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Breakfast Cereals in Latin America

January 2020

Breakfast cereals in Latin America is largely dependent on two markets – Mexico and Brazil. Brazil is slowly recovering from an economic crisis, while the category is developing further in other regional markets, thus stronger growth is predicted over 2019-2024. While lifestyle trends such as convenience and healthiness are evident and play an important role in future prospects, the most important drivers for growth will be increasing GDP and growing populations.

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Key Findings

Mexico and Brazil lead the Latin American market

Mexico and Brazil together accounted for 50% of regional value sales of breakfast cereals in 2019, and are expected to continue to lead sales over the forecast period. RTE cereals is the most important category, with over 80% of the total market. Family and children’s breakfast cereals have equal sales importance within RTE. Ease of preparation and taste are key attributes for the category.

Concentration among the top three companies

The market is relatively concentrated, and three companies – Kellogg Co, Cereal Partners Worldwide SA and PepsiCo – have a strong presence in several countries.

Consumers are sensitive to prices and respond well to promotions

Competition on price is benefiting local companies and private label, causing the leaders to lose market share. Bigger and/or cheaper plastic packaging and promotions are successful strategies. Premium products have to clearly demonstrate their benefits to persuade consumers to purchase them.

Health and wellness trends and war against sugar affecting breakfast cereals

Rising awareness of the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption impacted sales in Colombia and Chile, especially due to new labelling regulations. Some reformulations were unsuccessful, as products failed to deliver either healthiness or taste, forcing manufacturers to go back to the original recipes or maintain both regular and sugar-free versions in their portfolios.

GDP and populational growth are the main forecast drivers

Rises in GDP and populations are key drivers of growth, with higher disposable incomes and the entrance of new consumers being the central pillars for sales.

Soft drivers to guide companies’ strategies

While companies cannot rely on volatile Latin economies, responding to soft drivers must be part of their strategies. Product availability, consumer awareness, lifestyle trends and increasing product variety are common denominators in Brazil and Argentina, where sales have benefited most from such factors.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Leading countries sustain growth over the review period
Economic crisis in Venezuela impacts regional sales of breakfast cereals
Strong preference for RTE cereals, led by Mexico and Brazil
Search for affordable prices contrasts with pursuit of healthy options
Consumers react to changing lifestyle trends and volatile economies
Price and sugar content as challenges for breakfast cereals
Differing channel preferences present a challenge for manufacturers
Modern grocery retailers, notably supermarkets, dominate sales

Leading Companies and Brands

Category is consolidated but the top five lose share in some markets
Leaders benefit from strong brand awareness and wide distribution
Leading companies are present in most Latin America countries
Significant changes in brand rankings below the top three

Forecast Projections

Latin America expected to see healthy growth in breakfast cereals
Economic recovery and consumer centricity will support development
Rising GDP and growing populations will be the core drivers of growth
Soft drivers will help minimise the dependence on socioeconomic factors

Country Snapshots

Argentina: market context
Argentina: competitive and retail landscape
Bolivia: market context
Bolivia: competitive and retail landscape
Brazil: market context
Brazil: competitive and retail landscape
Chile: market context
Chile: competitive and retail landscape
Colombia: market context
Colombia: competitive and retail landscape
Costa Rica: market context
Costa Rica: competitive and retail landscape
Dominican Republic: market context
Dominican Republic: competitive and retail landscape
Ecuador: market context
Ecuador: competitive and retail landscape
Guatemala: market context
Guatemala: competitive and retail landscape
Mexico: market context
Mexico: competitive and retail landscape
Peru: market context
Peru: competitive and retail landscape
Uruguay: market context
Uruguay: competitive and retail landscape


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