A market study on the breakfast cereal category

An in-depth market study on the supermarket breakfast cereal and category

A brief history of Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast cereal, especially those loaded with sugar, are losing market share to a whole host of competitors. Yogurt, breakfast bars and even fast food

What Happened?

So, what happened? And, what can those brands do to take back market share? More importantly, what should the competitors (yogurt, bars, etc.) fear going forward?

And, things have gotten worse and the stakes are even higher. (Read a market study of consumer packaged goods here)

So, to truly understand this market, let’s begin by looking at the ready-to-eat breakfast market by looking back.


For decades, the traditional breakfast food for the

Fewer and fewer people are having this for breakfast. Breakfast Cerealmasses was oat-based porridge (a breakfast cereal). And, the wealthy ate meat based  breakfasts.

As a result, in the US, as the market became increasingly affluent, porridges and other cereals were replaced.

Meat and Eggs

Replaced by an upwardly mobile aspirational meat and egg-based breakfasts. And the old cooked cereals were looked upon as plebeian.

In the late 1800s, health movements blossomed in the US. And, these reformers encouraged health conscious Americans to cut back on meat consumption at breakfast.

The biggest change to the morning diet can be directly traced to one of the world’s greatest brands — Kellogg’s. And, its Seventh Day Adventists beginnings.

The rise of Kellogg

John Harvey Kellogg was a health and fitness force in his time. And, his sanitarium in Michigan was a recovery destination for well-to-do Americans for many decades.

Health retreats at his sanatorium were more immersive of an experience than ranch-spas and adventure-spas of today. And, they were where the important and wealthy retreated for a rest cure.

Kellogg’s religious belief emphasized exercise and vegetarianism. And, led him to invent ready-to-eat breakfast foods made of grains for his visitors.

Eventually, Kellogg’s of Battle Creek was born. Today, the Kellogg’s brand is synonymous with Corn Flakes and many other breakfast cereals.


Breakfast cereal Grape nutsCharles W. Post, a salesman who was admitted to Kellogg’s sanitarium.

And, he was impressed with the all-grain diet.

Grape Nuts

As a result, he began experimenting with grain products. So, in 1898, he introduced Grape Nuts. Now, the war was on over breakfast products and continues to this day.

And, cooked breakfast cereal had a path of their own and coincided with the ready to eat cereals of Kellogg’s and Post.

The American Cereal Company (Quaker Oats) created an oatmeal cereal in 1877.

Quaker Oats

It invented the brand, using the Quaker Oats’ “Man in Quaker Garb.”As a result, the Quaker man was as a symbol of plain honesty and reliability. It gave Quaker Oats annual sales of $10 million.

Alexander Anderson’s creation of a steam-pressure method changed the game. The new device shoots rice from guns producing puffed rice and puffed wheat.


The brands started using associations with celebrities such as Babe Ruth and Shirley Temple.

By 1964, the Quaker Oats Company sold over 200 products. And, grossed over $500 million. They claimed that eight million people ate Quaker Oats each day. In 2001, the much larger PepsiCo bought Quaker Oats.

Oatmeal has long been a staple of the hot cereal market

Kellogg had an answer

Breakfast Cereal Kellog logoAs a result, Kellogg reasoned that packaged, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal was more convenient than a product that had to be cooked.

At the time, Battle Creek, Michigan, was a center for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. And, of the ready-to-eat breakfast cereal industry.

Both Kellogg and Post were located in Battle Creek, Michigan. So, the city became nicknamed the “Breakfast Cereal Capital of the World.”

Breakfast CerealA maturing category

As the category matured, marketing took on a greater and greater role. (Read another study on Frozen Food)

And, it did not take long to link breakfast cereals as the healthier choice over meats. Plus, children made the choice.

So, breakfast cereals were marketed to children. Brand’s such as Froot Loops and Sugar Crisps, Cap’n Crunch and Fruity Pebbles.

