Porridge gains popularity with UK consumers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th October 2013

As the Northern Hemisphere’s winter draws nearer, many consumers in the UK are seeking a warming breakfast, with findings from market research organisation Mintel showing that 49 per cent of UK consumers are porridge eaters, and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) eat it almost daily.

While those aged between 45 and 54 years are the biggest porridge eaters, with 56 per cent of this group enjoying porridge, four in ten (39 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds also enjoy their oats.

Premium porridge growing

Sales of porridge are thriving as UK consumers trade up to an increasing array of premium and on-the-go porridge products, according to Mintel.

“With an increased selection of higher priced porridge options now available, Brits have not just been consuming more porridge, but trading up to more varieties of flavours and packaging options when they do consumer it,” said Heidi Lanschuetzer, Food and Drinks Analyst at Mintel.

Hot cereals top performer in breakfast cereals market

The hot cereals segment has proved to be the star performer within the breakfast cereals market between 2008 and 2013, with sales of hot cereals – largely made up of porridge – almost doubling, reaching £241 million in 2013.

As well as value increases, the market for hot cereals has also seen volume expansion, with sales increasing 20 per cent from 65 million kilograms in 2008 to 81 million kilograms in 2013.

Overall, nine in ten (92 per cent) consumers said they had eaten breakfast cereals, including porridge, in the last six months.

“While porridge has found a way to tap into the out of home breakfast occasion, the segment has also benefited from oats’ inherent health benefits, notably the fact that they can lower cholesterol, as well as their widely held associations with satiety – a factor which is of particular importance when it comes to buying breakfast cereals,” Ms Lanschuetzer said.

“Given that the usage of porridge stands at half of all Brits, the hot cereals segment still offers strong potential for future growth in areas such as vitamin or mineral fortification or flavour innovation,” Ms Lanschuetzer said.

Other cereals see decline

However, things are looking a little less healthy for ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals such as corn flakes and muesli, according to Mintel.

RTE breakfast cereals account for the remaining 85 per cent of breakfast cereals, with value sales expected to reach £1.4 billion in 2013, up by just 1 per cent compared with 2012. Volume sales for RTE breakfast cereals declined by 4 per cent to 361 million kg in 2013, although 88 per cent of UK consumers said they had eaten RTE cereal in the last six months, and 57 per cent said they have had plain cereal including corn flakes.

“RTE cereals have suffered from the rising competition posed by alternative breakfast products such as breakfast biscuits, cereal bars and pastries, which lend themselves better for the on-the-go occasion, as well as from the growing popularity of porridge,” Ms Lanschuetzer said.

Going forward, Mintel said sales of RTE sales were expected to remain static. While the hot cereals segment had benefited strongly from the recent cold winter, Mintel said it expected the segment to maintain some of its recent moments, growing by 13 per cent to reach 92 million kilograms in 2018. Inflationary pressures and trading up are expected to continue to drive value growth of 46 per cent between 2013 and 2018, to reach £353 million.

Breakfast cereals in Australia

In Australia, the breakfast cereal category was worth AU$1.17 billion in 2012, up 3.2 per cent on 2011, according to global market research organisation Nielsen’s ‘Retail World Grocery Guide 2012’. In 2012, 169,470 tonnes of breakfast cereals were sold in Australia, up 7.1 per cent on 2011.

Kellogg’s held 35.9 per cent value share and 25.5 per cent volume share of the total breakfast cereals market in Australia in 2012, Sanitarium 24.6 per cent value share and 33.5 per cent volume share, and Nestle 23.0 per cent value share and 20 per cent volume share. Private label and others made up the remainder.

Hot breakfast cereals

Hot breakfast cereals like porridge had 10.8 per cent value share of the total breakfast cereals market, and 13.9 per cent volume share.

The major players in the hot breakfast cereals segment in Australia in 2012 were Nestle (71.2 per cent value share, 46.3 per cent volume), Private label (14 per cent value share, 36 per cent volume share) and Kellogg’s (1.6 per cent value share, 0.6 per cent volume share). The most popular brand was Uncle Tobys (69.7 per cent value share, 45.5 per cent volume share), followed by private label brands (14 per cent value share, 36 per cent volume share) and Lowan (9.6 per cent value share, 14.2 per cent volume share.

Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals

The RTE breakfast cereal segment in Australia was dominated by Kellogg’s in 2012, which held 46 per cent value share and 36.5 per cent volume share. Nestle was popular too, with 19.6 per cent value share and 19.4 per cent volume share. Sanitarium had value share of 18.6 per cent and volume share of 25.7 per cent, while private label had 6.1 per cent value share and 8.8 per cent volume share.

Weet-Bix was the most popular brand of RTE breakfast cereals in 2012 (13.8 per cent value share and 21.3 per cent volume share), followed by Nutri-Grain (8.3 per cent value share, 7 per cent volume share), Plus (7.4 per cent value share, 6.9 per cent volume share), Special K (5.1 per cent value share, 3.6 per cent volume share) and Sultana Bran (4.9 per cent value share, 4.2 per cent volume share).

Porridge gaining popularity in the UK