Breakfast Cereals Market Driven by Fancy for Western Food Habits, Busy Lifestyles

Breakfast cereals have become a staple on breakfast tables in almost all parts of the world. What were originally sold as products of milled wheat, oats, rice, and corn that required cooking or heating prior to consumption, breakfast cereal technology has evolved to manufacture sophisticated ready-to-eat products that require minimal or no cooking.

The global breakfast cereals market will expand at a CAGR of 4.10% from 2013 to 2019, says a market study by Transparency Market Research. With the demand for American-style breakfast items rising globally, of which ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are an important item, China, India, and Brazil have become the hot destinations for cereals marketers, where processed cereal products aren’t the norm.

As Life Gains Pace in Emerging Economies, Ready-to-eat Foods, Breakfast Cereals Become Commonplace

In emerging economies, the growing middle-class population is slated to have the greatest preference for the adoption of Western food habits, which include breakfast cereals. In China and India, the middle-class population is expected to total 1.2 bn by 2030, increasing from 430 mn in 2010, as per statistics of the World Bank. 


The changing lifestyle of the populace, due to demanding jobs that require longer working hours, does not leave adequate time for fresh cooking consistently, especially on weekdays. Thus, the consumption of foods that do not involve long preparation times and can be consumed on-the-go is gaining momentum. Increasing disposable income of individuals has also strengthened the purchasing power to buy packaged foods, which were once only affordable for the upper classes.

The cropping up of convenience stories in every nook and corner in urban areas has helped increase the brand visibility of breakfast cereals, which in turn has spurred the breakfast cereals market. For example, in 2011, China and South Korea together registered 4,000 new stores.  More so, in China, the number of convenience stores has increased manifold, with more than 2000 convenience stores present in the Guangdong province alone in 2013.

Hot Cereals Fit into Hot Breakfast Norms of Asian Cuisines

Breakfast cereals are of two types – hot cereals and ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals. As the name suggests, hot cereals need preparation in the form of heating or cooking, whereas RTE cereals are ready for consumption, sans the need for preparation. Among the two, RTE is a more popular type of breakfast cereal in North America and Europe. In these regions, nuclear families with both partners working is the standard structure, because of which prepared and packaged foods are consumed liberally due to time constraints. For these reasons, RTE cereals hold more than 85% of the overall market for breakfast cereals in these regions.

However, hot cereals are expected to have an increased share by 2019, accounting for about 18.0% of the global market for breakfast cereals. The hot cereals product segment will benefit from the increasing popularity of breakfast cereals in Asian countries, where starting the day with a hot breakfast is the norm.


In India, hot cereals such as oats, wheat bran, and oat bran have been the fastest growing products, with Kellogg’s, PepsiCo Quaker, and Bagrry holding more than three-quarters of the breakfast cereals market in the country.

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