US breakfast cereal industry thrives amid COVID-19 as sales hit new record high

US — The US breakfast cereals category has been thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic with sales in the ready-to-eat breakfast cereals category being expected to approach $12.1 billion as 2020 comes to an end.

This is according to according to recent statistics from GlobalData, a UK-based data and analytics firm.

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If realized, sales in this category would be up 12% from $10.8 billion in RTE cereal sales in 2019.

GlobalData had prior to the onset of the pandemic projected that annual breakfast cereal sales were expected to increase to US$10.9 billion in 2020.

The data and analytics company however says that the pandemic outbreak has altered consumer buying habits and as a result RTE cereal volumes are projected to increase by 5%.

“With so many people now working from home instead of commuting, many consumers are no longer eating on-the-go or foodservice breakfasts,” said Ryan Whittaker, consumer analyst at GlobalData.

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“Instead, many consumers are falling back on a mixture of comforting and healthier options at home.”

Whitter further noted that 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.

In an separate occassion, Nestlé Chief Executive Mark Schneider had also echoed the same remarks on buyers falling back on familiar branded products.

He said, “trusted brands” had fared well in the pandemic and made ground over what he termed as “new specialist brands entering the marketplace”.

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 favourite 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 also contributed to Americans returning to breakfast cereals in the morning.

According to a COVID-19 recovery tracker consumer survey conducted by GlobalData, US consumers said that how familiar, trustworthy or risk-free a product feels always or often influences their product choice.

“The US breakfast cereal category is well-positioned to benefit during the pandemic,” Mr. Whittaker said.

“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.”

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