Packaged Facts: 6 Trends Milking Sales in Breakfast Cereal Market

Cereal brands are taking great efforts to keep their products from feeling stale

Rockville (MD), October 12, 2019 — North America accounts for more than a third of the $35 billion global breakfast cereal market, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the new report Global Breakfast Cereals. With $12 billion in sales in 2018, North America has the largest share in the world, but is slowly being challenged by Asia, Europe, and Africa—regions where breakfast cereal sales are growing annually at rates outpacing the United States and Canada. By 2023, Packaged Facts forecasts breakfast cereal sales will expand to $40 billion worldwide, lead largely by sales growth in nations outside North America.

According to Packaged Facts, North America has the highest penetration of breakfast cereals in the world, with per capita consumption of both hot and ready-to-eat cereals well above all other regions. However, per capita consumptions has been falling in recent years due to the increasingly busy lifestyles of consumers and a plethora of other breakfast options. Currently only the United Kingdom and Australia have breakfast cereal consumption rates approaching those of the U.S. and Canada.

“While breakfast cereal penetration is much lower in the rest of the world, consumption rates are rising as cereal companies target these areas. In these nations, instead of breakfast cereals being an entrenched product that competes with new breakfast options, cereals are being introduced as an alternative to traditional fare. The Westernization of the diet in many of these areas also makes breakfast cereals a novel and enticing food option,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Despite the flagging cereal consumption in North America, there’s reason for optimism as cereal brands and marketers continue to evolve to meet consumer needs and keep their products from feeling stale. Here are six trends by U.S. cereal brands keeping domestic market sales steady:

Harvesting a Health Halo: Boosting a brand’s perception as healthy by using healthier ingredients such as ancient grains, seeds and nuts, and other “superfoods” over traditional corn and wheat and adding pro-health ingredients such as probiotics and prebiotics

  1. Creative Novel Flavors: Offering limited-time novelty flavors such as maple bacon donut and chicken and waffles that can inspire publicity and one-off sales or nostalgia-inducing flavors–particularly aimed at millennials–that recall sugary childhood favorites but may use healthier ingredients

  2. Marketing Cereal Beyond Breakfast: Repositioning cereal as a snack or dessert instead of strictly for breakfast in marketing campaigns and in flavor profiles (e.g., Post’s Dream Cereals range)

  3. Capitalizing on Convenience: Using single-serving packaging that may include a utensil to facilitate on-the-go consumption, as well as packaging for hot cereal that can be used in its preparation

  4. Adding Value with Add-In Ingredients: Including fruit, nuts, and other add-in ingredients consumers typically mix in at home with the cereal–such as in a separate compartment of the package

  5. Paying Attention to Packaging: Interacting with consumers–particularly children–via smart labels and other packaging components, such as graphics and, increasingly, augmented reality, to enhance the breakfast experience

A brief summary from the report:

North America

In the U.S., breakfast is dominated by cereal (hot and cold) and eggs, often accompanied by:

• coffee, tea, fruit juice, and milk

• side dishes such as meat (e.g., bacon, ham, breakfast sausage)

• starches such as potatoes, grits, bagels, biscuits, and toast

Increasingly, consumers add high-protein, high-fiber toppings – such as avocado and hummus – to toast.

In Canada, eggs and breakfast sandwiches are widely popular. Other leading breakfast choices among Canadians include bacon and sausage, bread, cereal bars, fruit, hot cereal such as oatmeal, frozen breakfast foods, yogurt, pancakes, and waffles.

Latin America

Latin America is a highly varied area with numerous cuisines that differ from nation to nation. However, in general breakfast food does not differ dramatically from food served at other meals. Breakfast may consist of soup; bread or flour or corn tortillas, which are usually eaten with beans or cheese; and eggs, fruit, and pastries. Typical breakfast beverages are milk, coffee (in several countries, a sweet milky coffee is popular), or tea. Although coffee and mate are both popular beverages throughout the region, a unique breakfast beverage among Brazilians is vitamina, avocado blended with milk and sugar.


The traditional French breakfast (or the so-called “continental breakfast”) is either consumed with bread (baguette) and butter or jam or with a pastry, such as a croissant or pain au chocolat. Breakfast cereals are also a popular choice, both among children and adults.

In Germany, breakfast is typically bread with cheese, spreads, and cold meats such as salami or ham, although muesli consumed with fruit is also common.


In many parts of the region, breakfast is similar to other meals of the day. In fact, eating the previous night’s dinner leftovers for breakfast is so common that many families intentionally make extra dinner servings to use the next morning.

The Chinese market for breakfast foods is dominated by traditional foods. Foods like buns and noodles are preferred in the north, whereas congee and dumplings are preferred in the south. Rice served with some vegetables as well as meat or fish are common, but egg dishes and toast are not.


Breakfasts in North Africa and the Middle East are similar, as these regions are geographically close and share aspects of their cultures and cuisines. A typical breakfast includes coffee or tea and a bread item (usually made with sorghum or millet), but breakfasts often take on a regional twist – e.g., fish from nearby sea ports or peppers and spices. Other common items include bean dishes and stews or gruels made from beans and corn. Yogurt is a popular breakfast item in North Africa, as are eggs.

About the Report

Global Breakfast Cereals (published in September 2019) is available for $4,395 from Packaged Facts.

The report covers the scope, size, and growth of the global market for breakfast cereals, including trends in key market segments. Historical data are provided for 2010, 2013, and 2018, with forecasts to 2023. Breakfast cereal data are provided in U.S. dollar terms. Also included are analyses of consumer, marketing, and product development trends affecting the global breakfast cereal market, as well as cultural trends governing breakfast-eating habits across the world.

About Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased at our company website and are also available through