No bowl or milk necessary for the modern American breakfast. The most important meal of the day in the U.S. is shifting away from the familiar snap, crackle, and pop of cold breakfast cereals to embrace the convenient goodness packed into the food industry's increasing array of nutritional and cereal bars. Over the past decade, 3 of the 4 breakfast-type foods with the fastest growing popularity were healthy, portable snacks such as cereal bars, according to according to the report Nutritional and Cereal Bars in the U.S., 4th Edition by market research publisher Packaged Facts.
Between 2004 and 2014 the number of households using cereal bars increased 50% and the number consuming chewy granola (category that includes granola bars) increased 33%. The popularity of granola also grew substantially, with nearly 80% more households using it. At the same time, the number of households using cold cereal was up by only 4%. Meanwhile other traditional breakfast foods such as bacon, sausage and eggs barely kept up with the growth in the adult population.
Beyond breakfast, nutritional and cereal bars have gained a general wide-spread popularity, notes David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts' research director. Between 2009 and 2014 the number of adults using nutritional bars increased 11%. In addition, around 44% of adults used cereal/granola bars in 2014.
Packaged Facts expects that sales of nutritional and cereal/granola bars will benefit from the acceleration of a broad range of trends affecting the eating habits of Americans. These include a permanent shift away from "three square meals a day" to snacking and consumption of multiple smaller meals throughout the day; the previously mentioned desire for consumers to seek out alternative foods for breakfast; the fact that nutritional and cereal/granola bars present an efficient platform for packaged food engineers to respond to the very latest in food concerns of healthy-eating consumers; rapid growth in the number of Americans actively engaged in fitness and weight management programs; and continuous innovation on the part of manufacturers and marketers of nutritional and cereal/granola bars.
Ultimately, the overall market for snack bars, including both nutritional and cereal/granola bars, is projected to approach $8 billion in 2019. This represents cumulative growth of 30% and a compound annual growth rate of 5%.