The cereal industry’s forecast has no added sugar

Sales are in long-term decline and breakfast trends don’t give any reason for hope.

In 2020, after years of declining sales, the cereal business saw a brief glimmer of hope — amid covid chaos, the comforting, shelf-stable goodness of a bowl of cereal experienced a resurgence.

cereal sales

Then normalcy returned, with the only “snap, crackle, pop” in the cereal aisle coming from executives’ crushed dreams.How did we get here?A look at the modern cereal business earned honorifics like “a slowly declining market” with a “depressed outlook” from The Wall Street Journal. Why?

  • Breakfast is on the outs: Last year, only 35% of Americans ate a daily breakfast, per Statista data.When the meal happens, portability wins: Energy bars, protein shakes, and frozen breakfast options have all risen in popularity, much to cereal’s detriment.Fast food has seized the daybreak: Decades ago, McDonald’s Egg McMuffin was the lone AM option, but almost every major chain now serves breakfast — and the menu expansions keep on coming.
  • What’s next?More spoonfuls of bad news, probably. Cereal sales normalized post-covid, dropping 8.7% in 2021, then settled at a more normal rate of decline (down 3.9%) in 2022.But even as the market shrinks, cereal is still a multibillion-dollar prize for General Mills, Kellogg, and Post to battle over.General Mills is currently winning, with America’s two highest-selling cereals — Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch — and a strong market-share lead on Kellogg (34.2% to 25.9%).And its lead may yet grow — The Motley Fool says Kellogg is doing the “unthinkable” next month, as it splits off cereals from its larger empire.BTW: How tall is Tony the Tiger? While freelancing for Kellogg, I once found an internal document stating he was 8 feet tall (the best fact I’ve seen in my life). But Frosted Flakes’ website now says he’s 6’3”. Hmm.

    Topics: Food

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