Breakfast cereal around the world

Force Wheat Flakes became the first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal in the UK at the turn of the last century. And, the cereal was at its peak consumption in Britain in 1930. Selling 12.5 million packages in one year.

Meanwhile, back in the US, the 30’s saw the rise and interest in puffed breakfast cereal.

The first puffed cereal was Kix, the result of marketing needs for new and exciting products to build the “puffed” category.

General Mills

General Mills Breakfast Cereal LogoAs a result, General Mills entered the market in 1924. With Wheaties. And, almost immediately started to market to children.

And, sugar was added to improve choice for children. Think about this: Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks had 56% sugar by weight.

Spokespersons and mascots helped position the brands for children. And, some are still familiar today. The Rice Krispy’s elves, Tony the Tiger, Trix Rabbit and the trending sports figures on Wheaties (the breakfast of champions). (Read how General Mills is bringing the legacy brand TRIX back to the original formulation)

A World View

Red River Breakfast CerealCanada has many, if not all, of the US based breakfast cereal in its market. But, cooked breakfast cereals, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat and Red River remains most typical.

And, China is famous for rice congee, (a type of porridge) eaten for breakfast.

While, Ireland is still famous for its oatmeal. And, the most famous variety of these is steel-cut oatmeal (like McCann’s).


Still, oatmeal is very popular in Ireland and is a common breakfast there.

Competing with the full Irish breakfast is one of eggs, sausages, broiled tomato and puddings.

Maybe not as creepy, but today’s cereal ads are just as bad..

Breakfast cereal really took off in the 50’s with the birth of baby boomers.

Milk, orange juice and breakfast cereal (mostly Kellogg’s, Post and General Mills) represented the breakfast of Americans.

The 60’s

In the mid-60’s, however, the market began the change.

More and more mothers began to work outside the home.

And, families eating together for breakfast became more and more unusual. The focus turned to even quicker solutions for breakfast.

Carnation launched its Instant Breakfast. Which was in taste and nutrition not much different than chocolate milk.

Pop-Tarts hit the market and the sweetened toaster pastry became an accepted way to start your child’s day.

The last 25 Years

But, the real change in breakfast habits can be seen in the last 25 years.

1950's Breakfast table breakfast cerealAs a result, in recent years, we’ve seen a decline in diary consumption with fewer and fewer households buying milk. And, a turn from carbohydrates back to protein consumption.

As a result, the trend nearly destroyed the orange juice market and has taken its toll on breakfast foods as well.

So, in many ways, the market has come full circle.

Back to the very protein heavy diet that caused Mr. Kellogg to revolt and express a different view.

At a crossroads

Breakfast CerealSo, from our perspective, the industry is at a crossroads. The advent of Greek yogurt and protein bars are an indication of a market flux.

Where will we end?

So, diet cereal brands like Special K have extended their brands to breakfast bars. And, Quaker markets breakfast bars, rolled oats and steel-cut oats that require 30 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Raisin Bran and Sugar Frosted Flakes still fight for an ever-decreasing shelf space. So, what’s needed? Where will the market go?

What has happened to breakfast cereals and what can be done about it.

Why the slip?

And, the slip in overall market share can be seen in hard market share numbers. As well as within the primary companies themselves.

As a result, Kellogg’s, the second largest provider of cold cereal behind General Mills, laid off 2,000 workers last November. While General Mills reported a 2% drop in sales last year. (Read about our process of predicting the success of marketing messages here).

So, in total, numbers for 2016 are expected to be $10.6 billion for breakfast cereal sales in the US. That sounds impressive. However, that’s a 17% drop from the $12.7 billion figure just seven years earlier.

What happened?

There are numerous reasons and we’ll start with the most obvious.

And, cold breakfast cereal just isn’t the only choice. Yogurt, as mentioned above, is growing rapidly, having taken a 40% share of the US ready-to-eat breakfast market.

