Pushing breakfast boundaries by changing cereals

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05 Sep 2017 --- Filling up with the right kind of breakfast will fuel you for a productive day ahead – or so we have been led to believe for decades. But in a food landscape driven by a shift in consumer preferences and a global demographic of extremely busy consumers, how true is the old adage: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?”

From fast food outlets revising breakfast menus to include healthier alternatives to the rise of the fruit and veggie-packed smoothie, breakfast innovations have been hitting the market thick and fast. 

A new wave of breakfast cereals containing “superfoods” like seeds, nuts and fruit is the order of the day and the old-fashioned sugar-laden cereals are out.

The boundaries of breakfast are definitely being pushed by the millennial generation, which is slowly redefining the traditional concept of “breakfast” – what we eat, how we eat it and when we eat it. Today, in the first part of a special report, FoodIngredientsFirst looks at how breakfast cereals are being reinvented.

Reinventing breakfast cereals
Globally, we are gripped by sugar reformulation as industry responds to what consumers demand and what governments legislate on. This is reflected in the traditional breakfast cereal space inside the home.

Sales of sugary breakfast cereals are significantly declining, while new product development (NPD) focuses on breakfast cereals with specific health advantages delivered by “super” ingredients like fruit, oats, nuts and seeds, as well as high-fiber and high-protein claims. These products also play into vegan and vegetarian trends.

Watchdog organizations are also raising awareness of the high sugar content of traditional cereals marketed toward children.

Research by Action on Sugar earlier this year put sugar-laden breakfast cereals in the spotlight, demonstrating that the sugar content of breakfast cereals in the UK is of major concern, particularly in children’s breakfast cereals, with a typical serving (30g) containing a third of a 4- to 6-year-old’s maximum daily recommendation (19g/d or five teaspoons of sugar) for sugar intake in the UK.

At the same time, the Kellogg Company has been feeling the slowdown in demand for packaged foods as consumption trends change. Earlier this year when the cereals giant reported its first quarter results, it also adjusted its sales forecasts for full-year forecasts as a result.

Interestingly, some big brands are countering the lackluster attitude toward a bowl of sugary cereal by repositioning them as an indulgent snack rather than the best option for your children before school.

Retailers are also mindful about the sugar content of own-label breakfast cereals.

High-end UK grocer Waitrose is one good example. It has reduced the sugar content from more than half of its own-brand cereals as part of a reformulation drive.

In total, 27 own-label cereals will see average sugar content reduced by 15 percent, including family favorites that appeal to children like rice pops, malted wheats and multigrain hoops. Other products such as bran flakes have had sugar reduced by 30 percent. 

Waitrose – which has already reduced sugar in chilled juices, yogurts, soups, cordials and fizzy drinks – says this equates to more than 90 tons or 22.5 million teaspoons of sugar a year that will have been taken out of its own cereal lines and there is no difference in taste or price, according to the supermarket.

Another new breakfast cereal product comes from Thrive Market, a US online retailer offering its members natural branded products at wholesale prices. The company promises coconut flakes made from fair trade coconuts, a new cereal with sprouted granola paleo-friendly sprouted nuts.

However, breakfast choices are not just limited to cereals for today’s consumers. Be sure to check back in for the second part of FoodIngredientsFirst’s special report as we look at on-the-go trends, like bars and yogurts, that are becoming increasingly popular.

By Gaynor Selby

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