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Breakfast Cereals in Western Europe

February 2020

Changing breakfast consumption habits such as lower sugar intake as well as convenience, and growing competition from other categories such as snacks, have hampered growth in breakfast cereals in Western Europe in recent years. Conversely, it also brings opportunities for companies that reformulate their products to be more nutritious, healthy, in on-the-go formats, and innovate into growing categories such as hot cereals, as well as muesli and granola.

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Key Findings

Breakfast cereals has been losing ground in the region

Western Europe is the world’s second largest region for breakfast cereals. Yet, during the historic review period, breakfast cereals in the region has seen decline. On the one hand, it is because it is a rather saturated industry already, but also due to the scrutiny that flakes and children’s breakfast cereals, in particular, have received, due to their high sugar content, and consumers’ growing desire for healthier lifestyles. The breakfast cereals industry is therefore forced to innovate and reinvent itself to gain strength again.

Fastest growing categories are hot cereals, muesli and granola

Opportunity for growth lies within hot cereals as well as muesli and granola. Both categories have experienced strong historic growth rates across Western Europe, and are expected to continue to post robust growth over the forecast period. This comes of the back of their healthier perceived image, high protein and high in fibre content. In addition, they are perceived to be more natural and not as processed as other traditional breakfast cereals options.

Key trends such as convenience, on-the-go consumption and snacking provide growth expansion opportunities

A lack of time to eat breakfast at home continued to influence the eating habits of most consumers and provides an opportunity for other categories, such as snacks, to expand into the breakfast cereals space. This is because consumers tend to go for convenience, such as eating other cereal-based products for breakfast that are more suitable for on-the-go eating, especially cereal bars such as muesli bars.

Top five companies continued to hold their leading positions

The top five leading breakfast cereals companies in Western Europe were able to maintain their position due to their well-established distribution networks and high brand awareness among consumers. However, their dominance in the region has been challenged by smaller, independent companies which launch products that authentically represent attributes that consumers have been looking for.


Key findings

Regional Overview

The breakfast cereals has lost ground in its key regions globally
Future outlook in Western Europe is expected to be more positive
UK breakfast cereals is facing challenges due to changing tastes
Hot cereals has grown the strongest regionally but is not present in Italy
RTE cereals has experienced strongest decline in the UK
Growing competition for breakfast cereals from categories such as snacks
Supermarkets maintained their lead in Western Europe
Discounters records solid growth across the entire region

Leading Companies and Brands

Top companies in the region maintained their lead despite falling shares
Trend against sugar has significant impact on Kellogg Co’s performance
Top five companies regionally generate their highest sales in the UK
Switzerland-based Bio-Familia AG continues to grow sales at home
Category performance strongly impacts key brands’ positions

Forecast Projections

Italy shows promise with the highest absolute forecast growth
Hot cereals, muesli and granola projected to drive growth in the region
Competition and maturity pose biggest challenge
Product innovation around healthier lifestyles is key future trend

Country Snapshots

Austria: market context
Austria: competitive and retail landscape
Belgium: market context
Belgium: competitive and retail landscape
Denmark: market context
Denmark: competitive and retail landscape
Finland: market context
Finland: competitive and retail landscape
France: market context
France: competitive and retail landscape
Germany: market context
Germany: competitive and retail landscape
Greece: market context
Greece: competitive and retail landscape
Ireland: market context
Ireland: competitive and retail landscape
Italy: market context
Italy: competitive and retail landscape
Netherlands: market context
Netherlands: competitive and retail landscape
Norway: market context
Norway: competitive and retail landscape
Portugal: market context
Portugal: competitive and retail landscape
Spain: market context
Spain: competitive and retail landscape
Sweden: market context
Sweden: competitive and retail landscape
Switzerland: market context
Switzerland: competitive and retail landscape
Turkey: market context
Turkey: competitive and retail landscape
UK: market context
UK: competitive and retail landscape


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