- A new study by Mintel reveals that 43% of U.S. cereal consumers eat it as a snack at home. It’s the second most common reason to have cereal, aside from breakfast — a meal at which 89% of people say they eat it.
- Mintel’s research also shows that millennials are more likely to have a bowl of cereal as a snack than other generations. In addition, what Mintel calls the "iGeneration," ages 18-22, is the most inclined to eat cereal on the go.
- Regardless of age, taste beats out nutritional value as the most important factor for consumers with both hot and cold cereal.
Mintel’s study sheds some light on a category that has been losing ground to options that are higher in protein and more portable in recent years. It’s interesting to note that millennials, known for their penchant for healthy choices, are big fans of eating cereal as a snack. More than 56% report having had a bowl of cereal at home in between meals, compared to just 32% of baby boomers.
It would appear the younger the consumer, the less inclined he or she is to sit down to a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast. These consumers still like the product, but they want to consume it in a way that fits their lifestyle.
Cereal makers see where eating habits are going,. They have made some changes to prepare their product for the future, like introducing on-the-go cereal bars. In 2016, General Mills announced that they were going to “focus on formulas that are increasingly snackable.” Last June, the company launched Tiny Toast, its first new cereal brand in 15 years. More innovations are likely in the works.
Mintel also found that interest in healthy cereal is on the rise, but taste is ultimately the most important factor for consumers. This could be why high-sugar, indulgent cereals are making a comeback. General Mills recently announced it's bringing back the original recipe for Trix, artificial colors and all, because shoppers didn’t like the reformulated, cleaner label recipe. This summer, Post also brought back Oreo O's cereal after a decade of being off shelves in an exclusive limited-time deal with Walmart.