• More is more when fortifying with vitamins and minerals.
  • Dehydrated whole fruits add color, flavor and value.
  • Cartoon characters take over the aisles to attract kids.
  • Whole grains from the familiar are touted.
The news that is not so new is that many Americans do not limit their cereal consumption to breakfast. Nearly a third of the respondents in a recent consumer survey by Mintel International, Chicago, indicated that they eat cereals for snacks.

Real breakthroughs in the ready-to-eat and hot cereal markets were few and modest in 2002. That may account in part for the 0.6% drop in unit sales for the year and modest 0.8% increase in sales volume. Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, tallied category sales at $6.8 billion. Health and fitness, marked by more multi-grain, organic ingredients, and massive amounts of vitamins and minerals in fortification efforts, characterized the adult cereal category. Kids were served mostly in expansions of established cereal brands and no-brainer licensed character cereals.

Health and More Health

Heavy fortification with vitamins and minerals characterized many of the new products and reformulations with an array of B vitamins leading the march. Most manufacturers are utilizing box banners to tout their product's fortification with 10 or 12 or more essential nutrients.

But manufacturers are looking more to healthful grains to gain a market edge and unique flavor profile with their cereals. Kellogg, Battle Creek, Mich., continued to roll out new health-oriented Kashi-brand products. Kashi Apple Pie Pillows Breakfast cereal is a seven-grain cereal. Its formulation includes whole barley, triticale and sesame. Also introduced was Kashi Good Friends Cinna-Raisin Crunch Cereal.

Nature's Path, Blaine, Wash., Hemp Plus Granola featured not only organic oats and canola oil but flaxseed in its ingredient line-up. Look for flaxseed, an up and coming source of heart-healthful omega-3 fatty acids, to be one of the cereal ingredients of the future.

A “dash” of freeze-dried fruits adds color, flavor and much excitement to General Mills Cereals’ BerryBurst Cheerios Triple Berry.
The oat's legitimized claim to heart health opened a major avenue for new oat products sporting health claims a few years back. Quaker, Chicago, and General Mills, Minneapolis, continued to capitalize on their oat franchise last year, but small manufacturers, too, delivered numerous products containing oats and oat fiber. Quaker Oatmeal Honey Nut Heaven multigrain flakes, featuring crunchy oat clusters with honey-roasted almonds, was one of a number of PepsiCo/Quaker introductions in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Panatoz 38 Cereals Powder, Industry, Calif., had one of the longest—and perhaps most exotic—list of ingredients among the year's new products. Its formulation includes black beans, tuber of elevate, medlar and gastrodia.

Cocoa Puffs Milk ‘n Cereal Bars from General Mills sits halfway between being a ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal and a breakfast bar.

Berry, Berry Good

Berries have been berry, berry good to the cereal makers and consumers alike. Kellogg and General Mills have expanded some of their most popular cereal franchises with varieties featuring dried berries. The most popular of the berry ingredients is, of course, the ever-popular strawberry, which adds a rich strawberry flavor to the milk along with its own fruit flavor and convincing texture.

Following Kellogg's addition of a Red Berries version to its Special K line, General Mills launched a new Cheerios sub-line—Berry Burst Cheerios—in strawberry and “Triple Berry” varieties utilizing flavorful strawberries, blueberries and raspberries that rehydrate in milk.

Kraft's, Glenview, Ill., Post brand got into the berry action, too, with Honey Bunches of Oats with real strawberries and is also heavily fortified with B vitamins.

Dried apples also got into the fruitful action. Quaker's rush on the cold cereal scene included Baked Apple Life breakfast cereal, a whole grain oat cereal featuring slices of real dried apples. Fruit finagled its way into Quaker Oats of Canada's hot cereal line as well with Wild Berry Medley with Real Fruit, an oatmeal touted to have the taste of “a freshly baked berry pie.”

Organic continues to grow in popularity with the consumer's advancing health and nutrition concern. Retail sales of organic products show a compound annual growth of 22.74% over the past ten years to hit $20 billion by 2005, according to the Natural Marketing Institute.

Amaranth was the featured ingredient in two of last year's cereal introductions. Nu World Foods, Naperville, Ill., launched Puffed Amaranth Cereal—a kosher, organic product to serve as cereal or “granola accent,” and Amaranth Cereal Snaps. Hain Celestial Group, Uniondale, N.Y., introduced amaranth flakes in a one-pound box as part of its Health Valley line. The Kellogg/Kashi Organic Promise line includes two new 2002 products: Strawberry Fields with organic strawberries and raspberries, organic rice and wheat flakes.

Inspiring Characters

Star Wars Episode II inspired cereals from the two cereal giants. General Mills launched its version in the U.S.; Kellogg in Canada. Other Kellogg licensed character products incorporated Beauty and the Beast and Spider Man. Snow White Commemorative Edition Corn Flakes and Mickey's Magix Toasted Cereal paid tribute to the enduring marketability of Disney mainstays.

The most unusual of the “special edition” products were religious in reference. Golden Temple of Oregon's, Eugene, Oregon, Almond Crisp Herbal Cereal is marketed as “Yogi Bhojan's Peace Cereal.” Bible Granola from the House of David takes its primary ingredients from the seven foods of the Book of Deuteronomy: wheat barley, raisins, honey, figs, pomegranate, and olive oil.

Cereals have long helped consumers feel good about their diet. Now, at least one helps remind them about their spirit as well.

Much of the information in this article was derived from Mintel International's Global New Products Database, www.gnpd.com, 312-932-0400.

Website Resources

www.GNPC.com— Mintel International's website with updates on global new products
www.nmisolutions.com— Natural Marketing Institute's home page

Sidebar: Going Global

Breakfast is the perfect meal for selling nutrition. That seems true around the world as well as here in North America.

Nestle introduced Twoja Linia, a wheat-flake Fitness Cereal fortified with vitamins and minerals onto the Polish market in late 2002. It followed on the heels of similar products introduced in Israel in 2002 and Mexico and Germany in 2001.

Fruit is flying high in global formulations, too. Bioquelle's Loesch brand Fruit Pockets is a crunchy muesli cereal with square pockets filled with a fruit preparation comprised of apple, pear, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry.

In Singapore, Perusahaan Makanan Sukaria introduced a strange mix of indulgence and nutrition to the breakfast table—high-fiber wheat bran with chocolate cream filling. Sold in foil-lined pouches, Coco Pillow is fortified with calcium, iron and other minerals and vitamins. The product is “halal” certified, meeting Muslim dietary guidelines.

It's a mouthful, but it sounds good! Hamburger Warenkontor, introduced Musli Schoko Knusper Chocolate Muesli into the German market under the A&P label. Mintel calls the product “a chocolate, crunchy muesli, with crunchy oat and wheat flakes, milk chocolate pieces, refined with hazelnut bits.”

And for proof that porridge is not just a food of folklore, H & J Bruggen introduced Bystrenok instant oat porridge with raspberries to Russian consumers. Quaker Oatmeal Porridge entered the Hong Kong market, touting its oat soluble fiber and, yes, anchovies flavor! And you couldn't handle anchovies on pizza!