Muesli and granola, the largest categories in breakfast cereals, has seen the home seclusion aimed at containing COVID-19 help to reverse the downward trend it has seen since 2017. Before pandemic, muesli and granola had recorded double-digit growth for four consecutive years up to 2016 to become the largest category, but it had been suffering from an excess supply since 2017.
Like muesli and granola, children’s breakfast cereals, the second largest category, saw strong growth during the COVID-19 pandemic driven by increasing demand for an easy-to-prepare breakfast option. Having experienced a long run of declining sales up to 2017, children's breakfast cereals successfully reversed the trend after Nissin Foods Holdings Co Ltd and Kellogg (Japan) KK changed the packaging of their children's breakfast cereals’ brands from a typical bag-in-box to a stand-up pouch, which is easier to open without the risk of falling over or spilling even for children.
Having overtaken Calbee Foods Co Ltd in 2018, Kellogg (Japan) KK remains the largest player in breakfast cereals. However, Calbee has put in a stronger performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly as a result of its recent commitment to the expanding muesli and granola category.
Although Japan’s traditional business culture has largely limited remote working, COVID-19 has made working at home a reality for millions of workers who may previously have never had the opportunity to do so. With the necessary infrastructure and routines now in place and home working proving an effective alternative to the office, it is likely that working from home will gain more widespread acceptance in Japan even once COVID-19 is under control or has become a managed fact of life.
The rise in consumer health-awareness has long been a key trend in packaged food, especially as it has turned towards a growing emphasis on holistic and preventive approaches to health and wellness. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has served to bolster consumers’ focus on health and the role of a nutritious diet in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing.
The increase in consumers working from home has the potential to strengthen manufacturers’ efforts to expand their consumer bases and diversify the range of consumption occasions for breakfast cereals beyond breakfast. Targeting the rising demand for food options that are both convenient and nutritious amongst ever busier but increasingly health-conscious consumers, manufacturers are likely to increasingly promote breakfast cereals as products that can be consumed as snacks or even meals later in the day during the forecast period.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Breakfast Cereals industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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