Kashi breakfast cerealEnergy and cereal bars

Then there are the energy and cereal bars. Not to mention the rise of breakfast among fast food restaurants.

And, The category that has maxed out on its potential. But, fast food restaurants have found their greatest opportunity is in breakfast.

That’s the reason you see Taco Bell introducing breakfast. And, the number of fast food breakfast items jumping 17% in the last two years.

But, for breakfast cereal brands themselves there’s increased competition within the category.

So, combine all the store brands together and they are the market leader. Far ahead of General Mills and Kellogg’s.


Golden Crisp Breakfast CerealBut, the increased competition is only one of the factors involved.  And, there IS a perceived unhealthiness of cereal. Especially those in the sugar category.

So, some cereals have attempted to be healthier. But, the perception still exists.

And, studies show breakfast cerels have one spoonful of sugar for every three spoonfuls of breakfast cereal.

Kellogg’s Honey Snacks and Post’s Golden Crisps have as much sugar as a Twinkie. In addition, the consumption of milk has declined.

You can’t have cereal without milk, unless you’re eating it straight of the box as a snack.


Kashi’s attempt to get adults to eat cereal.

Behavior Changes

But, breakfast behavior has also changed. And, especially among those in the younger demographic.

They are most likely to eat cereal. But, they look for food that is convenient. Breakfast bars and fast food. They snack. And, we don’t sit down to eat.

In the US, there are fewer younger people. And, the birth rate has been in a five-year decline. With children below the age of 17 becoming the smallest segment of the US population.

For Kids

Cold breakfast cereal is primarily a kid’s breakfast. And, with less of them around, the size of the cold cereal market is shrinking.

So, what’s a cold sugary cereal to do? That is, short of encouraging couples to have more babies?

Before we get to that, let’s look at what the current breakfast cereal market is doing today.

The cold breakfast cereal playing field

Fruit Loops Breakfast CerealIf you look at the individual brands, it’s difficult to draw any hard conclusions.

Cheerios brand holds the first and fifth spots. With Honey Nut Cheerios up top and regular Cheerios in fifth. Which, is actually a drop from 2015.

However, Honey Nut’s sales continue to grow, up 4.5% in 2016, while sales of regular Cheerios declined 1.3%.

Any Trends?

As a result, you can see the healthier breakfast cereal trend upward as Special K continues to rise. Increasing sales by 7.5% and adding 2% of market share.

But, the surgery cereals of Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Lucky Charms have a combined sales drop of more than 14%.

And, a decrease in market share of nearly 10%.

Note, that Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which has seen sales plummet in recent years, increased sales in 2016 by 2.4%.

What is happening here?

And, Honey Nut Cheerios is focused on the honey. Its brand is “Must be the Honey,” using a bee named Buzz as its mascot/equity marker.

It is obviously targeted toward children. And, its ads are very upbeat, often ending with Buzz tapping the cereal with his honey dipper.

As a result, Honey Nut Cheerios positions itself on the taste of honey. Which, is a slightly different taste profile than other breakfast cereals.

However, it’s still sugar.

It borrow the whole grain of Cheerios and claims to lower cholesterol.

But, the approach is not all that different from the Trix Rabbit, who is told directly by children, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”

Focus on sweet, even if its honey

The chink in sugar marketed cereal

Trix Breakfast CerealBut Trix has declined in market share. As it has become one of the many cereals that faced the wrath of marketing sugar to children.

It did it so directly. And, parents stopped buying it. It could have said: “Silly rabbit, sugar cereal is for kids!”

Basically, Trix didn’t have the cover of the overall Cheerios brand. Which, has marketed itself as “made with 100% whole grain.”

As a result of marketing, Its yellow box is instantly recognizable. And, even nostalgic for some. It is currently being marketed under the “Love” tagline. But, promotes itself has being good for a healthy heart.

