According to the IMARC Group, the global breakfast cereal market reached $100.7 billion in 2022 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 4.24% between 2023-2028. Americans eat roughly 2.7 billion boxes of cereal every year, which equals approximately 14 pounds per person. Mintel’s data shows that 9 in 10 Brits eat breakfast cereals and 6 in 10 do this daily. Cereal makes a comeback with indulgent flavors, collaborations, alternative innovations, snacks, and healthier formulas.
Cereal is often known for being sweet. For many, it is nostalgic and brings back childhood memories. Indulgent sweet flavors inspired by desserts continue to trend and inspire new flavors. Kellogg’s debuted Rainbow Krispies “a colorful new take on the classic Rice Krispies” with a fresh and fruity flavor and vitamin D. Under the Raisin Bran line, Kellogg’s has added a Maple flavor. Similarly, General Mills introduced Maple Brown Sugar Chex. First launched in the U.K., General Mills Kit Kat Cereal is now available in the U.S. The cereal highlights mini squares that resemble Kit Kat bars with a chocolate coating and crunchy texture. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Tres Leches, Lucky Charms S’mores Cereal with Marshmallows, and Vanilla Spice Cheerios join General Mills’ portfolio.
Cereal brands are collaborating with sweet treats and candy brands to create signature flavors and shapes that mimic the original brand’s product into spoonable formats. Kellogg’s is not new to collaborations and continues to launch new flavors and products through partnerships. Kellogg’s and Little Debbie have teamed up for the fourth time on a Little Debbie Swiss Rolls Cereal. The cereal “delivers crispy, chocolatey swirls and a chocolatey creme flavored coating.” Kellogg’s and Crumbl Cookies have partnered again and created a limited Classic Krispies Bar Cookie with Rice Krispies, marshmallows, butter, and vanilla. Kellogg’s and Frankford Candy launched king-sized Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Candy Bars in two variants: Classic Cereal with Marshmallow Candy and Strawberry. In India, Kellogg’s and Hershey’s collaborated on a Kellogg’s Hershey’s Chocos cereal highlighting heart-shaped cereal made from wheat and dipped in chocolate.
In partnership with Canada-based Tim Hortons, Post Foods Canada dropped a Post Tim Hortons Apple Fritter Flavored Cereal. The cereal is shaped like miniature Tim Hortons’ apple fritter donuts and is naturally flavored with apple and cinnamon. General Mills has cobranded its Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms cereals with Pillsbury Soft Baked Cookies. The Pillsbury Cinnamon Toast Crunch Soft Baked Cookies feature a swirl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s Cinnadust, while the Lucky Charms Soft Baked Cookies include baked-in Lucky Charms marshmallows bits. Broadus Foods from rappers Snoop Dogg and Master P join forces with Post Consumer Brands on a line of Snoop Cereals. It is offered in three varieties: Cinnamon Toasteez (sweetened crispy wheat and rice cereal with cinnamon), Frosted Drizzlers (sweetened frosted whole grain wheat cereal), and Fruity Hoopz with Marshmallows (sweetened multigrain fruity cereal).
THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
In addition to new flavors and collaborations, new cereal innovations are appearing in unexpected applications. In the fall of 2022, Kellogg’s unveiled Instabowls, a line of portable pre-portioned cereal bowls formulated with instant milk that individuals just add water when on the go. The Instabowls are available in Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Raisin Bran Crunch varieties. General Mills launched a limited-edition Lucky Charms Hidden Dragon cereal that transforms white marshmallows into different colored charms including a yellow dragon, pink dragon, dragon egg, and flame when mixed with milk. Pop-Tarts has released an Apple Jacks Frosted Apple Cinnamon flavor with green and orange-sprinkled frosting and “a warm cinnamon aroma and sweet apple flavor.” Hostess Twinkies Cereal Straws are light crispy wafer rolls filled with a cream center that works as a straw for milk.
According to Snac International, snack food accounts for 27% of all food and beverage sales in the U.S., accounting for $186.4 billion in snack and snack-adjacent sales. Sweet snacks sales represent $30.4 billion. Brands have taken notice and are launching a variety of cereal-based snacks. General Mills transformed its Cinnamon Toast Crunch product into Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bugles. The cone-shaped Bugles are dusted with Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s Cinnadust and are available exclusively at convenience stores. Snax-Sational has added Cereal Pop made with Post Consumer Brand’s Fruity Pebbles to its popcorn line. Cereal Pop is a better-for-you snack that is low in sodium and 150 calories per serving and made with 100% U.S. non-GMO corn. Designed for convenient on the go snacking, Post Consumer Brand’s released Honey Bunches of Oats Granola Chips in two flavors: Blueberry and Honey Roasted.
Like other food and beverages, brands are creating better-for-you cereals with less sugar, more protein, and grain-free formulas. Magic Spoon makes better-for-you cereals with less sugar and more protein formulas inspired by childhood flavors. Recent limited-edition launches include Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oatmeal Cookie. According to the brand, the oatmeal cookie has 14 grams of protein, 4 net carbs, no sugar and has a “warm cinnamon and buttery vanilla flavor.” The chocolate chip cookie has 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of net carbs, no sugar, and features a “crispy and fudgy taste.” Three Wishes designs better-for-you and allergen-conscious cereals. The newest launch is a limited-edition S’mores flavor, which is “100% plant-based, gluten- and grain-free, and contains 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar per serving.” In partnership with SunOpta, Seven Sundays introduced an upcycled Oat Protein Cereal in four varieties: Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Cinnamon, Simply Honey, and Super Fruity. The formula uses OatGold protein powder, a plant-based protein made from the upcycled byproducts of SunOpta’s oat milk production. Each product contains 5 grams of plant-based protein per serving. Post Consumer Brands debuted Sweet Dreams cereal “designed to be a part of healthy sleep routines while also satisfying nighttime food cravings.” Sweet Dreams is available in two flavors: Blueberry Midnight made with natural blueberry, lavender, and chamomile and Honey Moonglow with notes of honey, vanilla, lavender, and chamomile. The cereals contain a nighttime herbal blend, vitamins and minerals, including zinc, folic acid, and B vitamins to support melatonin production.
The resurgence of cereal is here. Watch brands launch new flavors, nostalgic collaborations, alternative applications, and better-for-you formulas.