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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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