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Brief Published: 22 Oct 2020

Three-Minute Trend: The Wacky Future of Sugary Cereal

Cereal is no longer just for breakfast. In the US, 40% of consumers eat cereal throughout the day (Shopkick, 2019), while 75% of Brits do the same (The Grocer, 2019). This shift from morning meal to impromptu snack has created the opportunity for cereal brands to experiment with sweet flavours that explicitly reference popular desserts through strategic partnerships.

The dessert-ification of cereal brings together themes we've explored in our reports Revised Breakfast Rituals, Snacking Trends 2020 and Covid-19 + Food. On one hand, consumers are turning to these sugary options for comforting tastes that remind them of childhood. Yet there's also a significant streak of novelty running through cereal-dessert brand partnerships – a habit that's intensifying during the pandemic as 55% of US shoppers complain of food fatigue (OnePoll, 2020). The emphasis on brand partnerships marks a shift away from child-focused marketing strategies like cartoon-driven pester power as cereal brands pivot messaging to target adults and avoid public criticism.

In this video, Emilia Morano-Williams, US assistant editor, delves into the world of ultra-sugary cereal to understand why branded dessert cereals have boomed in the past few years, and what this says about the state of breakfast.

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