Breakfast Trends in Cereals

Explore the latest breakfast trends in cereals, including top 10 breakfast trends and consumer insights

April 1, 2024 – Global breakfast trends in cereals are shaped by trends from macro-level influences to category trends to consumer trends to product level trends. Hot breakfast cereals include porridge, oatmeal, creamy wheat cereal, gruel, instant oats, other forms of oats, or instant wheat meant to be eaten warm, possibly with dairy milk or milk substitutes. Cold breakfast cereals include cornflakes, puffed rice, bran cereals, granola, muesli, cereal straws, and overnight oats that are eaten cold and can be eaten with milk or milk substitutes.

Megatrends in the Background for Breakfast Trends

Several key global megatrends affect breakfast trends in cereals. Health of the planet is the top global issue that worries consumers. Consumers globally also are concerned about health of the population. Another worry is the cost of living. The fourth global megatrend pertains to how technology is transforming the future by creating challenges and opportunities.

Consumer Lifestyle Themes in Breakfast Trends

Several consumer lifestyle themes affect global breakfast trends in cereals. Desire for healthier lives results in consumers seeking a healthy, nutritious diet while watching their weight, seeking physical exercise, and taking care of their mental health. According to consumer trends, consumers look for foods that are healthy, like breakfast cereal, and foods that are less processed and more natural, with no artificial ingredients. Consumers are living more consciously by adopting behaviors such as reducing food waste, recycling, upcycling, and supporting local products and services. They also expect companies to take responsibility for sustainable packaging, better waste management, sustainable food and growing practices, and a lower carbon footprint. Consumers are eating at home more often, including snacking more at home than at work or when traveling. Treat and reward are changing, with consumers rewarding themselves with everyday treats. Freshness is more connected to pleasure in eating and drinking than good value for the money, rich flavor, and homemade or handmade.

Top 10 Trends are Relevant to Breakfast Cereal

Three Innova Top 10 Trends 2024 are the most relevant to breakfast trends and breakfast cereal trends. Nurturing Nature refers to protecting nature and consumers expecting brands and companies to help the environment and social causes. Cereals have agricultural connections, especially in regenerative farming and sustainable growing and manufacturing processes. Prioritizing Prevention demonstrates how consumers take action to prevent future health problems by proactively choosing products that meet their personal health and nutrition needs. Breakfast cereals offer nutritious options such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Indulging in Health demonstrates how health and indulgence are connected. Many consumers are willing to compromise on indulgence for healthier food. Breakfast cereals are inherently healthy but also offer pleasure through flavors and textures, as well as for a healthy snack.

Global Breakfast Trends in Cereals

Cereal Trends Vary Around the World

The cereal marketplace in the United States has the highest value, while growth is fastest in Asia, led by Japan. According to information on breakfast trends, consumers in Ireland eat the most cereal globally while consumers in Mexico eat the most in Latin America. The US ranks 14th. The cold cereal category, led by Kellogg and Nestlé/General Mills, has a larger share than the hot cereal category. PepsiCo/Quaker is the lead innovator for hot breakfast cereal.

Consumer Breakfast Trends in Cereal

Consumer trends show that many consumers ate more cereal in 2023 than they did one year prior. Globally, cornflakes and oats or oats porridge have the highest penetration. Muesli and bran cereal have opportunity for growth because while they have lower penetration, people who eat them do so frequently.

Households with children purchase breakfast cereal most often. Generation Z has lower penetration in cereal consumption but eats more sweet cereals. So do Millennials. Granola, muesli, bran, and wheat cereal types have opportunities to grow among these generations, especially because cereal is eaten in the morning for breakfast and all day long for snack.

Breakfast Trends Connect Cereal with Health and Taste

Health and taste are the top drivers for eating cereal. Related to health, top claims resonating with consumers are fiber, protein, real ingredients and no, low, or reduced sugar. Over a recent five-year period, cereal claims for no additives or preservatives, no added sugar, high fiber, and high protein all grew. Clean label claims include recyclable packaging and ethical claims about the environment in both cold and hot cereal. Other emerging breakfast cereal claims pertain to palm oil-free and plant-based.

Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereal Trends

Cold cereal has a larger share than hot cereal of new product launches, and cold cereal continues to grow. Fruit flavors such as berry and strawberry are trending up and banana is emerging in cold and hot cereals. Also, chocolate is dominant and growing in both types of cereal.

In cereal ingredients, oats are growing in cold and hot cereals while wheat is growing in cold cereals. Peanuts and walnuts are up in cold cereals. Hemp is emerging in hot cereals.

What’s Next in Breakfast Trends Regarding Cereal?

Expect to see more merging of planet health and human health. Texture innovations and experiences are likely to expand. Brands will move away from sugar and toward protein. Efforts will be made to reach Gen Z with messages that merge environmental concerns with health messaging. An increase in plant-based claims is expected, especially in hot cereal. Also quick and convenient cereal formats make on-the-go healthy snacking easier.


This article is based on our insider report, “Morning Crunch: Navigating Global Breakfast Cereal Trends.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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