A new campaign

And, it even has introduced a new campaign. Which, the Love campaigns play a part. It is called the Family Breakfast Project. “When families eat breakfast together, amazing things happen.”

This campaign directly takes on the changing trends of breakfast (needing fast meals, snacks, etc.). It encourages viewers to return to the breakfast table.

So, its point is that being back at the table is better for families.

That approach comes close to what breakfast cereals should do. They need to do to hold their top ranking.

But, it addresses the category as a whole but it’s a bit sappy. And, in this world of texts and cell phones, is not emotionally important.

A healthy stealth

However, Cheerios provides the “healthy” believable cover for Honey Nut Cheerios. It has the Cheerio whole grain in it and honey.  While still sugar it doesn’t carry the same negativity of fruity flavors like Trix.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is still among the market leaders. It holds the fifth spot in most surveys. But, its more than 8% drop in 2013 speaks to a falling brand.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Breakfast cerealsLike most of the sugary breakfast cereals, Cinnamon Toast Crunch uses a character or two.

The individual cereal squares that live in the bowl.

Its position remains “Crave Those Crazy Squares.” While marketing on taste. Claiming that cinnamon and sugar makes the difference.

“Sugar on the outside, crazy on the inside,” it says.

As a result, the brand has seen a sales bump recently. It’s not a successful long-term strategy.

The problem with marketing sugar

There’s a deep problem here by basing marketing on taste (i.e., sugar). That’s because all sugary cereals market on that.

Sugar Breakfast CerealsIt only matters if you have decided to not buy the sugary breakfast cereal for your kids. And, have left the market (as many have done). Then, you are generally not switching to another cereal if it’s about taste.

Because, your kids (or yourself) already like the taste of the cereal you prefer.

This is a problem and not just for breakfast cereal. The messaging, tone and look are all the same. So, they are often seen together, as one bunch.

As a result, the main message for these cereals? Sugar!


Healthy Breakfast Cereal

Sugary Breakfast CerealsThere is a steady demise of breakfast cereal is afoot. But, the separation between “healthy” and “sugary” cereals has remained intact.

For every box of Cap’n Crunch on the supermarket shelves, you can easily find a box of Grape Nuts or Kashi.

In 2013, the Department of Agriculture released a report headlined, “Recent trends in ready-to-eat cereals in the U.S.”

They made changes

In our introduction, it was noted that manufacturers said, “changes in the formation of breakfast cereal … may be due to several reasons.  

Including response to public health concerns and consumer demand for healthier cereals.”

Seemingly, the public’s desire to live a healthy lifestyle has become important. More important mainstream idea than a handful of years ago.

This means that to be healthy, cereals MUST be healthy.

If they plan to meet the needs of the masses. And not be simply for a fringe group of shoppers.

Kashi can’t have GMO’s and be looked at as “healthy”


Let’s look at Kashi, for instance.

Recently, the healthy cereal brand took a tremendous hit for using GMO ingredients.

A huge no-no for a healthy breakfast cereal.

For the health conscious consumer, the once coveted Kashi brand broke its brand promise of being healthy.

The company has paid dearly for this mistake. With a steady decline in market share.

Special K is one of the success stories in the healthy breakfast cereal category.

What makes Special K’s brand stand out t? It’s simple really. It owns the position of being the healthiest cereal. Because, it promises a certain lifestyle. And, it challenges its users to meet it.

The Special K Challenge

Special K has mustered up a challenge for consumers. It calls it, “The Special K Challenge.” 

“For meal number one, you may have a serving of any Special K Breakfast Cereal with 2/3-cup skim milk and fruit.

At meal number two, you may have a Special K Protein Meal Bar. Or, a Special K Protein Shake, or another serving of Special K cereal. (with 2/3 cup skim milk and fruit)

The Rules

Meal number three can be eaten normally.

Special K breakfast CerealsThroughout the day, consume two Special K snacks. Choosing from Special K Protein Snack Bars and Special K2O Protein Water Mixes. Or Special K Cereal Bars, Special K Crackers, or Special K Fruit Crisps.

