In its report ‘Consumer and Innovation Trends in Cereal Products’, Datamonitor identified potential gaps in the market for manufacturers based on a global survey on consumer behaviour.
Speaking to BakeryAndSnacks.com, reporter author Ramaa Chipalkatti said that Datamonitor had noticed a shift from ‘slimming’ towards ‘wholesome’ healthy eating.
Sugar no villain, but chia the hero
She said that consumers were much less concerned about low-fat and low-calorie cereals and were opting for healthier varieties containing so called superfoods.
“It’s more about intelligent eating. Natural products are getting very popular,” she said, adding that superfoods gave a route to natural products.
“Consumers are moving from reduced consumption of certain ‘food villains’ (such as fat and sugar) towards more moderated and intelligent consumption of healthier varieties,” she added.
Chipalkatti said that chia seed inclusions were becoming attractive as they contain antioxidants and omega 3.
More new product launches are being formulated with superfoods and are marketed on a healthy platform, she said, giving the example of US cereal brand Living Intentions Hemp & Green, which contains sprouted buckwheat with green protein superfood blend.
Datamonitor has also noticed the shift from slimming to wholesome products in labelling claims made in the last few years. Slimming claims have dropped from 17% in 2007 to 10% in 2011, while wholegrain and multigrain claims have increased by 3% over the same period.
“Hot cereals are gaining in popularity among consumers seeing it as a healthy alternative,” added Chipalkatti.
PepsiCo appears to have picked up on the trend for superfoods in hot cereals with a product launch for its Quaker Oats brand in Mexico containing chia.
Big players vs private label
“The major players are definitely going to jump on board,” said Chipalkatti, noting Kellogg’s Nature’s Pleasure brand of museli with honey and raw sugar cane.
She said there would be room for small manufacturers and private label brands, but only if they differentiated themselves from the pack.
One way to accomplish this is through packaging, she said, giving the example of Dorset Cereals in the UK, which have luxurious boxes with strong shelf-appeal and simple ingredient lists.
However, brand success will depend more on contents than packaging as consumers are prepared to compromise taste for health benefits, she said.
According to Chipalkatti, there is not enough “savoury indulgence” in supermarket cereal aisles, which are overloaded with sweet options.
She said that bar manufacturers in particular could differentiate themselves by including peanut butter or salted caramel.
“Kids seem to be the target market, but there is room to target the adult market,” she added.
Portuguese brand Alara Maca’s secrets appears to have spotted this opening and aims its muesli specifically at adults.
Cereals targeting sports consumers, such as Rockit Fuel sports cereal, was identified as another market gap.
Only in developed markets?
Chipalkatt added that the trend towards superfood cereals was not limited to any country and could work even in developing markets if catered to local tastes, such as spicier options for India.