What's for breakfast: 7 things cereal brands should keep an eye on in 2022

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Posted Mar 14, 2022
Trevor Brown

Some reports have predicted that the global breakfast cereal market will grow as high as $40b by 2023. And as the need for cereal rises worldwide, so will the companies manufacturing it. This presents cereal companies with two big-picture views of the future:

  1. There is an opportunity to gain a foothold in developing countries. In some instances, companies may be able to seize a large portion of the market around the world. Lack of competition and increased demand can assist in this growth.
  2. There is an impending/ongoing struggle in well-established markets. This fight is against an ever-growing competition base rising to meet the demand. 

For both of these futures, the key will be understanding your market and out-maneuvering them. With this in mind, here are the seven things cereal brands should take into consideration this year:

#1 Increases in developing markets

Developing countries are continuing to bring new opportunities for cereal companies abroad—even though cereal products are often considered an unnecessary expenditure. With that label, it’s uncommon for families to reach for a box without a sufficient amount of disposable income. As these countries continue to gain more wealth, the desire for expendables may also increase.

North America accounts for the vast majority of cereal sales worldwide with  $12b out of the $35b global earnings coming from the continent. As growth takes hold in other countries, cereal brands can expect a larger market in the coming years.

#2 American influence in other countries

As the number one cereal consumer, America sets the course for many other countries. And with the growth in sales in other countries, America most definitely influences how other nations view cereal

But other demographics do not necessarily consume cereal similarly to the US. Instead, America’s influence seems to rub off mostly as hype for a novelty product. Other countries have taken note of the heavy consumption Americans have of cereal. As such, it's popping up in other places as an exciting foreign product. When marketing in other countries, keep in mind that it might have a reputation as more of an indulgence. 

#3 Encouraging consumption outside of breakfast

Maybe it’s time to think outside the box? That’s right, cereal was meant for more than just breakfast. In recent years, it truly seems that shift is taking place. Cereal is no longer just “a part of a balanced breakfast” it’s also a great snack or dessert. This repositioning of cereal intends to position this classic breakfast food for enjoyment any time—not just the mornings. 

Brands accomplish this shift in many ways. The most memorable way this happens is through the addition of indulgent ingredients. Examples on shelves today include Honey Buns, churros, Sour Patch Kids, and more. These cast cereal as tasty treats throughout the day or as a dessert before bed. 

#4 Nature over nurture

Natural ingredients are quickly becoming a primary concern for product development. And their incorporation can open cereal up to use by consumers with dietary restrictions. Non-gluten options and keto or paleo-friendly cereals add tremendous value to the market.

Many find excitement in the idea that they can maintain their diet and still eat breakfast cereals. Cereal companies are appealing to this desire through the addition of natural ingredients. These take many forms, but superfoods, probiotics, and power seeds are among the most common.

#5 Healthier ingredients

In the same vein as natural ingredients, new cereal brands must focus on healthier ingredients. Humanity's diets have gotten progressively processed over the years, but this is starting to change. More and more people are turning packages around to check the back. 

As more interest continues to surge over breakfast cereals, innovative companies will stand out and differentiate themselves from the crowd. Brands are currently attempting to retain the great flavor of their cereals by also adding in components with:

High Fiber

Dietary fiber is considered a necessary component of a healthy life. Fiber helps ensure that our digestion runs smoothly and that our bowels are healthy. The unique thing about fiber is that, unlike other carbs, it doesn’t break down into sugar molecules in the human body. As such, it passes through the body undigested.

That inability to break down also makes it more filling than other carbohydrates. Many Americans fall short of the set daily value for fiber. Studies find that many adults and children may get as little as 50% of the RDA of fiber. 

There’s a lucrative opportunity for cereal companies to step in with easy, tasty ways to help customers meet the set daily requirements. If 30-50% of the RDA for fiber comes from breakfast, consumers can much more easily acquire the rest throughout the day.

High Protein

Protein is in every cell of the human body. It is one of the most important dietary elements because it helps your body grow and repair cells. In children, teens, and pregnant women, protein aids in proper growth and development. Protein is also a crucial element for weightlifting and bodybuilding because of its ability to replenish cells.

Having a high-protein meal in the morning can help carry you through the day. As such, many have begun placing importance on this development.

#6 Culture is king

Last year, no news in the cereal industry raised more waves than striking Kellogg’s workers. Indeed, this has dominated the conversation for the news cycle of almost every major industry. This news demonstrates to the cereal industry that customers value good company culture. 

What this means for 2022 is that companies shouldn’t be afraid to put their face out there. Showcase the employees that make your brand great!

#7 Supermarkets continue their reign

As we move forward into 2022, supermarkets remain consistent. Despite the ever-growing e-commerce sales, more than half of sales were in supermarkets last year

Finishing up

Studying and anticipating the changes in the market is a process known as agile market research. It helps brands stay on top of whatever gets thrown at them year after year. And when it comes to cereal companies, the market is certainly ever-evolving. Whether it’s increased demand abroad or increased competition at home, staying in control means staying informed.

This is where our experts at aytm come in. Our dedicated team of professionals works hard to deliver you the best market research experience you’ve ever had. We do this through our three-pronged approach:

  1. Our proprietary consumer panel gives you access to over 100m living, breathing people globally.
  2. Our survey platforms enable businesses to host, analyze and program their surveys.
  3. Our experts are here to help you research. Whether you’re looking for full service, assisted DIY, or a tool that empowers you to conduct your own research, we’re here to help propel your vision forward.

Businesses cannot expect to take over portions of the market without understanding how they are changing every day. As cereal brands look to the future, those who make agile research partnerships will find the most success. Let’s discuss how we can help you be among them!

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