For additional snacks, one may consume fruits and vegetables.

Drinks may be consumed normally.”

The key here is consuming Special K products all day long. Not a bad way to keep people coming back.

But, it also comes with a promise that you will lose weight. An important position that Special K is owns.

Outside of Special K, we have a host of breakfast cereal brands that must meet the necessary health standards. All so they compete. Consumers are asking:




  • Is this cereal filled with fiber?
  • How much whole grain is present?Breakfast Cereals
  • What are the grams of sugar per serving?
  • Are the health claims bogus or legit?
  • What’s the calorie count?
  • Is it low in saturated fats?
  • Will this taste good?

A list like this is probably headache enough for shoppers. And, most likely why they would rather have a protein shake. To be done with it.

The Entire Breakfast Category of Packaged Goods.

Cereal bars and toaster pastries

Breakfast Cereals BarsCereal bars and toaster pastries are among the bright spots. Bright spots in the breakfast food category.

Nutritionally, the pair seems to be at odds with one another.

Yet, (along with yogurt) are the only reason the “eat at home” breakfast segment continues to grow.

Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and General Mills Toaster Strudels dominate the toaster pastries segment.

Pop-Tarts has owned the segment, contributing strongly to Kellogg’s bottom line.

Toaster Strudels have lagged Pop-Tarts but have also etched out its own place in the market.

!Pop-Tarts have etched out their own place in the category


Pop-Tarts arrived the same time as iconic cereal brands Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, and Frosted Mini-Wheats.1964 Breakfast cereals

But, it was positioned against those cereals.

Despite the intentions of Kellogg’s.

Because, Pop Tarts doesn’t require milk to eat. Rather, all one needed was a toaster. (And, many eat them cold).

When it launched in the 60’s, Kellogg’s was so protective of its cereal business that it created a set of detailed instructions for store operators.

Pop-Tarts could not be placed near the cereal. And, promised they were in no way a substitute for cereal.


Times have changed

Times sure have changed. Pop-Tarts do that now.

New Pop-Tarts breakfast Cereals AlternativePop-tarts as a breakfast option continues to grow. They have been marketed traditionally towards the youth market while trying to remain appealing to moms.

It used taglines like “made for fun.” And, the current, “crazy good.”

While featuring a Pop-Tart swimming in peanut butter to promote the new “Gone Nutty” offerings.

While meaningless, Pop-Tarts’ advertising has been relentless.

Kellogg’s has invested heavily in the Pop-Tarts brand. And, although it misses the boat on meaning, it more than makes up for in frequency.


Innovation in Pop-Tarts

Kellogg’s has said that one of the reasons Pop-Tarts have remained a success for so long is through innovation.

Innovations such as the “Gone Nutty” offerings in the form of peanut butter.

And, frosted chocolate peanut butter and college-branded Pop-Tarts.

Kellogg’s has also “innovated” through cobranding. Using SpongeBob SquarePants as well as Hello Kitty, Barbie.

And, even Hardees with their Pop-Tart ice cream sandwich.

You can even order a box of Pop Tarts with your name on it.

Innovation is in the eyes of the beholder

“Innovation” and advertising frequency, however, are not what has made the Pop-Tarts brand a success.

Breakfast CerealsThe Pop-Tarts brand has been successful. Because, it has naturally adapted to changing consumer tastes and behaviors.

The form of the Pop-Tart allows it to be eaten cold, on the go, toasted, or as a snack.

Pop-Tarts Stix was created as an after-school or on-the-go snack.

They failed becuase consumers did not want Kellogg’s telling them how they should eat their Pop-Tarts.

It is the versatility of the product that has made it successful. Not to mention they taste good. 


Toaster Strudels

Toaster Strudel has expanded the Pop-Tart category and has hurt the breakfast cereal marketGeneral Mills/Pillsbury introduced the world to the Toaster Strudel in 1985.

