According to a consumption survey carried out by Kellogg’s in 2008, 97% of households purchased breakfast cereal in the ROI, placing Ireland as the largest consumer (per head) of breakfast cereal in the world. This translates into a €200 million per year market for the cereal industry. Though traditionally cereals have been consumed at breakfast time, of recent, the industry (Kellogg’s in particular) have marketed cereals as a snack food for consumption anytime during the day. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2006/dec/28/food.usnews) Cereal manufacturing is a high margin-to-cost business, gross profit margins on processed cereals are 40-45%. According to analysts JP Morgan one of the biggest costs is the marketing, which on average is 20-25% of the sales value.
The market can be primarily segmented as cold and hot cereals, with 94% of the market taken by cold cereals and 6% by hot cereals. The cold cereal market covers a broad spectrum of consumer tastes and requires milk, yogurt or fruit juice to be added for consumption. It is normally served in a bowl or dish.
The cold cereal market is at a mature stage with continuous development of brands, introduction of subbrands (such as Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Feast), packaging design, as well as promotional offers and licensing tie ins have ensured the market stays relevant to consumers needs. Additional nutrients and vitamins are regularly added during the production process as cereal processing often diminishes the nutritional value of the cereal, this also enables cereal manufactures to promote high in sugar products for example, children´s cereal Frosties, as a healthy product. Research has shown that a leading branded product in one market is not always the same product in another and for example some cereals sold by Kellogg’s in Ireland contain higher percentages of sugar than in other markets in Europe.
The major players in the ROI cold breakfast cereal market are: Kellogg’s, Nestlé/General Mills (Cereal Partners), Weetabix, Quaker, Jordans and Kelkin.
The market can be segmented as follows:
• Children’s cereals
• Bran, muesli & health cereals
• Corn-based cereals
• Wheat Biscuits
• Cereal Bars
Strong development of the market by the heavy use of on-pack promotions, free gifts as well as character branding has led to 94% of Irish Children choosing cereals as their choice for breakfast. Reinforced by 83% of parents insisting that their children eat a proper breakfast before school, where in comparison only 25% of parents in the UK believe the same. Of recent the market has come under criticism from consumer groups and government bodies for the high percentage of sugar, fat, salt contained in a many children’s cereals on the Irish market.
Current children’s breakfast cereals on the market:
Kellogg’s – Coco Pops, Coco Pops Coco Rocks, Honey Loops, Rice Krispies, Frosties.
Nestlé/General Mills (Cereal Partners) - Nestlé Honey Cheerios, Nestlé Oat Cheerios, Nestlé Cheerios Crunchers, Nestlé Shreddies, Nestlé Frosted Shreddies.
Weetabix – Weetos, Weetos Meteors.
Bran, muesli & health cereals
Generally associated with being low in sugar, fat and artificial additives while being high in fibre although this not always the case. Special K, a cereal positioned at women as a low fat product, is in fact higher in calories than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies.
Current bran, muesli & health breakfast cereals on the market:
Kellogg’s – All Bran, Bran Flakes, Bran Flakes Sultana Bran, Fruit & Fibre, Country Store, Just Right, Luxury Muesli, Special K. Nestlé/General Mills (Cereal Partners) - Nestlé Clusters, Nestlé Force Flakes, Curiously Cinnamon, Nestlé Almond Oats & More. Weetabix – Alpen Orginal, Alpen No Added Sugar, Alpen High Fruit, Alpen High Fibre, Crunchy Bran.
Quaker - Oat Granola with Blackberries and Red Skin Apple, Quaker...