than others. Since putting its Oat So Simple brand into individual pots as well as sachets in December 2010, PepsiCo brand Quaker has reaped the rewards, with Oat So Simple value sales up Xo.X% and volumes up X.X% in the past year [SymphonyIRI XX w/e XX May 2012].