Claiming it to be part of the “hot, flaky breakfast revolution.”

It does about a third of the revenue Pop-Tarts does. And, its sales have been soft as of late. Falling 1% over the last full year.

Unlike Pop-Tarts, Toaster Strudels are frozen and, must be heated.


The anti-cereal

While Kellogg’s was reluctant to position Pop-Tarts against cereals (and it happened anyway). Toaster Strudel embraced being the anti-cereal.

It was a wise position. Because any market share will come at the expense of cereal. Theirs, Kellogg’s or another competitor.

Pillsbury decided to break into the toaster pastries market. And, it would have to cannibalize some of its parent brand’s share.

However, as sales have begun to decline, the consumer shift to “on the go” has accelerated.



Toaster Strudel has expanded the Pop-Tart category. And, has hurt the breakfast cereal marketIng effort to curb attrition.

Breakfast CerealsToaster Strudels recently launched an ad campaign featuring a child clad in lederhosen named Hans.

The ad features the tagline, “Get zem going.”

Meaningless much like the before mentioned Pop-Tart commercial. 

It positions the Toaster Strudel as nothing more than a harder to prepare Pop-Tart.

Much like cereal is married to milk, Toaster Strudels are married to the toaster. And, the trend is moving toward both healthy and portability.

Toaster Strudel has neither. 

Cereal Bars

The category of breakfast bars is made up of a mix of granola bars, energy bars, protein bars and cereal bars.

You can place them in two markets. 1) Health. And 2) For lack of a better term, “not-health.”

For example, most people would not look at a Rice-Krispy’s bar and think health.

It is, in fact, Rice-Krispy’s cereal congealed with marshmallows. The same can be said about Golden Graham bars and the like.

Clif Bars

Clif bars and breakfast cerealsHowever, Clif Bars have a reputation of being a healthier choice.

Where the line is blurred is in a bar like Nutrigrain bars where they are still high in sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.

But, do not reside on the same unhealthy level as the Rice Krispy bar category.

From a positioning perspective, there are only a couple of basic positions bars occupy. Snack/side item or meal replacement.


On the snack side, you have the unhealthy Rice Krispy bar, Lucky Charms Treats. etc. And, the healthier granola bars, Nutrigrain bars, and Nature Valley.

As a result, many of the bars are positioning themselves against cereal. And, breakfast in general.

So, bars like the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk and other cereal bars (Cocoa Puffs and Honey Nut Cheerios also have a version) position against traditional cereal.

“When you don’t have time for a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, take it on the go with you.” Even Quaker’s cereal bars are similarly positioned.

Cereal bars are a natural extension for a brand like Quaker

Meal Replacements

On the meal replacement side, there are a whole host of protein, energy, and fiber bars.

And, this is the area with the most potential of the growth.

So, as healthy and on the go continue to converge, Clif Bar is even promoting its new Mojo bar. To “Energize your day.”

Which clearly is an alludes to “Eat me for breakfast.”

The meal replacement bars seem to be healthier. And, they tend to be more serious in imagery and tone in advertising, web and point of purchase.

The more “snacky” you get, the less serious it becomes.

The reality is that even the cereal producers have noticed the trend of “on the go.” And, are capitalizing on that. But, what does that mean for the future of cereal on the breakfast table?


Yogurt and Breakfast CerealsThe popularity of breakfast cereals has been on a steady decline, according to the NPD’s National Eating Trends.

But, the consumption of yogurt in the United States has “more than doubled over the past ten years.

And, now nearly one in three people in every country eats yogurt.”

So, the steady increase in yogurt consumption is rather remarkable. And, is be attributed to several key reasons.

It appeals to both a younger and older audience. And, it can serve as a replacement meal for any breakfast item.

Or, lunch for that matter. And, it can also be viewed as a dessert. Additionally, it is chalk-full of healthy benefits. 

