The breakfast cereals category is expected to grow in 2020, as volumes and values exceed the predicted growth for the year. Annual breakfast cereal sales valued US$10.8bn in the US in 2019, and this was previously expected to increase to US$10.9bn in 2020. Following COVID-19-related disruptions, the projected figure for 2020 is now closer to US$12.1bn, an increase of 12%. By comparison, volumes are expected to grow by 5%. Increased time at home, concerns over health and longing for childhood certainties are behind the changes in consumer behavior, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Ryan Whittaker, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With so many people now working from home instead of commuting, many consumers are no longer eating on-the-go or foodservice breakfasts. Instead, many consumers are falling back on a mixture of comforting and healthier options at home. Anxieties caused by uncertainty around the pandemic have produced a tendency to fall back on familiar branded products, especially ones that remind the consumer of their childhood.
“To many US consumers, breakfast cereals offer a way for them to impose order and familiarity on the day. For many, this can mean a moment of indulgence, revisiting a favorite from their childhood, or opting for a healthier option. The reduced demand for out-of-home consumption, reduced need to commute and heightened focus on health has convinced Americans to return to breakfast cereals in the morning.”
GlobalData’s COVID-19 recovery tracker consumer survey, dated 21 September 2020, found that 65%* of US consumers said that how familiar, trustworthy or risk-free a product feels always or often influences their product choice.
Whittaker adds: “The US breakfast cereal category is well-positioned to benefit during the pandemic. Consumers want to purchase specialized items to aid their immune systems, to treat themselves or to recapture a sense of familiarity, and these products easily become staples for the daily routine during lockdown.”
* COVID-19 recovery tracker consumer survey, 21 September 2020, combining ‘Always’ and ‘Often’ responses