ROCKVILLE, Md.—While the American culture has led to more on-the-go breakfasts consisting of granola bars, yogurt or bagels, a new report from Packaged Facts reveals U.S. cereal producers can rest easy knowing 3 in 4 Americans still report regularly eating cereal. However, the major challenge for cereal manufacturers involves offering innovative products to suit the eating habits of today's consumer.
Although U.S. retail sales of ready-to-eat cereal were down in 2013, the efforts of major breakfast cereal marketers led to a noticeable increase in hot cereal sales during the same period. Using data from a Packaged Facts national online survey and the Simmons National Consumer Survey for summer 2013, the latest report revealed breakfast cereal still represents a handy, satisfying meal for millions of adults, and product designers should consider new demands from the increasingly health-conscious consumer.
Changing preferences have already impacted many big names in the breakfast category and beyond. General Mills recently announced its original Cheerios cereal will no longer contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) due to consumer and activist pressure. In addition, a push against artificial coloring led Kraft to remove its artificial yellow dyes from some of its Macaroni & Cheese products.
Despite these changing views on food products, Packaged Facts' research found more than 60% of American adults still eat hot cereal while 3 in 5 cold cereal eaters and 2 in 5 hot cereal eaters consume cereal daily or a few times a week. Moreover, Americans continue to eat breakfast cereal morning, noon and night. More than 40% of cereal consumers eat it as an evening or late-night meal or snack.
Cold cereal also plays a crucial role in the lives of snackers—2 in 5 cold cereal eaters consume cold cereal as a snack right out of the box, while 15% mix it with other ingredients to make their own customized snack mix.