So, these are three big reasons why yogurt is becoming an ideal replacement meal over cereal.

Let’s examine each of these reasons.

Yogurt appeals to specific demographics

In its extensive study on the yogurt industry, the NDP Group pinpointed the key demographic of yogurt eaters. They are between the ages of 18-34.

What makes this group such fervent yogurt lovers?

One key reason is they have grown up with it.

Parents of this generation were introduced to yogurt as a healthy breakfast alternative in the early 60’s.

Boomer’s Kids

Breakfast Cereals squeeze yogurtFor the kids of these parents (who are now in that 18-34 demographic), it is natural to have a yogurt for breakfast.

Rather than a bowl of cereal.

The numbers don’t lie. The NPD group reported that, “These trends alone have led to 200 million extra servings of yogurt being sold a year.”

Another demographic that yogurt has appealed to strongly is the 60 and older age range. This group of consumers tends to find yogurt a safe bet. So, important in living a healthy and a less calorie-riddled lifestyle.

It’s an easy breakfast item

Let’s face it, traditional breakfast cereals take time to eat and can’t be brought with you.

And, yogurt is small, quick and all you need is a spoon (or a squeeze).

But, more than that is yogurt’s ability to work as a meal (or snack) for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As a result, it’s a simple yet nutritious meal.

In Consumer Corner’s October, 13th retail study on the yogurt industry, it was noted that, “Refrigerated yogurts are the eighth largest selling subcategory. In food, drug and mass market.”

And, has become a growing option as well within the food service industry as a menu item.

Specifically, 45% of yogurt eaters consume it for breakfast. While 32% consume at lunch, or in the late afternoon (32%), late morning (25%) or late night (25%).

With such widespread appeal, yogurt has clearly become the best bet for breakfast eaters.

Yogurt is healthy

Here’s where Greek Yogurt comes into play.

Package Facts noted that,“The U.S. market for yogurt sold at retail to be $7.3 billion in 2012… this group is attributed to sub category. Greek Yogurt.”

Greek Yogurt stands out from other styles of yogurt. And, it’s considered to be rich and creamy in its texture.

What’s more, the health benefits are abundant. Plus, there is more protein because the yogurt is thicker.

As a reult, when the lactose is strained, the yogurt loses some of its sugar and carbohydrates.

Let’s consider a few of the Greek yogurts


Perhaps the most well known name of Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt) is Chobani.

An Americanized version of a universally European term that means, “shepherd.”

Chobani boasts the largest processing plant in all of the United States, located in Boise, Idaho.

In fact, Chobani is pulling in close to $1.3 billion a year and have even started the Yogurt Bar concept in Soho, NY.

Greek yogurt has taken over the yogurt market.

It is a success

According to its owner, Hamdi Ulukaya, what’s made Chobani such a success is the company’s manufacturing process.

For example, the company opted to never outsource any of the Chobani product line. Moreover, Ulukaya set the price point of the yogurt a little higher than the competition. All to meet future price projections.

As a result, Chobani positions itself directly against the sugary cereals. It does it by directing you to eat “no bad stuff.”


That has been a wise move. Because, there is a general belief among consumers that you always get what you paid for.

Breakfast CerealsStealing Share has tested that belief with target audiences. And it always comes back emotionally intensive no matter the category.

Being priced slightly higher than the competition tells the audience you are a little bit better.

It’s working for Chobani. Business Insider recently shared that “[Chobani] now produces 2.2 million cases of yogurt a week, Ulukaya said. And, has passed $1 billion in sales.

So, when they started, Greek yogurt made up 0.2% of the yogurt market in the U.S.

Now it makes up 50%, and Chobani has at least half of that market share.”

Kid’s yogurt

Outside of the Greek Yogurt movement, kid’s yogurt brands are also on the rise.

From brands available for infants (YoBaby) to drinkable yogurt smoothies (Danimals) to squeezable bags (Plum Organics, Yogurt Mashups)

And, craziest of all is cereal flavored yogurts. YoPlait and Trix, yogurt is being branded as the healthiest and quickest breakfast alternative for children.

Kid’s yogurt is filled with nutritional benefits.

It can provide a quick serving of calcium, protein, and a litany of the necessary vitamins and minerals necessary for a growing body.

With such benefits, it isn’t surprising that children ate “yogurt on 23 more occasions in 2012 than in 1998.”

That’s according to a study by USA Today.

With so many options to choose from, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that trend increase in the years to come.


Breakfast CerealsThe fact  is that breakfast cereal may never recapture the prominence it once held.

They will still hold the top spot.

But, the time has passed when they see their market share rise again without major rebranding.

That’s because people have changed.

So, we are on the go, and have learned from technology (think your smart phone) that everything can be taken on the run.

And, we don’t need the sit-down meal while we’re getting ready for work. Or getting the kids off to school.

Plus, it’s not just adults who have changed.

Children have too. And, they have also been taught by technology that’s it is an eat-in-your-car era and cereal. Especially for pre-teens and teens, can seem childish or old-fashioned.

Living longer

We are also a healthier bunch, living longer by watching what we eat.

As a result, fewer parents are willing to give their children sugary cereal that makes them obese.

And, even those who are willing may opt for fast food in today’s fast-paced world.

In the face of that, what are traditional breakfast cereals to do?

Well, for one thing, they need to rebrand aggressively. 

And, the model they have followed, especially for the sugary cereals, is basically the same as it was decades ago.

Same old crap

As a result, they still feature a cartoon character, emphasize the fun, and promote the taste. The strategy being that kids will clamor for it.

The problem is that there is no differentiation.

They are all sugar. The characters are interchangeable from each other.

And the cereal manufacturers are struggling to understand their consumers. Plus, more importantly, the consumers who do not choose them.

But, there is a process to understanding those consumers. One based on belief systems and switching triggers.

We have specifically developed this system to get into what drives those consumers of cereal. And, it dives deeper than simply taste. Plus, deeper than even health.

We’re talking about emotion.

In this way, a breakfast cereal can better define its brand so that it is coveted by adults and children alike.

Breakfast CerealsSo, right now, many of the cereals – even the most successful ones – look out of touch.

And, if they don’t update their brands, they will go the way of Life, Rice Krispy’s and Corn Flakes as brands that are falling at a rapid rate.

But, this also goes for the market as a whole.

Using those powerful triggers, the manufacturers can sell the category of cereal as being relevant in today’s world.

That would raise the waters for all, although it may never regain its peak. But, it can stop the bleeding.

Don’t stop there

Remember, there is a more important factor for the food providers to consider.

Breakfast CerealsAnd, trends are just that. They are trends.

Meaning, that if the yogurts and bars don’t learn the lesson of the cereals, they’ll see their own market share dwindle.

Right now, yogurts are riding the crests of a new wave. But, the individual brands also look and sound and taste alike.

If they don’t differentiate themselves – especially in using the emotional triggers of the consumer – they will become just trendy.

So be warned, yogurts and breakfast bars.

While you’re riding high now, you have also neglected to build meaningful brands. Which means, you are just as vulnerable as the cereals were when you took their market share. Its high time to hire a rebranding company. And I don’t think I need to tell you that not all rebranding companies are equal.

Read more here

Kashi is an interesting player.

Kids are difficult to influence

Honey Nut Cheerios Healthy Hearts

Stealing Share branding nonprofits

Tired of hearing the same old shit?

We know its crazy. Read our white paper on fixing what's wrong with the retail.

Congratulations, your white paper will be coming soon!

Stealing Share branding nonprofits

Tired of hearing the same old shit?

We know its crazy. Read our white paper on fixing what's wrong in the packaged goods category.

Congratulations, your white paper will be coming soon!

Share This